Christmas With The Bobby Girls
By Johanna Bell
Rated: 5 stars *****
An emotional, warm, fabulous page-turner that takes readers into the run up to Christmas and Christmas Day itself. The Bobby Girls Christmas is book 3 in this series and it is a joy to catch up with The Bobby Girls lives again.
What a surprise and sheer delight to be invited by Hodder and Staughton to review The Bobby Girls Christmas. Thank you to Hodder and Staughton and Johanna Bell for this opportunity and for providing an e-book.
Please follow through to find out more about the author, the blurb and my review.
In the midst of war, can they find a reason to celebrate?
1915. Patrolling is the last thing on the minds of Women’s Police Service recruits Annie, Maggie and Poppy right now, because Annie and her fiancé Richard are about to get married. She’s been waiting for this day her whole life, but when it finally comes it brings only heartache and Annie doesn’t know if she can go on.
The influx of soldiers to the capital means that the WPS’s work is more important than ever, though, and Annie’s country needs her. She and the girls are posted to the bustling heart of the city and she hopes the new job will distract her from her sorrow.
It certainly does that. Soon the biggest bombing raid of the war causes chaos on their patch. On top of that, Annie suspects that a group of men are forcing European refugees into prostitution and resolves to stop them by Christmas. But by the time she realises just how high up the scandal goes, she might be in too deep to get out . . .
The Bobby Girls Series is perfect for fans of Dilly Court, Daisy Styles and Call the Midwife
Such a delight to be back in 1915 with Annie, Maggie, Poppy and Irene, who are The Bobby Girls. Readers will first find them in London in a train station. It shows that some things never change with people hurrying out of the station without much of a care, but Maggie, Poppy and Annie are observant as they come across a soldier displaying some distress from the effects of war that could end up with a devastating result. In amongst the action and potentially dangerous situations, the blossoming friendship is still depicted with heartwarming joy and there is a wedding to still finish planning for one of the girls. There is high emotion that depicts the effects of war very well between Annie and Richard. It’s powerful and meaningful and feels real.
The build up to the wedding is one of excitement and beauty until something so utterly devastating happens. The mix of emotions is there and because there’s so much to like about the girls, readers will be pulled into this too. The emotion and love is shown in a letter by Richard that is beautifully and realistically composed and emotions of sheer grief and shock are there in abundance and are natural. The support they give each other is strong and meaningful and heartwarming. Instead of it all being nostalgic, there’s something in this that society could take the goodness from and apply to today’s times. Resilience is also shown and even when the worst possible things happen and emotions run high with grief, The Bobby Girls still manage a certain professionalism and tackle situtations as they arise, in a way that is believable
There is a lovely and very interesting look back at some of the rivalries and the history of the WPV – Women Voluntary Patrol that fits in well with the plot, that then also explores The Foundling Hospital and its purpose. Moving around London shows some great places and then in the calm, Zepplins appear in the sky and the girls have to summon up all their courage to stay calm and to direct people to places of safety as the turmoil, confusion and casualties unfolds. There’s also a mention of a battle that was also going on between Serbia and Bulgaria.
The book may be set during World War 1, but shows that certain things, perhaps, for now, never change as it highlights human trafficking and the girls want them behind bars before Christmas. It puts a different slant on a run-up to Christmas story with dangerous men and then the prostitutes who are needed to be allies; so whilst most people think about presents and decorations etc, The Bobby Girls are hard at it at work. The atmosphere all becomes tense and it’s quite the page-turner. There is a touch of sadness that turns into some hope where Poppy is concerned about perceptions on life.
It all culminates in a Christmas Day that many people will be able to empathise with and relate to, which creates yet another fabulous book about The Bobby Girls that easily holds attention, even in the most challenging of times.
Praise for The Bobby Girls:
‘Filled with richly drawn characters that leap from the page, and a plot that’s so well researched and well written you will believe you are in the thick of wartime policing, The Bobby Girls is a must-read for all saga fans.’
– Fiona Ford, bestselling author of Christmas at Liberty’s
‘I really enjoyed reading about Britain’s first female police officers. A lot of research has gone into this book and it’s all the richer and more readable for it. An exciting new voice in women’s fiction.’
– Kate Thompson, bestselling author of Secrets of the Singer Girls
‘I really did enjoy The Bobby Girls. It has a lovely warm feeling about it and is excellently written.’
– Maureen Lee, RNA award-winning author of Dancing in the Dark
‘Written with warmth and compassion, the novel gives fascinating insights into the lives of three courageous young women.’
– Margaret Kaine, RNA award-winning author of Ring of Clay
‘Johanna Bell has hit the jackpot with this striking WW1 crime story. The author places the focus firmly on the girls’ growth into independent members of society in a rapidly changing world. It’s a heartening central message conveyed with verve and empathy and remains relevant to today’s readers, both young and old.’
– Jenny Holmes, author of The Spitfire Girls