My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - in and out over 2 days
Pages - 446
Publisher - Quercus
Source - gift
Blurb from Goodreads
In love and war, who can you trust?
Her face still bearing the scars from the explosion at the factory, Rita Brown is nonetheless back on her feet. She's caught the eye of local wide boy Blackie Bristow, who's sweeping her around the country in a life of shady glamour.
But there's a war on, and life is not all fun and games. Some of the local men are taking advantage of the topsy-turvy world to break more than just hearts, and standing up to them comes with its own costs.
Rita keeps calm and carries on with a little help from her friends at the factory. But then she discovers someone there has been leaking secrets to the Germans. With D-Day on the horizon, Rita must work out who she can rely on - and fast.
This is book two in the series, the book focuses mostly on Rita who wasn't a main character in book one but she played her part. Whilst you could technically read this as a standalone as it does refer back to some incidents and parts of the back story of book one, I think it has a much bigger emotional impact if you read book one first. You get a better feel for the characters, what they have already endured, survived and things that brought them together impacting on their relationship roles in this book.
Rita is dating Blackie, a man who can shower her with just about everything she needs or could want, materialistically that is. The war is still going, rationing is still a thing but Rita doesn't feel the pinch quite as much as the others. She knows Blackie deals in the black market, or strongly suspects, however it sis what it is. When an event forces Rita to reassess her life she makes decisions that impacts on many aspects of her life. We also catch up with Pixie, Lizzie, Em and Gladys.
The book is a bit darker than I remember the first being, violence, abuse, consequences of war, rape, abortion, it is really quite dark and horrific in parts. Family and friendship still play a huge part, world war two is still ongoing and many of the originals still find themselves in the factory working for the war effort. If you liked the first I think you will like this one, just be prepared for some horrific scenes. Some of the book took me by surprise, you know when you gasp out loud you are onto a book that will stay with you. 5/5 for me this time, I have the third book in the series and can't wait to see what is in store next for the characters, hopefully some joy!