Girls on the Home Front

Written by Annie Clarke
Review by Lisa Redmond

The author’s first novel is the start of a series of historical sagas set amongst the “Factory Girls” of the North East of England during World War Two. Frances Hall’s parents are more than a little disappointed when she chooses dangerous war work instead of a nice safe office job. With everyone else in the village, the pits and the surrounding areas working hard and doing their bit to win the war, Fran is desperate to prove herself as worthy and as grown up as the rest. Fran soon learns that the factory work she has signed up for is not only incredibly dangerous but also top secret. With regular reminders of just how dangerous the work is from Mrs Ellington, who lost her hand, and regular warnings to “keep mum” about what the factory does, Fran finds that the responsibility of being a factory girl makes her stronger in all areas of her life.

Clarke’s storytelling is excellent. Hailing from the North East herself, she captures the nuances of language, character, attitude, and pit village life extremely well. This is a must-read for fans of Ellie Dean and Nancy Revell.