Annie Clarke is a pseudonym for bestselling author Margaret Graham, who also writes under the name Milly Adams.
Girls on the Home Front by Annie Clarke, is the first in the Factory Girls series, and howay, is our Annie glad to be writing about this area, and these times in the North East. What times? Ah, pet, the 2nd World War.
Annie Clarke's roots are dug deep into the North East and she draws inspiration from her mother, who was born in a County Durham pit village during the 1st World War and went on to become a military nurse during the 2nd World War. Annie Clarke's mam, Annie Newsome, relayed the tough times of the depression, and the harsh environment of the war: the munitions girls she met, the miners she grew up alongside, the community which sustained them all. And here it is in Girls on the Home Front.
August 1941. As war sweeps across Britain and millions of men enlist to serve their country, it's up to the women to fight the battle on the home front.
Fran had thought she'd marry her miner sweetheart, Stan, and lead a settled life, or as settled as it gets when one's husband is a miner. But war changes things. Near her pit village girls are needed in a newly opened factory, one that pays well, one in which danger is high.
It is a munitions factory. Against her father's wishes, and with best friends Sarah and Beth, she signs up. It is dangerous work, but as they face the risks, the girls discover that their lives are only just beginning. They develop strengths they didn't know they had, supported by the community. On and on, they go, all of them, the mams, the pitmen fathers, the pitmen boyfriends, and most of all, the girls.

“ The bus rattled their bones and teeth, or so thought Fran, but her stomach was rattling enough with nerves anyway as they headed for the Ordnance Factory, which was so secret that it must have no name and never be talked about.
‘Spark Lane sounds about right,’ she murmured to her friend Sarah, sitting next to her.
Sarah muttered, ‘Well, our Davey should be good with codes, thinking of his crossword solving and setting.’
The bus slewed right around a corner, throwing them to the left. Sitting in front of them, Maisie, who had worked at the Factory for a while, braced herself and yelled, ‘Oy, oy, Bert, steady the buffs, lad.’
‘Lad, eh’ he called back. ‘Wish I were, pet.’
The seats were just wooden slats, and Fran felt the wheels hit every clod thrown from the tractor as the farmhands had roared from one field to another, ploughing while the weather lasted. In the distance she could just see the pitheads of the mines.
‘I’m right nervous,’ Sarah muttered.
Across the aisle, Beth, their other old schoolfriend gripped her hands together and said quietly, ‘Me an’ all, but we’ll know all about it any minute now.’
Fran peered ahead and there, in the distance were what looked like huge air-raid shelters covered in grass, and what seemed like hundreds of one story brick buildings. . . .

Girls on the Home Front is published in paperback by Arrow - from booksellers, supermarkets and Amazon