A seasonal delight, inspired by the true story of the Quality Street factory.
At sixteen years old, Irene ‘Reenie’ Calder is leaving school with little in the way of qualifications. She is delighted to land a seasonal job at Mackintosh’s Quality Street factory. Reenie feels like a kid let loose in a sweet shop, but trouble seems to follow her around and it isn’t long before she falls foul of the strict rules.
Diana Moore runs the Toffee Penny line and has worked hard to secure her position. Beautiful and smart, the other girls in the factory are in awe of her, but Diana has a dark secret which if exposed, could cost her not only her job at the factory but her reputation as well.
When a terrible accident puts supply of Quality Street at risk, Reenie has a chance to prove herself. The shops are full of Quality Street lovers who have saved up all year for their must-have Christmas treat. Reenie and Diana know that everything rests on them, if they are to give everyone a Christmas to remember…
What does TWG think?
We have all heard of and no doubt eaten, the iconic brand of ‘Quality Street’, right? I don’t know about you but whenever I hear those two words, I instantly think of Christmas and being able to delve into the purple tin of goodness, trying to find the green triangles and orange crunches before someone else fills the tin up with wrappers. We have all been there I’m sure! Although saying that, I remember the Quality Street tins to be much bigger than what they are now! Well, either that or I was a very, very small young person at the time of my memory….
Reenie Calder has, in her eyes, been given the gift of a lifetime when she’s told that she will be starting work in the factory which makes the Quality Street sweets, Mackintosh’s. With so many ideas filling her head before her feet even cross the threshold, Reenie’s mum has to reign her in very quickly before she finds herself getting too big for her boots and without a job. To be Frank, I could see why Reenie was getting agitated though – why should she be punished for bringing ideas to the table?
‘The Quality Street Girls’ doesn’t just follow the life of Reenie Calder, it also follows the life of another Quality Street girl, Diana Moore. A young lady whose face could turn milk sour if she stared at it too long. Before you start shaking your head at my analogy, there is a reason for it and it all becomes clear further on in the book. Poor Diana has multiple reasons as to why her face could make anyone run a mile. But, just like Reenie, why should Diana be punished for trying to protect her family?
Oh my heart did go out to those two young girls! Two very different, impressionable personalities who led two, very different lifestyles with two rather questionable outlooks on life. I don’t mean that rudely, but that’s how it was. I loved Reenie’s enthusiasm when it came to work. Heck, the job centres could use someone like her in this day and age, that’s for sure! I thought that Diana’s strength was incredible, but for someone who isn’t afraid to speak her mind when things are wrong, she sure seemed to keep her mouth shut at a time she, in my opinion, needed to open it the most. Obviously I won’t delve into the details of that reason as I don’t wish to give away spoilers.
I loved finding out how the iconic brand of Quality Street started, especially with the fact of ‘The Purple One’. I had absolutely no idea that that was the case, and I loved being able to tell my family that on Christmas Day….knowing full well I hadn’t just Googled it! Thanks Penny Thorpe!!
Historical fiction novels are one of my favourite type of genres to read, yet after reading Penny Thorpe’s ‘The Quality Street Girls’, I think I have now found myself a brand new, go to, historical fiction author!
I absolutely adored the energy that the entire storyline was laced with! It kept me on my toes and allowed me to speed read the book as though someone was dangling multiple orange crunches in front of my face. The history element was absolutely brilliant and kept my brain fed with knowledge from start to finish (even though, just like the author admits, some parts were stretched to fit in with the overall storyline). That didn’t even bother me, instead it just added a lot more character to the overall vibe of the story.
‘The Quality Street Girls’ tickled my taste buds, made me giggle, and allowed me to lose myself in Penny Thorpe’s chocolatey goodness (no, that isn’t a euphemism!). My only regret where this book is concerned, is that I wish I had started it sooner! I cannot wait to see what’s next for the girls at Mackintosh’s, and I hope that Reenie and Diana fill another story with their emotional and highly addictive drama.
Such a classic, cosy, and wonderfully written book which puts the nations favourite chocolates in everyone’s hearts once again.
If ‘The Purple One’ told me before I read the book, that I would need to point my ‘chocolate toffee finger’ at this ‘strawberry delight’, I would have told them ‘fudge’, and to jog around the ‘milk choc block’ because I, hand on ‘orange crunch’, think that ‘The Quality Street Girls’ is an absolute ‘toffee deluxe’.