The Tobacco Girls
194 pages

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194 pages

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'A gripping saga and a storyline that will keep you hooked' Rosie Goodwin, bestselling author.The start of a thrilling new series, from bestselling author Lizzie Lane set in Bristol which follows three friends through thick and thin.
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.

What readers are saying about The Tobacco Girls:
'The Tobacco Girls is another heartwarming tale of love and friendship and a must-read for all saga fans.' Bestselling Author, Jean Fullerton

'Lizzie Lane opens the door to a past of factory girls, redolent with life-affirming friendship, drama, and choices that are as relevant today as they were then.' Bestselling Author, Catrin Collier

'Lizzie Lane's stories get me to and from work every day. Love them.' Reader Review



Publié par
Date de parution 05 janvier 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781800484849
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1650€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.



Dedicated to my father who worked in the tobacco bonds, my sister Janet who made cigars at Raleigh Road, and my sister-in-law Jean who made cigarettes in East Street.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33


More from Lizzie Lane

About the Author

About Boldwood Books

Slight of stature, dark-haired and dark-eyed, fifteen-year-old Maisie Miles was currently engrossed in a world of her own. Though the newspaper sellers and the wireless shouted warnings of war to come, it meant nothing to her.
The world, her surroundings and everything else, was blanked out by the letter she’d almost snatched from the postman’s hand. She’d bobbed out of that front door ten times at least that morning, waiting for him to come so she could grab the letter before he had chance to shove it through the letter box. Hopefully it would be her ticket out of York Street, the Dings and the larger area that was St Phillips’ Marsh.
The envelope was blue, the paper of a quality she’d never encountered before. The letter inside matched the envelope both in colour and quality.
Her brown eyes glowed and her creamy complexion burst into pinkness as she read the letter for the third time.

Dear Miss Miles,
In response to the reference I received from your teacher Miss Smith, and the fact that since leaving school you have experienced some domestic work in the kitchen of the Royal Hotel, in Bristol, I am delighted to offer you the position of kitchen maid at Priory House, Long Ashton, which, as I am sure you know, is just outside the city of Bristol and not far from Ashton Court…
Feeling sublimely happy, Maisie closed her eyes and held the letter to her heart. Bliss. Green fields and trees. She’d never been to Ashton Court, but the redoubtable Miss Smith had told her that the sumptuous mansion had been built with the proceeds of a vast sugar plantation on the island of Jamaica.
The letter had come from the housekeeper who was known personally to Miss Smith.
‘A much respected acquaintance,’ she had told Maisie. ‘It’s a private house, so only glimpsed through the gates.’
It was obvious from her tone that Miss Smith herself had never been into the house but would very much like to.
For her part, Maisie wasn’t interested in the house. It was the prospect of fresh air far away from the stink of York Street which attracted her.
The house she’d grown up in was situated in the Dings, a subdistrict of St Phillips, a less than salubrious area of Bristol, where the air was thick with the stench of bone yards, soap works and slaughter houses.
Added to the cloying stench was the deafening rattle from the marshalling yards stretching from Midland Road to Lawrence Hill, a sprawling expanse of glistening rails linking the Great Western Railway with the Midland Railway. Like the smell, the railway never ceased: the goods trucks shunting backwards and forwards, chains clanking, metal rails squealing beneath metal wheels. Of late it had been busier and nosier than usual. The old man, the old sod, her father, declared it was all to do with impending war because it said so in the papers. As if he would know! She’d never seen him read anything. It was more likely he’d heard the newspaper vendor shouting out the news from his pitch outside the Kings’ Cinema in Old Market.
Maisie didn’t care. All she wanted was to get away to something better.
There was nothing attractive about number five, York Street. It had a yard at the back, a patch of dusty dirt between the back of the house and the brick privy that lurched against the far wall. It was a place of mouldy walls and cramped rooms, packed with shabby furniture and a cold hearth that even when lit did little to warm one room, let alone the whole house.
‘What you got there?’ Suddenly the very air was ripe with menace.
Absorbed in the letter and her future, she hadn’t heard her father, Frank Miles, rouse himself from the old cracked sofa in the living room.
Pushing her with one hefty hand, he grabbed the letter with the other.
Maisie did her best to snatch it back, but was brushed so roughly aside that she crashed heavily against the wall and a patch of flaking plaster crumpled into her hair.
Bleary-eyed, he blinked at the letter, mouthing the words as he read each one like a child who cannot quite understand his letters.
‘What the bleedin’ ’ell’s this about then?’
His accent was heavy. His flabby jowls quivered and his bloodshot eyes fixed her with a familiar look, the kind usually followed with a cuff round the ear or a punch to her shoulder. In his youth, he might have been a handsome man, but booze and smoking, plus the advent of age, had blunted all that.
The circumstances of her upbringing and ongoing abuse had toughened Maisie. She gathered her courage, folded her arms in front of her and held her chin high. He scared her, but to show fear would only make things worse.
‘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.
‘The off-licence was busy. I ’ad to wait and then everybody was looking up at that plane. Did you see it? A Bristol Beaufighter, that’s what they said it was called. There’s loads of them being made out at Filton in case there’s a war, but the one that flew today is the first one. Everyone was dead excited that it was being built ’ere and that there might be a war…’
Frank Miles raised a threatening fist. ‘Well, I ain’t! You goes on an errand and gets back ’ere. You don’t spend yer time gawping up at the bloody sky!’
Gwen Miles flinched and barely glanced in Maisie’s direction because she dared not. The bloke she wished she never married had a short temper and liked lashing out. Any sign of sympathy for her daughter would result in her receiving a black eye, a broken finger.
‘This stupid cow,’ he said, pointing a yellow stained finger at Maisie, ‘put ’erself down for a job as a bleedin’ kitchen maid at some fancy country ’ouse.’
Her mother blinked, looked at Maisie, then back again at her husband, afraid to say the wrong thing.
‘What sort of ’ouse was it then?’ she tried.
‘That’s not the point!’ he shouted straight into her face. ‘She ain’t leavin’ ’ere. She’s lived under my roof all ’er life and I wants paying back.’
Her mother winced and her face visibly paled. She’d always been paler than Maisie, but of late there was a greyish tinge. The only brighter spots of colour were when she was sporting the blue and yellow of a black eye.
‘So what you got in mind?’ she asked, her eyes avoiding those of her daughter, her hands trembling with nerves.
‘I’ll tell you what I’ve got in mind,’ he said, purposely standing between Maisie and the door. ‘Tomorrow you take your daughter along to the Labour Exchange and get her taken on at Wills’s.’
‘Oh, I don’t know about that,’ she said, frowning as she took off her headscarf. ‘I don’t know that they’re taking anyone on.’
She seemed suddenly diminished in size when Frank Miles pressed hi

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