We are feeling nostalgic at Sew with episode three of the Sewing Bee gearing up for a retro revival. And if you love history and tradition, then The Secrets of the Singer Girls by Kate Thompson is a book which should be on your to-buy list!
We were lucky enough to meet some of the fabulous women who inspired the novel at Singer HQ. These wonderful seamstresses all worked on Singer machines, as did so many women of the World War Two era in the garment factories of the time, and they sang to while away the hours spent repairing uniforms for the soldiers and making garments. With a sense of camaraderie they honed their craft and we learned that many still stitched today, even passing on their skills to their daughters – they were still fond of a sing-song, too! Although the novel is fictional, author Kate weaved in the stories of these women to create her heart warming and moving tale about the brave, hardworking and often humorous characters who kept the homefires burning.
About the novel
The Secrets of the Singer Girls centres on 16 year old Poppy Percival who turns up at the gates of Trout’s clothing factory in Bethnal Green with no idea what her new life might have in store. There to start work as a seamstress and struggling to get to grips with the noise, dirt and devastation of east London, Poppy can’t help but miss the quiet countryside of home. But Poppy harbours a dark secret - one that wrenched her away from all she knew and from which she is still suffering.
And Poppy’s not the only one with a secret, as we discover each of her new friends at the factory is hiding something painful. Vera Shadwell, the forelady, has had a hard life with scars both visible and concealed; her sister Daisy has romantic notions that could get her in trouble; and Sal Fowler, a hardworking mother who worries about her two evacuated boys for good reason. Bound by ties of friendship, loyalty and family, the devastating events of the war will throw each of their lives into turmoil but also bring these women closer to each other than they could ever have imagined…
Want to read more?
Pre-order your copy of The Secrets of the Singer Girls today at www.panmacmillan.com. Plus, see the May issue of Sew for more on the women and exciting giveaways!
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