I loved The Girl from the Corner Shop. It’s a fabulous wartime saga which completely drew me in to the story. And what a story!

Helen Harrison and her husband, Jim, are about to escape her mother’s clutches, and the corner shop that she owns, to move into their first house overlooking the park. Jim is a fireman and in the midst of World War Two that’s a very dangerous job to be in. During a massive air raid on the centre of Manchester Jim is killed and Helen is lost without him. This all happens very early on and Helen now needs to find a way to live her life without Jim and preferably without her mother making her life a misery. She decides to move into the house anyway and starts to look for other work.

Here’s where the story really gets interesting. First of all, Helen finds temporary work at a fashion business but it’s when she joins the Women’s Auxiliary Police Corps that it gets particularly exciting. I had no idea there was such an organisation and that women were so involved in policing during the war. To be fair, most of them probably ending up filing and clerking but Helen, as befits our feisty heroine, finds herself really taking to the job and getting out into the thick of the action.

I thought Helen was a wonderful character. She’s practically perfect in every way and very likeable with it. I felt so sorry for her as her chance of happiness was yanked from her but I hoped she would find it again during the course of the novel and let’s just say I wasn’t disappointed by the ending.

This is my first book by Alrene Hughes and I’d most definitely read another. She has a very warm writing style, one that kept me interested in Helen’s story and rooting for her all the way through. I liked the fact that the storylines are quite gritty at times and yet there’s still a soft edge to the story with some genuinely nice characters. A very enjoyable read indeed.

Nicola Smith, Short Book and Scribes, 5/5

The Girl from the Corner Shop by Alrene Hughes
Head of Zeus 9781788543996 hbk Jul 2019