Published by Boldwood Books Setting: England
Genres: Fiction, Great Britain, Historical Fiction
Life is tough for Ella Bancroft. After her father, Thomas, is wheelchair-bound by an accident at the tube works, the responsibility for keeping a roof over their head falls to Ella. Ellaâ€™s mother died when she was ten, and her sister Sally lives with her no-good, work-shy husband Eddy, so is no help at all. If she and her father are to keep the bailiffs from the door, then Ella must earn a living.
But Ella is resourceful as well as creative, and soon discovers she has a gift for millinery. Setting up shop in the front room of their two-up, two-down home in Silver Street, Walsall, Ella and Thomas work hard to establish a thriving business. Before long, the fashionable ladies of the Black Country are lining up to wear one of Ellaâ€™s beautiful creations, and finally Ella dares to hope for a life with love, friendship and family.
Meeting the man she longs to marry should be a turning point for Ella, but lifeâ€™s twists and turns can be cruel. As the winter grows colder, events seem to conspire to test Ellaâ€™s spirit. And by the time spring is approaching, will the hat girl of Silver Street triumph, or will Ella have to admit defeat as all her dreams are tested.
The Queen of the Black Country sagas is back with a heart-breaking, unforgettable, page-turning story of love, life and battling against the odds. Perfect for fans of Val Wood and Lyn Andrews.
This is an engaging story of a young woman who is struggling to keep her family afloat. She is working as an assistant hat maker to a woman whose ideas are out of fashion and who isn’t shy about stealing Ella’s ideas. Her father decides that it is time for Ella to open her own shop.
The book deals with topics such as disability during this time period. Ella’s father is unable to walk which strains the family finances. Through the book you see him moving out of depression to finding meaning and unexpected skills by helping Ella make hats. However, there is some derogatory language about disability used in Ella’s mind when she described him as “emasculated” by not being able to walk. It didn’t seem accurate or necessary for the story.
There are also a lot of considerations of class dynamics. Ella is working class and has her store front in her house in an unfashionable area of town. Her first customers are upper class. There is a woman who is engaged to a person in that supportive family who is horrified to be required to come to a working class house.
I’d recommend this book for fans of historical fiction with strong female characters who face a lot of adversity.
Book tour through Rachel’s Random Resources