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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

‘The Candle Factory Girl’ By Tania Crosse
Book Beginnings


Cover Image Of 'The Candle Factory Girl' By Tania Crosse


A Friday Morning In June 1932

‘Blooming heck, Hillie! Can’t you wait for us?’

As she neared the corner of the street, Hilda Hardwick heard the hurrying footfall of her lifelong friend scurrying up behind her, and she slowed her own step. She turned round, and though she itched with exasperation, she couldn’t help but smile. Gert was rushing towards her, pulling on her old, frayed cardigan over her work dress as she went. Hillie could see that one of her hastily tied shoelaces had already come undone and was threatening to trip her up.

To complete the chaotic image, Gert’s naturally frizzy auburn hair stood around her head in a blazing halo, flying about her shoulders in a fiery cloud. She always reminded Hillie of one of the Titian paintings they had admired together on a trip to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. It was 1932 and members of the fairer sex had been cutting their hair short for nearly two decades. However, these two factory girls from the backstreets of London’s Battersea had yet to catch up with the fashion.


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I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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    • This book is especially good as a piece of social history, as the Prices Candle Factory actually existed and was remembered by author Tania Crosse’s older brother (thriller author Terence Strong).

      There is so much information about the factory on Price’s website and I found it all so interesting, that I could have got carried away with facts and trivia.

      However, mindful that you are interested in this particular time in recent history, I though I would share this snippet of information from the 1920s and 30s …

      “Another specialist market that Price’s supplied was that for explorers and expeditions who required stearine tallow candles that could, in extremis, be eaten. Famously, Price’s supplied Captain Scott’s final expedition to the South Pole in 1910-11 with 2,300lb of Belmont Stearine candles. There is evidence from the diaries of members of Scott’s team that they were eaten (although the Captain was more impressed with their ability to burn at 102 degrees Fahrenheit below zero). Ironically it was malnutrition that was one of the things that defeated Scott’s team. There were also examples closer to home of English coal miners trapped for fourteen days below ground who survived by eating their tallow candles. In the 1920’s and 1930’s Price’s supplied a variety of other expeditions with edible stearine candles: botanical trips to the Andes, unsuccessful attempts on Everest, explorations of Greenland and Mawson and Shackleton’s trips to the Artic and Antarctic. And today Price’s continues to supply the British Army with their ‘Table Lamp No. Two’ for the same reason.”

      Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading 🙂

  • Not a book that i can see myself reading as it puts me in mind of so many other books of this genre I have read.

    To share the first few lines of the book I have just read. Not a book I would have chosen to read if it weren’t the April pick at my reading group.

    Since Atlanta, she had looked out the dining-car window with a delight almost physical.
    – Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

    • I must admit that many of the wartime historical fiction stories do all end up by being a bit ‘samey’, however they are generally a good source of social history, which is all too soon going to be forgotten by the younger generations!

      Also, I am finding more and more, that my other favourite genres of a good murder / mystery or psychological thriller, are not faring too much better. After all, how many ways can you murder someone, commit the perfect crime, or solve a difficult case?

      I still can’t help but get addicted to each new book I come across though 🙂

      Perhaps I should take a leaf out of your own book and read a few more of the classics, which I have sadly neglected over the years, Harper Lee being one of those authors!

      Have a great weekend 🙂

    • I’m sure that, as an author, you need to have an interest in both the time period in which you choose to write about and a good head for research, to make sure that both the storyline and the characters are authentic, so that any fictional writing you set around the backdrop, only enhances these qualities, rather than overtaking them.

      Tania Crosse stopped by a while ago, with an excellent guest post about her inspiration and planning for ‘The Candle Factory Girl’ …


      If you don’t have the time right now to check out the entire post, this quote from it just about sums up Tania’s thoughts about the very point your comment raises …

      “I hate being catagorised as a writer of historical romance. The history comes first, and the human tales develop from my research. The characters lead harsh, demanding lives and their stories are often cruel and harrowing. ‘I tell it like it was.’ ”

      Thanks for taking the time to comment on today’s post, I appreciate it and hope that you enjoy your weekend 🙂

  • Maybe not one I’d seek out on my own, but I think I would enjoy it very much were it to land on my TBR pile. I normally like Historical Fiction.

    • It would be debatable as to whether I would have picked this particular book up for myself, as there are so many stories with similar themes and set in this exact time in history.

      However, historical fiction is one of my favourite genres, as the books, all be that they are fiction, are generally well researched and offer a good over-view of place and time, together with an informative commentary of social history.

      When I read Tania’s Guest Post and realised the personal connection to the story, this just sounded like a book that was too good to pass up!

      Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your weekend 🙂

Written by Yvonne