Today I’m really happy to be hosting the blog tour for Kate Thompson’s latest novel, The Wedding Girls.
Disclosure: I received a copy of The Wedding Girls for review. The opinions below are my own and unbiased.
The year is 1936, and in the East End of London, three young women help other women create the day of their dreams. Kitty is an apprentice dressmaker, helping to make beautiful wedding dresses. Next door, Stella and Winnie work in a photographic studio, recording the brides’ special days. Each of them has their own dreams for their future, whether it’s being a bride or leaving the East End and working elsewhere.
But war is looming on the continent, and trouble is brewing closer to home as well. Can the community hold together, and will the Wedding Girls have their own happy ever afters?
Back in 2015 I reviewed Kate Thompson’s debut novel Secrets of the Singer Girls. Although I don’t often read historical romance novels, I really enjoyed the setting, plot and characters in that novel. So when I heard that Kate was publishing her third novel, I was really thrilled to be asked to review it. And today I’m playing host to The Wedding Girls‘ blog tour.
Like The Secrets of the Singer Girls, this is a fairly gentle romantic novel. It’s based around three young women who have their own dreams and ambitions, which is something that everyone can relate to. But setting the novel in the 1930s allows Kate Thompson to create characters who have extra problems to deal with. That may be an abusive father who won’t allow his daughter to marry, a frail father who is living in the squalor of the pre-war slums, or a dream job that is out of reach. But Kate Thompson’s heroines are made of tough stuff, and I really enjoy their development as the novel progresses.
The East End of London is like another character in the book as well. Its locations and people are vividly described, and it’s obvious that Kate Thompson has a real affinity for this period and setting.
As I mention above, I don’t often read historical romances. But I really enjoy Kate Thompson’s novels because she puts so much research into her writing. In The Secrets of the Singer Girls, she referred to a real life disaster at a Tube station being used as a bomb shelter in the Blitz. The Wedding Girls is set against the background of the pre-WWII years, as fascism spreads across Europe.
At that time, Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists was attempting to gain support in the UK. Kate Thompson makes reference to this throughout the book and the ‘Battle of Cable Street’ plays a pivotal part in the plot. Setting the book in and around real-life events makes me feel more invested in the characters. It definitely adds to my enjoyment of the book.
This is a romance which comes with a pretty hefty dose of tension throughout the novel. Of course, the main characters get their happy endings, and the various storylines all have a suitable resolution. I’d love to know how they all got on in the future though – I wonder if we might get a sequel?
I really enjoyed The Wedding Girls, and I can’t wait to see what Kate Thompson has got planned next!
If a wedding marks the first day of the rest of your life, then the story starts with the dress.
It’s 1936 and the streets of London’s East End are grimy and brutal, but in one corner of Bethnal Green it is forever Hollywood…
Herbie Taylor’s photography studio is nestled in the heart of bustling Green Street. Tomboy Stella and troubled Winnie work in Herbie’s studio; their best friend and hopeless romantic Kitty works next door as an apprentice dressmaker. All life passes through the studio, wishing to capture that perfect moment in time.
Kitty works tirelessly to create magical bridal gowns, but with each stitch she wonders if she’ll ever get a chance to wear a white dress. Stella and Winnie sprinkle a dusting of Hollywood glamour over happy newly-weds, but secretly dream of escaping the East End…
Community is strong on Green Street, but can it stand the ultimate test? As clouds of war brew on the horizon, danger looms over the East End. Will the Wedding Girls find their happy ever afters, before it’s too late?
Another fantastic novel from Kate Thompson, with romance and excitement galore! 8/10