A Wedding for the Biscuit Factory Girls

Written by Elsie Mason
Review by Marilyn Sherlock

“You gave us away. You got rid of us because you decided you didn’t want us anymore. Get out.” Mavis Kendrick has just married Sam Farley, and they are still in the local church, so what is this all about? The book goes on to tell the stories of the people who lived in the Sixteen Streets, as the area was known, and the local biscuit factory where most of the people who lived there worked. The story is set in South Shields in the middle of the 20th century, and times are hard and unsettled. Rationing is on, and Mavis’s dress had been made from a captured parachute. The book continues, delving into the lives of the characters and their various problems.

I found this story very interesting. Apart from being set during World War Two, it was much more of a social history of the times telling more of the way the poorer people lived and dressed during the early years of 1940 and the feuds and arguments among them. The characterisation is very good and the writing lively, the pages turning themselves as the reader is keen to know what happened next. Many such books have been written describing life during the War in London or Liverpool, so it was good to see this one set somewhere else and to have the war itself very much in the background. All the characters are fictional but come across as real people living in a very turbulent time. I enjoyed it.