Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
Here’s my stop on the blog tour for this romantic family saga . . . .
Despite being shy and reserved, Jeannie Dougal finds herself newly engaged to handsome soldier, Arthur Dunn, the day war is announced. Jeannie accepts, even if she is unsure if a girl from the tenements will fit in with Arthur’s comfortable, middle-class background. But as WW2 takes its toll on the world, her wedding must wait…
As she sets off to work at a munitions factory she meets Eileen, Janet and Annie. As her new friends bond together in war work, sharing their stories of romance, Jeannie is grateful to be settled with Arthur, even if he is set in his ways.
Until she meets charming Canadian soldier, Bill, and realises she has found a spark she was always missing. But how can Jeannie tell Arthur? And is she strong enough to fight her own battle, with the country already at war…?
An emotional and romantic family saga set in WW2 Scotland and the start of a captivating new series. Fans of Call the Midwife and Katie Flynn won’t be able to put this down.
Jeannie let Linda steer her mother away into a group of close neighbours from their tenement. They were a tight-knit community and she was suddenly glad of that. She glanced around at the familiar street with its row of tenement housing, the brickwork stained black by the soot from the local industries. Kiltie Street was part of the Maryhill area of Glasgow and while there were plenty of similar rows of tenement housing and the familiar sights, sounds and smells of the chemical works, the ironworks, the rubber factory and more, Jeannie loved it because of the nearby river and the busy canal and the open fields and woods.
She’d lived there her whole life. Now this much-loved place was under a terrible threat. It was hard to believe. She had an awful vision of the German army marching its way into Glasgow and right down her street. She blinked and shook her head. That wouldn’t do. They had to be brave, all of them. Even if it was difficult with all the shocking news on the wireless and in the papers.
She felt a sudden, intense desire to protect them all. Mammy, Jimmy, Kathy, Isa and Bob, all her lovely family. She had to be strong for them, even if she didn’t feel it. If only her dad was there. She still missed him so much, even though it was five years since he’d had a heart attack and passed away. Mammy did too although Jeannie knew she tried hard to hide it from them.
She shook her head to clear it of horrible images of war and tried to blot out Mr Walker’s continuing shouts. Now, where was Kathy? She walked along the short length of Kiltie Street, feeling the sun on her arms and hot on the top of her head. She should’ve been helping Mammy prepare Sunday lunch but now everything was upside-down.
What about Isa and Bob, she thought suddenly. Thank goodness Mammy had agreed to them going. They were safe in the countryside, the schools having left two days ago. If there were bombs… Jeannie glanced up at the blue sky as if expecting to see enemy planes right then and there. She shivered in spite of the warm day.
‘Jeannie!’ Kathy came running towards her. Her face was blotchy from crying and she wiped her nose with the back of her hand.
Jeannie handed over her hanky and Kathy blew her nose hard. She gave the sodden scrap of cotton back and Jeannie put it in her pocket gingerly.
‘What do we do now?’ Kathy said, as they walked together.
‘Go on as usual,’ Jeannie said. ‘Until we’re told otherwise.’
‘You’re being daft,’ Kathy blew out a breath impatiently. ‘Nothing will be as usual now. For one, Jimmy will have to fight the Germans. He’s probably on his way to Germany right now. For another, Arthur will probably want to marry you straight away before he’s killed in action. How romantic. I’ll be your bridesmaid, won’t I? Can I choose my dress?’
‘Don’t be ridiculous,’ Jeannie said sharply. ‘And don’t go upsetting Mammy with your tales about Jimmy.’
‘But you believe me about you getting married?’ Kathy said slyly.
‘No, I don’t. Arthur’s not even in the army. Besides, he and I have only stepped out together twice. I hardly know him. What’s put that notion into your head?’
Kathy snorted. ‘Well, if I’m wrong, why is Arthur heading round the corner up there into our street?’
Jeannie looked up and saw that her younger sister was right. Arthur’s tall figure was striding towards them. She felt a thrill run through her body. He was broad-shouldered and handsome and he liked her. She still couldn’t believe it. She, Jeannie Dougal, was nothing special. But she’d been standing alone at her friend’s wedding only a few weeks ago when Arthur had introduced himself and asked her to dance. At the end of the wedding reception he’d asked her if she’d like to go for a walk with him the next Saturday. He hadn’t mentioned her birthmark, not once. She was smitten immediately with his blond hair and piercing blue eyes and his polite manners. And it seemed like he was equally smitten with her. He hadn’t left her side all evening. Now they were stepping out together. Her first real boyfriend. She felt a flutter of happiness and for the first time she didn’t think of herself as ugly, a girl that no-one had asked out because she wasn’t attractive or chatty enough.
‘See you later,’ Kathy shouted, ‘I’ll tell Mammy you’ll be late in.’
Carol MacLean lives in the Glasgow area. She began by writing pocket novels, having 18 published before deciding to write an historical saga. She enjoys weaving social history into fiction and imagining how life must have been for ordinary people living through different times.
When she’s not writing, Carol can be found visiting museums or walking around the city looking for traces of old Glasgow to inspire her next novel.
Carol is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.
She has written 18 pocket novels published by DC Thomson and Linford Romance Series (Ulverscroft).