It’s Publication Day for The Girl from the Workhouse by Lynn Johnson and also my turn on the BlogTour.
About the Author
Lynn Johnson was born in the Staffordshire Potteries and went to school in Burslem, where the novel is set. She left school with no qualifications and got a job as a dental nurse (and lasted a day), a nursery assistant, and a library assistant before her ambition grew and she enrolled at the Elms Technical College, Stoke-on-Trent and obtained six O’levels. She obtained a Diploma in Management Studies and a BA Hons in Humanities with Literature from the Open University while working full-time.
Most of her working life was spent in Local Government in England and Scotland, and ultimately became a Human Resources Manager with a large county council.
She started to write after taking early retirement and moving to the north of Scotland with her husband where she did relief work in the famous Orkney Library and Archives, and voluntary work with Orkney’s Learning Link. Voluntary work with Cats Protection resulted in them sharing their home with six cats.
She joined Stromness Writing Group and, three months after moving to Orkney, wrote a short story which would become the Prologue to The Girl From the Workhouse.
About the book
Even in the darkest of times, she never gave up hope
Staffordshire, 1911. Ginnie Jones’s childhood is spent in the shadow of the famous Potteries, living with her mother, father and older sister Mabel. But with Father’s eyesight failing, money is in short supply, and too often the family find their bellies aching with hunger. With no hope in sight, Ginnie is sent to Haddon Workhouse.
Separated from everything she has known, Ginnie has to grow up fast, earning her keep by looking after the other children with no families of their own. When she meets Clara and Sam, she hopes that she has made friends for life… until tragedy strikes, snatching away her newfound happiness.
Leaving Haddon three years later, Ginnie finds work as a mouldrunner at the Potteries, but never stops thinking about her friends in the workhouse – especially Sam, now a caring, handsome young man. When Sam and Ginnie are reunited, their bond is as strong as ever – until Sam is sent to fight in WW1. Faced with uncertainty, can Ginnie find the joy that she’s never had? Or will her heart be broken once again?
An emotional, uplifting and nostalgic family saga that will make you smile, while tugging on your heart-strings. Fans of Sheila Newbury, Kitty Neale and Sheila Riley will love this beautiful read.
When her parents are unable to feed themselves and their children they end up being sent to the workhouse, well everyone except Mabel. Ginnie is thrust into a world without the daily love and care of her parents, but one could argue that her memories are slightly nostalgic.
Ginnie finds a new family in the Haddon Workhouse, which isn’t defined by blood or complicated relationships. It’s all about support, truth and being there for each other. They understand what it’s like to be abandoned by parents, to be delegated to the lowest tier in society.
The reader follows Ginnie as she learns to comprehend the difference between what you see and experience in a person, and what is hidden behind the exterior. She remembers and experiences her sister Mabel as someone who found it easy to forget Ginnie exists, that is until she needs a skivvy in her home.
It takes a little growing up to differentiate between face value and the face people put on for others. Perhaps Mabel isn’t the cold-hearted fish she appears to be. Everyone keeps a part of themselves secret, especially if they do it so they can protect themselves and their emotions. However Sam has always been consistent in his behaviour towards her and their friendship.
It’s a coming-of-age story and one of a budding romance. Johnson has a Cookson flair, perhaps with a little less heartbreak and topographical tinge, but she does capture the heart and soul of her characters.
Buy The Girl from the Workhouse at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Hera, pub date 18 Feb. 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Kobo.