Today I’m delighted to share a book spotlight and excerpt as part of the blog tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources for The Tobacco Girls by Lizzie Lane.
Be sure to click on the banner below to check out the rest of the bloggers on tour!
Goodreads: The Tobacco Girls
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publish Date: 05 January 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction
Bristol 1939. School leaver Maisie Miles suspects her father, a small-time crook, has an ulterior motive for insisting she gets a job at the W. D. & H. O. Wills tobacco factory but keeps it to herself.
She’s befriended by effervescent Phyllis Mason and kind-hearted Bridget Milligan who take pity on her and take Maisie under their wing.
But beneath their happy go lucky exteriors they all harbour dreams and worries about what the future holds.
Engaged to be married Phyllis dreams of romance and passion but when it comes there are dire consequences.
Bridget seemingly the level headed one harbours a horror of something unspeakable that she cannot easily come to terms with.
There’s great comradeship at the tobacco factory, and with the advent of war everything is about to change and even the closest friendships are likely to be strained.
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Lizzie Lane is the author of over 50 books, a number of which have been bestsellers. She was born and bred in Bristol where many of her family worked in the cigarette and cigar factories. This has inspired her new saga series for Boldwood The Tobacco Girls, the first part of which will be published in January 2021.
‘I’ve got a job in Long Ashton as a kitchen maid. I’ll be living in. The job at the Royal was alright, but this is better. You won’t have to keep me any longer and you’ll have more room.’ Pointing out the advantages to him was the only hope she had of getting him to fall in with what she wanted.
For a moment, he stared at her, then burst out laughing.
‘You ain’t goin’ anywhere! Think I’ve kept you all these bloody years to be a kitchen maid? I want paying back, so you, my girl, is going to work at Wills’s. I wants yer wages and I wants the free fags you’ll be getting.’
Fear seeped into her defiance, but Maisie still managed to shake her head. ‘I ain’t working in a factory. I wants to go and live in the country. That’s what I’m going to do.’
Frank Miles’s fleshy lips sprawled into a cruel grin. His face was greasy with sweat. ‘Well, you ain’t doing that.’ His tone was spiced with the pleasure he derived from being cruel, as there, before her very eyes, he tore the letter into quarters, struck a match and set it alight.
‘No!’ Maisie sprang forward, stabbing her fingers into the flame but was too late to save a single word. The letter that had promised her a different world fluttered like black feathers to the floor.
In a trice, her father took hold of her by the throat with one meaty hand. His eyes glared into hers. ‘You owe me for looking after you. Now I wants me dues.’
She grabbed at his hand, trying to unwind those fingers from her throat before he squeezed the life out of her. Her mouth opened and shut like a fish gasping for air.
‘I’m your daughter,’ she wanted to shout, but it came out as a faltering gasp.
‘Are you?’ he snarled. ‘Are you?’
For one dreadful moment, she thought he was going to kill her. There was such hatred in his eyes. There had been other times when she’d seen that look, when his hand had cuffed her head and sent her sprawling. This time was worse.
The clanking of beer bottles heralded the arrival of her mother. Her father threw her aside and she rubbed at the soreness of her neck, still gasping for breath.
Her mother, a cigarette hanging from the corner of her mouth, struggled in with a large leather bag.
Frank Miles turned his bad temper on her. ‘You bin some time. Should ’ave bin back long before now.’
As usual, her mother pretended nothing was wrong, lifting the bag onto the table as though it was the most important task in the world. In a way, it was. Frank liked his beer and Gwen Miles always did her best to keep on the right side of him. To do otherwise and she’d be the one getting a beating.
Have you read The Tobacco Girls or is it on your TBR?