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The first in the Corner House series, set in a Lyons Corner House in London on the brink of the Second World War. When cousins Jo and Phyl decide to become Lyons Corner House waitresses, or 'Nippies', as they are known for their speedy service, they have no idea how their lives are about to change. They are whisked from family life in Woolwich to digs in London; they are transported from a factory and a grocer's shop to the wonderful dining rooms of Lyons, Marble Arch, and they swap their old overalls for the smart uniforms of the Corner House girls. Jo and Phyl settle in and make friends with both waitresses and customers. There are boyfriends, lovers and fiances, friendship and romance, but as the Second World War becomes increasingly imminent, the future of these men and women seems more and more uncertain.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780752842967
ISBN-10: 075284296X
Format: Paperback
(178mm x 112mm x 27mm)
Pages: 416
Imprint: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publish Date: 4-Jan-2001
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » Ambitions were modest in the 1930s - especially female ambitions. Girls did not aspire to careers in Big Business - they were more than satisfied with jobs as waitresses in Joe Lyons's teashops, where wrists were metaphorically slapped over missing buttons on the smart black and white uniforms, and the 'Nippies' were famous for their speed and smiles. To the girls of London, escaping from factories and small shops, Lyons Corner Houses were not just clean and bright, but glamorous, and their mums were comforted by the management's paternalistic attitude, which provided homely accommodation for their younger recruits. It was a good place, too, to meet the up-and-coming young men who regularly dropped in for poached eggs on toast over which friendships with the girls were tentatively begun, sometimes to blossom into dates, and dreams (on the girls' part) of love - within strictly respectable bounds. But the reader, at least, is very conscious of the expanding menace of war, viewed at first by Jo, Phyl, Etty and their friends with incredulity, then increasing fear. A background of extended families, living in cosy proximity, provides a solid base from which the girls launch themselves into their new world; though as September 1939 approaches even these apparently indissoluble groups are threatened with evacuation for the children and forces call-ups for their older brothers. Harry keeps the story vivid by making no concessions to current writing styles or 21st-century attitudes. She 'tells it like it was', from the viewpoint and in the manner of the period. As, in the last pages, the children depart for the country and the young men for army camps, and the older generations batten down the hatches, we sense a looming sequel. (Kirkus UK)


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Author Biography - Lilian Harry

Lilian Harry grew up near Portsmouth and now lives in a village on the edge of Dartmoor with her two miniature schnauzers. A keen bell-ringer and member of the local drama group, Lilian loves to walk on the moors. Her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. Follow her on Twitter @LilianHarry.

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