I read a recommendation about Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts, by Mary Gibson, on Instagram. I reserved the book from my local library and I'm so pleased I did as I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Strikes and riots erupt countrywide as the shadow of the Great War looms over Europe. But in one small corner of London, factory girl Nellie Clark's wages are all that keep her younger brothers and sister from starvation.
And, as the young women of Pearce Duff's custard factory watch their menfolk prepare to march off to war, Nellie is forced to make a difficult choice: between the family who depend upon her, and the man she loves...
Following Nellie and her struggle through the hardship of life in First World War London, Custard Tarts and Broken Hearts is an outstandingly moving novel full of tenderness and drama."
I read this book in October and have since read Jam and Roses, Gunner Girls and Fighter Boys, Bourbon Creams and Tattered Dreams, Hattie's Home, and A Sister's Struggle, all by the same author. They're all set in Bermondsey during different time periods and some characters are mentioned or feature throughout the books, though they're all standalone stories and don't have to be read in any particular order.
One common theme throughout the books is that Mary Gibson writes about strong women, and I imagine women of that time had to be strong with all that life threw at them, especially in these factory settings where the work was backbreaking.
I'd definitely recommend these books. There's only one more by this author which I've yet to read, The Bermondsey Bookshop. I've asked for it to be reserved at the library but I don't yet know when I'll be able to pick it up as our local library is closed because of lockdown. It was closed right through the last lockdown and didn't reopen again until the end of August so goodness knows how long it will remain closed this time.