Today I’m back with another book review, this time The September Girls by Maureen Lee. Sometimes you just pick up a book that you really enjoy and can’t seem to put down. This book did just that, which is why I’m writing this review on the same day I finished the book. Incidentally, as I write this its Sunday evening and I only started this book on Friday evening. That just shows how much I was hooked on it. Keep on reading to hear my full review of The September Girls By Maureen Lee…
Liverpool, 1920, and on a stormy September night two women from very different backgrounds give birth to daughters in the same house. Enemies at first, they become friends, united by their own separate troubles which turn their lives upside down. But friendship between their daughters is another matter…
Nineteen years later, at the start of the Second World War, Cara and Sybil find themselves thrown together when they both enlist and are stationed in Malta. It is a time that has life-changing repercussions for them both while, back home in Liverpool, the bombs rain down on a defiant city.
I was first drawn to The September Girls because it was partly set in Malta. It is one of my favourite places to visit. I knew that locations mentioned within the book would be ones I’ve visited myself. The book really does start off showing the two sides of life at that time. Even amongst the working class, there was a form of snobbery.
I instantly warmed to character Brenna. Throughout the story, she tried to ensure her family had the best life they could under the circumstances, even when it meant breaking her own heart. The book is split into two parts. It gives the reader a chance to really get to know the characters in the first section. By the time part two starts, you feel so invested in the characters, that you find yourself worrying about them.
I have always been fascinated by the way in which people coped with the bombing raids during the second world war. Stories set in Liverpool have always particularly interested me and this book did just that. I don’t think I will ever truly understand how both the characters and people in real life coped with such atrocities. How they were able to continue some sort of life is amazing. It really shows the grit and determination people can have when they need to.
I always really enjoy Maureen Lee’s style of writing
She has a way of giving so much detail, that you actually feel like you are there in person. When it comes to wartime, Maureen tells it as it no, whilst not dwelling on specific details. This style really appeals to me because I don’t like gory or horrific descriptions. Without giving too much away, there is one point where a bomb goes off. Three of the books characters are caught up in it. Maureen simply states that one of them has lost an arm, which can be seen nearby. Another has lost their face. Whilst it may paint a vivid picture in your mind, it’s not describing the true horror of how it would have looked. I can cope with that and feel that it doesn’t take away from the story as a whole.
I did feel that the story was slightly rushed towards the latter part of the story. It felt like so much had been kept hidden from the reader and was just added on at the end. I feel like this could be explored more in future books to create a series. I would love to read more points of view from the other characters.
The September Girls is packed full of so much, from secrets, loves and losses, all set during difficult times in Britain. It really shows you that no matter what class you come from, you can still all pull together when times get rough. If you are looking for a historical fiction book that is both heart-warming and tragic in places, The September Girls by Maureen Lee is the book for you.