Sunday, 3 December 2017

Book Review: Christmas with the Bomb Girls

It's December, so I feel I can start talking about the C word (although I've been feeling festive for a few weeks now and have already indulged in stollen, mince pies, Christmas markets, Christmas shopping, Christmas bedding and Channel 5 seasonal films...).

Talking of which, I was sent a book for review, Christmas with the Bomb Girls.  In a nutshell, it's the book equivalent of a Channel 5 Christmas film.  Read on for a full review.

Christmas with the bomb girls Daisy styles
They say you can't judge a book by it's cover; yes, you really can.
Here's the blurb from the publisher's website (which contained no less than FOUR typos that I had to correct before I could bear to put it on my blog):


A factory floor might not be their first choice of a place to spend Christmas, but pulling together and making do is exactly what the Bomb Girls are best at.

Gladys, back from singing for the troops in Europe, quiet as she takes her place on the cordite line. Her old friends are determined to bring back her spark while they work hard to help their country, as the threat of danger grows ever-closer.

What dark secret lies in Gladys's heart? Will the girls see out another year in a country at war? And, if everyone does their bit, despite the worry, pain and toil, will the Bomb Girls be able to provide a wonderful Christmas for all?



As I said, this is the book equivalent of a Channel 5 Christmas film. There's nothing wrong with that - I watch those TV Christmas films when I want to give my brain a rest and get a guaranteed happy ending.  This book is not highbrow, or historically accurate - but it doesn't try to be.  It's written to a decent standard (with the obligatory repetitive descriptions of the main characters' hair that seems to be a prerequisite in this genre...), and you know that there's not going to be anything too traumatic in there.  The story ticks along, and it's an easy read.

My main complaint however would be that it's only 300 pages in that it starts to get remotely festive.  When I'm in the mood for a Christmas story, I want sleighbells and snow from page one!  Obviously the title was just a marketing strategy for this time of year.

The author has done some research to give the story credibility in its up North WWII setting, but for me, some of it doesn't quite ring true.  For history buffs, I imagine it would be a frustrating read due to some of the historical inaccuracies.  I get the impression that the author is skilled at writing whatever genre they turn their hand to, and are not especially emotionally invested in telling this particular story.  'Daisy Styles' is a pen name, incidentally.  The author is a well-established writer, Di Redmond, and I think it shows that this book was written for a specific market.  It all feels a little formulaic.

Would I read it again?  Probably not.  Unlike books I've reviewed by other authors of the genre (such as Kate Thompson), it lacked a bit of soul.  For a light read though that ticks both the vintage and festive boxes, it might be worth a go.

Christmas with the Bomb Girls by Daisy Styles is published by Penguin and out now.  I was sent a copy for review.  Words and views are my own.

11 comments:

  1. Well, considering that I love a good channel 5 film, I'm sure I will love this book. I like to follow a sweet story with a happy ending and go away satisfied.

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  2. I admit I can't help judging (or at least chosing) a book by its cover! This one is so obvious, isn't it? Sometimes you need a book with a guaranteed happy ending, one to curl up on the sofa with on a dark winter's night. I see what you mean about it not ringing true, though. I've read a couple of books along the same vein, it's as if they want to cash in on the 1940s/WWII hype. I'd still read this, though, then donate it. xxx

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  3. Definitely not my kind of thing, both the cover and the mere mention of Xmas would have me running for the hills! x

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  4. You've got to love a good made-for-TV Christmas film, they're so easy to watch! I'm not sure I could stand to read a book like it though. Does this have anything to do with the TV show, Bomb Girls? xx

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    1. Hmm, think it's unrelated to the TV series. It fills a need but not my regular genre of choice.

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  5. I’d buy it for my 85 year old auntie Gladys I think she’d like it

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  6. I watched three channel 5 films in a row on Sunday when I was feeling crummy - sometimes they’re just the ticket! I laughed at the typos in the blurb though - if I even let one typo into my work I’ll usually get at least one email from a colleague! xx

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    1. Ha, 3 in a row is quite a feat!

      The typos just added to the impression that the book was rushed to meet a Christmas marketing deadline...

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  7. I couldn't really get into Bomb Girls, to be honest - it just felt a bit silly to me, which given the strength of the subject matter is a little disappointing.
    As a non-Brit, is a channel 5 film, like, not great? I'm wondering if the equivalent would be a Lifetime tv movie...

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    1. I think 'cheesy' describes most C5 Christmas films. And yes, lots are not great - but you do get some gems too!
      You are quite right about the silliness - I agree with that assessment. X

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  8. Hmm, not one for me, but it sounds like the sort of thing my mum would enjoy. I always find it easier to forgive historical inaccuracies if I'm enjoying the story, but if it's not engaging they grate all the more.

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