The Bluebird Girls

Written by Rosie Archer
Review by Elizabeth Hawksley

Hampshire 1939. World War II has started, and three young girls are about to have their worlds turned upside-down. Rainey and her mother are doing a moonlight flit to Gosport to get away from her violent dad. It’s a cold, wet October and every item they own is piled up in the old car. Their new home is damp, has mice and smells – and winter is approaching. Ivy is desperate to get away from her dead-end job and to stop tongues wagging about her mum’s ‘job’, she keeps her head down. Bea has discovered that alcohol can give her the confidence she so badly needs. All three girls are talented singers, and when kind but strict Mrs Wilkes starts a choir to raise money for war charities, they all jump at the chance to sing. Each of them longs to make singing their career, but as the Battle of Britain begins in earnest, their dreams must be put on hold. But then a mysterious stranger arrives who might just be able to help them…

I really enjoyed this book and quickly got caught up in Ivy, Rainey and Bea’s lives and the problems they faced. I like the way the three girls each have their own fears to deal with and lessons to learn. Rosie Archer writes with pace and energy, and the reality of war in Gosport, with nightly bomb raids and desperate shortages is very real. My heart was in my mouth when the three girls were caught in a cellar during a bomb raid as plaster fell, glass windows shattered and outside, and bombs exploded in the nearby harbour. The Bluebird Girls is the first in the Forces’ Sweetheart series, and it bears all the hallmarks of success. I look forward to Rosie Archer’s next book.