The Surplus Girls


Manchester, January 1922.

Belinda Layton is a surplus girl - one of the many young women whose dreams of marriage perished in the Great War, with the death of her beloved fiancé Ben. After four years of mourning, she finally feels ready to face whatever her future holds without him. But Ben's mother and grandmother, with whom Belinda lives, can't countenance her putting him to rest, while her own family - well, all they care about is getting hold of her meagre factory wages.


When Belinda joins a secretarial class to try to better herself, little does she imagine that it will open up a whole new world to her. For not only does she learn to type, but she meets the beguiling bookshop owner Richard Carson... and falls head over heels in love. But who is this man to whom she has entrusted with her heart, and what does he really want?


As Belinda fights to follow her dreams, can she move forwards from all the devastation and loss, and take a chance at happiness?



With its intertwined plot-lines, exploration of relationships and strong female characters, The Surplus Girls is written for saga readers who enjoy character-driven books with an accurate historical setting and satisfying emotional content.



UK Kindle       UK paperback


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Australia Kindle 






The audiobook is read by Julia Franklin, who is also the reader for my Susanna Bavin books.


You can request it from your public library on CD, MP3 and possibly as an e-book. Audible listeners can purchase it to add to their personal libraries. Click here.

More About The Surplus Girls


To find out how two important characters in The Surplus Girls spent nearly 20 years flitting from book to book until they found their natural home in The Surplus Girls, click here to be taken to my Susanna Bavin blog.


And here you can find out about characters in The Surplus Girls who also appear in my other books.


Here is my article in Frost Magazine about The Surplus Girls series, including a cautionary tale for anybody contemplating changing their name!


In a blog interview with Tara Graves, I talk about how NaNoWriMo helped get The Surplus Girls written, how I organise my work and why I wish I was better at writing blurbs.


It wasn't published until January 2nd 2020, but The Surplus Girls appeared on a Best Books List for 2019. Take a look here. You will need to scroll down to the bottom of the page.


The Surplus Girls - Highlights in Photographs


This was its appearance as a forthcoming publication in The Bookseller. An exciting moment!


That wonderful moment when the box of author copies arrived.


Publication day flowers from my lovely writer chums, Jane Cable, Cass Grafton, Kitty Wilson and Kirsten Hesketh.



The Surplus Girls was the first of my books to be sold on supermarket shelves. It was stocked by Sainsbury's and quickly sold out, prompting Sainsbury's to bring in more copies.


The first library shelfie!



Then came the audio book, narrated by Julia Franklin, who is the narrator for all my books, under all three writing names.


The large print edition.


So many happy memories! Thank you for all your support.

Book Group Questions:


For those of you who are using The Surplus Girls in your reading group, here is a list of questions you may wish to use in your discussion.


1. In what ways does living with the Mrs Sloans make Belinda’s life easier? In what ways does it make it more difficult?

2. Does Belinda spend too much time trying to please other people?

3. Why is Belinda attracted to Richard?

4. What do you think of the use of the first person, present tense for Gabriel’s viewpoint scenes?

5. Prudence says the house in Wilton Close is morally hers and Patience’s, even if it isn’t legally. Is she right?

6. How has life with Pa affected Prudence and Patience?

7. Did your opinion of Richard change when he had his first viewpoint scene and you shared his thoughts and memories for the first time? In what way?

8. In the story, is it better to be a wife, a widow or a spinster?

9. What are Patience’s strengths? What are Prudence’s weaknesses?

10. Who was more manipulative – Denby or Kathleen?


If you have read The Sewing Room Girl, compare the young William Turton with the middle-aged William. How has he changed with age?


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For Book Group questions relating to my Susanna Bavin novels, click here.