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The Surplus Girls

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  65 ratings  ·  43 reviews

After the loss of war, can there be hope for the future?

Manchester, 1922.

Belinda Layton is a surplus girl. One of the many women whose dreams of marriage perished in the Great War, with the death of her beloved fiancé, Ben. After four years of mourning, she's ready to face the future, even though Ben's family is not happy to see her move on, and her own only cares

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Kindle Edition, 365 pages
Published January 2nd 2020 by Corvus
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Average rating 4.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  65 ratings  ·  43 reviews


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Louise Wilson
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in Manchester, 1922

The surplus girls were women who after World War I had either, lost their loved ones during the war or there weren't enough single men left to marry. Belinda had lost her fiance Ben in the war and four years later, shes still in mourning for him. She works for Mr Butterfield in the mill yard. She decides to try and better herself, so she starts taking secretarial classes at night. Her Saturday job helps to pay for them. But when she meets the owners nephew, Richard Carson,
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Sandra
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a sad story of the girls left behind after ww1 with no men to marry,i have enjoyed reading about Belinda and the struggle she had after losing her fiance Ben in the war she not only has to support his family but also her own and that is not easy as all her family do is argue and cause trouble.Belinda wants to come out of her widow clothes but has a fight with bens mother and grandmother but she wants to wear colour and to rejoin the living not to live in black.I can recommend this book ...more
Diane
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The surplus girls is the name that was given to the young women left behind without partners after WW1. This particular story tells the life of Belinda Layton. After losing her fiancé Ben she is struggling to find a place in the world where she can do better then working at the Mill. Her father is a lazy work shy man who drinks away any money the family work so hard for. Belinda’s mother is so down trodden she’s all but given up. Disappointed that her father had refused her permission to finish ...more
booklover BEV
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The story of Belinda Layton. Set in Manchester 1922, Belinda still in mourning four years on after the loss of her fiance Ben, lives in End Cottage with his grandma Beattie and auntie Enid. Working for Mr Butterfield in the mill yard and working Saturday's to give her family in Cromwell street money. A decision to better herself she starts a night business school for secretarial courses with the two miss hesketh and the book shop on beech road run by mr tyrell on Saturday's helps her to pay for ...more
Rachel Hall
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Eventful saga focusing on the female lives that were irrevocably changed by WWI. Informative & involving.

This is the first in a trio of sagas set in the aftermath of WWI when the devastating loss of young men on the frontline irrevocably changed the lives of the women and families awaiting their return. Manchester, 1922 and twenty-year-old working-class lass, Belinda Layton, is one such young women whose expectations for the future were torn apart after her fiancé, Ben, perished in the Great
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Nicola Smith
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love a saga and that period after the First World War is such an interesting one, both for returning soldiers and the women who all of a sudden found themselves contemplating a future with no men left to marry. Therefore I was very drawn towards The Surplus Girls.

It's Manchester in 1922 and Belinda Layton is a mill worker. Having lost her fiancé in the war, she's faced with a life of having to fend for herself and for that reason she wants to try and better herself by getting an office job.
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Karen Mace
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first in a trio of sagas set in the 1920's and what a way to start! Full of inspiring female characters and a great way to look back at a time in history when women were being written off as 'surplus girls' as they'd lost their husbands or fiancees in the Great War.

Belinda is the surplus girl, who is in her 4th year of grieving for her beloved Ben. As she reaches her 21st birthday she is finding life tough working at the mill, under the extremely creepy and vile Mr Butterfield, and
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Gill
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd never heard of the term Surplus Girls before and I imagine it must have felt quite hurtful at the time to be referred to in this way. Many of these very young women had lost fiance's and husbands in the war and faced a future of uncertainty with little prospect of moving on or being able to financially support themselves.

Belinda Layton the protagonist, is one such young woman who has lost her fiance. She moved out of her family home after her fiance Ben was killed in the Great War to live
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Heather Copping
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romantic
You maybe asking yourself "what is a surplus girl?", well its a term where after the first world war many thousands of girls and women lost the love of their lives. They were left behind to pick up the pieces and mourn their loved ones and after the war there was more women than men, so they were "surplus girls". They often had no husband, no training in the workplace, but still had responsibilities to their parents (financially).
Belinda is one of those women, losing her fiance Ben, she lives
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Heather Copping
You maybe asking yourself "what is a surplus girl?", well its a term where after the first world war many thousands of girls and women lost the love of their lives. They were left behind to pick up the pieces and mourn their loved ones and after the war there was more women than men, so they were "surplus girls". They often had no husband, no training in the workplace, but still had responsibilities to their parents (financially).
Belinda is one of those women, losing her fiance Ben, she lives
...more
Louise
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Set in Manchester, 1922 The Surplus Girls features Belinda Layton who sadly lost her fiance Ben during the war. She lives with Ben’s mother and grandmother but still financially supports her parents and siblings who live close by. She works long hours in a mill and longs to improve her situation by changing her career to an office worker. First, she must study and start right at the bottom but she has the foresight to see that long term her circumstances would greatly improve.

Belinda is a ‘
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Marjorie
Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Somehow the setting just doesn't manage to ring true, it all feels a little more late 1940s than early 1920s and I can't put my finger on why. Yes it has situations that are very much of the time but it just all feels so much more "modern" than it's supposed setting. Good job then that this is a book about people first and foremost.

Belinda Layton is having a tough go of it, her father turns out to be a ne'er-do-well who is rapidly dragging his family down with him. Her eldest brother seems to
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Jasmine Guffick
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
An Enthralling read

A story set around the women left behind after WW1, we see Belinda struggle after her fiance died in the war and Prudence and Patience with the death of their father.

Within the first sixty pages alone I was near bawling. So distraught with the events unfolding already. These poor girls were having hell of it with what is happening but they are strong willed and have many wits about them.

I was getting so angry at what is expected of Belinda to have to take care of her family
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Grace J Reviewerlady
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a great read, and in preparing for this review post I've discovered it's first in a trilogy so now I'm really excited!

Belinda Layton was looking forward to a rosy future with her fiance, Ben, until the horrors of the first World War put paid to their plans. Bel finds herself living with Ben's mother and grandmother who have more than most .. but life is hard. Four years after the war has finished and they are still in deepest mourning and expect Bel to follow suit, but she's young and
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Andrea
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book based in Manchester in 1922 tells the story of Belinda Layton. After losing her fiance and love of her life, Ben, in the war Belinda has spent four years dressed in black and mourning his passing. Now one of the surplus girls, those girls whose men hopes and dreams have perished in the war, Belinda begins to realise that she has to make a new life for herself. Ben's family are not very happy about her moving on but as time goes by they come to see her heart and realise her wanting to ...more
Laura K-w
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
With so many men killed at the front there are many girls who are mourning their lost loves. This novel tells us the story of Belinda and how four years after the war, having grieved deeply for her lost fiancé, she is ready to try and inject a bit of colour back into her life.
We see how she is determined to undertake an education which will allow her to progress from factory to clerical work but is burdened by her family who are dependent upon her financially, as well as by the expectations of
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Jane Blake
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Teresa
Jan 12, 2020 rated it liked it
I was halfway through this book before it really caught my interest.

It's about Belinda who lost her fiance in the war and became one of 'the surplus girls' which the world was full of at the time. She works at the mill and lives with her fiance's mother and grandmother. The book starts four years after the war and they are still wearing black and mourning their loss. These women expect Belinda to stay the same way.
She wants to move on. Initially just to wear something with a bit of color but
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Mojoro
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Enjoyable and interesting.

I was expecting a family saga, and that is what I got. But this book is so much more than that.

In addition to the protagonist, the book reveals the lives of several other, very different, women of that time, all of whom are on a journey for independence, whether by choice or necessity.

We get an insight to how the war has affected the lives of these women and the struggles they face in the social climate of 1922.

It’s not all about the women. The author hasn’t forgotten
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Tris Pyrrhic
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Surplus Girls is the first book of a trilogy set in the 1920s. The title is based on how women lost their husbands (and fiancées too) during World War I. These women were then labelled “surplus girls”.

The main character (Belinda) continues to grieve after the death of her beloved fiancé (Ben), after he died four years ago.

Belinda becomes tired of working at the mill, especially under the creepy and perverted gaze of Mr. Butterfield. She promises herself to become more independent and sings
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StaceyWare19
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book, I absolutely adored the story of Belinda Layton.

Imagine being a young girl in love, engaged to be wed and then the war shattering all of those dreams by taking your loved one away.

Belindas character is a true inspiration of a independent woman who follows her dreams and does not give up when obstacles get in her way!

She remains loyal not only to her family but also to her “in-laws” who she lives with.

Belinda finds happiness in the end after a rough ride to get there.

I was
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Sarah
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is set at such an interesting time in our history and although there are glimpses of feminism they are brief and fully in keeping with the era. Belinda is a very kind hearted character who really wants to do the best by everyone however a chance encounter with her old schoolteacher gets her wondering about her own future and she tentatively starts to put herself first however her actions are not entirely well received. Prudence is a fantastically wily woman and her sister Patience is very ...more
Karen Kingston
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Corvus Books and Readers First for a review copy of this book.

This is the first book I've read by Polly Heron (aka Susanna Bavin) and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this saga.

The time period this book is set in is the era my grandparents and their siblings were growing up in, when social changes after World War 1 changed the lives of the young women. Some of my great aunts were 'surplus girls' - who had very few opportunities in terms of work or romance.

Reading
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Fiona
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
During the first World War Belinda Leyton loses her fiance, it is now 1922 and she stills lives with the shadow of her loss while residing with his family who are in deep mourning four years later so is a "Surplus girl," trying to make ends meet at a factory until she tries her hand at joining a business school to become a secretary.
But through the class and a work placement afterwards in a bookshop she meets two men Richard Carson and Gabriel Linkworth and both will change her life forever.
This
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Charlotte Booth
Dec 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and read it in a couple of days.

It is the story of Belinda, a Surplus Girl, who is hoping to better herself by taking evening classes to increase her business skills. A Surplus Girl was a girl who is unlikely to get married due to the number of young men who died in the war and would be forced to work throughout her life.

However, her family life is difficult. Her working class family is poor, and her father does little to help other than take his children's wages.
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Tammy Tudor
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Just Wow!

I truly adored this book. Being from Lancashire I love that the setting was Manchester as it made me think of the sadness and grief through the hard times of the war that my county must have endured.

This book captures the truthfullness of war while filling my emotions with tears, laughter and inspiration. The characters you can really relate to and I love that it is addresses women's inequality issues, some of which are still happening today.

Everything was perfectly realistic so I
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Julie Cordiner
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Surplus Girls was a joy to read from start to finish. I was rooting for the heroine Belinda Layton all through the book, as she faced so many challenges, not least of which is getting on with her life after her fiance was killed in the war, while his relatives want her to be in permanent mourning. Her own family is a nightmare, and she faces a challenge to find love in a world where so many men have been lost that unmarried women are regarded as surplus girls, destined not to marry.

There's
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Liccy
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book looks at the aftermath of World War Two. Despite their reputation as the ‘roaring twenties’, they were actually incredibly tough times to live through: the book reminds us that so many people who had lost their loved ones and there were families living in desperate poverty. It is, then, thought-provoking and interesting. Belinda, the main character, has lost her fiancé Ben (hence being a surplus girl). She is trying to make a life for herself independent from her troubled family ...more
Maureen
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Surplus Girls........

A truly delightful read...I couldn't wait to keep picking it up to read more and so, sadly, finished it very quickly.

I do find it extremely fascinating to learn all about how my grand parents and other members of my family used to live in the early 1900's as I know so very little about them.

This type of book gives me an insight as to how they must have lived and felt in those days, together with all the hardships and relationships they had to put up with.
In an age
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Runa Begum
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The story is set just after World War 1 in Manchester, England. There are several characters in the story but Belinda Layton is the character that I like the most. She is a surplus girl who lost her fiancé in the war and now with less men since the war, she must work for her living in order to provide for her large family with little prospect of marriage.

However, Belinda wants to do better for herself than to work in a mill. Soon she ends up taking secretarial classes and finds herself working
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