Gritty sagas by Corrie blog editor Glenda Young, published by Headline. Click pic below!

Monday, 15 October 2018

In Praise of Battleaxes - Win Jean Fullerton's new book

We have a very special competition here on the Coronation Street Blog to win a copy of Jean Fullerton's brad new paperback book A Ration Book Christmas.  

What's this got to do with Coronation Street? Well, Jean is a huge Corrie fan and she explains all about battleaxes in soap and what makes her book special too.

And now it's over to Jean and after that you can find out how to win a copy of her book too!

Jean Fullerton
(author and lovely woman -
definitely not a battleaxe!)
"For as long as Coronation Street has been on air the battleaxes have been a vital member of the cast. The first great battleaxe was of course, Ena Sharples, with her hairnet and pithy comments played by that veteran of the boards Violet Carson. She set the benchmark for all those who followed after not only in Coronation Street but in all other soaps such as EastEnders with Pam St. Clement as Pat Butcher and Barbara Windsor as the no-nonsense Peggy Mitchell. 

The working-class battleaxe has a much longer history than in soaps and has it origins in the music hall, in the guise of Old Mother Riley, pantomime dames and were parodied with Les Dawson and Roy Barraclough’s portrayal of Cissy and Ada.

However, as much as we might laugh at their blunt and often rude attitude and the way even the neighbourhood tough guy quakes under their steely gaze we should also take a moment to pay tribute to the thousands of working-class women they are based on.

Although all my books are set in the area of East London that surrounded the docks the working class women in my stories are tough and outspoken, battleaxes if you like, but then they had to be. Like their counterparts in any poor riverside, pit-head, or mill town working-class women mothers, sisters and wives had to battle to survive.

They had to battle to raise a family on a few pennies a week and to ensure they got them too, even it meant having a stand-up row with their husband in a pub.

Even if their other halves did put their money on the table without a quibble with many jobs being piece work, as it was in the Port of London, working-class women had to roll up their sleeves, and battle to keep the rent man at bay and food on the table by taking in washing or other poorly-paid homework

They had to battle to keep their children in school and out of trouble. They had to be battle to keep order in their communities and see off those seeking to exploit their neighbours. And in a male dominated world they had to battle to have their voice heard.

The average number of children delivered to a working-class mother before WW2 was nine and it was more often as not, half that number again. Working class women had to battle to survive home-births with often only their sister or mother in attendance and then be back on their feet within days to tend to their families need.

But mainly working-class women had to battle in mind and spirit, in order to face the heartache of burying one and very possibly more, infants and children to illnesses that would require just a few days off school today.

Although Jo Brogan the heroine of my latest book A Ration Book Christmas, doesn’t look like Ena Sharples or Peggy Mitchell but when it comes to working-class grit and determination she’s counted amongst the best as she does battle with Tommy Sweete, her family, and the long-arm of the law."

And now read on to find out how YOU can win a copy of A Ration Book Christmas. 

With Christmas 1940 approaching, the Brogan family of London's East End are braving the horrors of the Blitz. With the men away fighting for King and Country and the ever-present dangers of the German Luftwaffe's nightly reign of death and destruction, the family must do all they can to keep a stiff upper lip. For Jo, the youngest of the Brogan sisters, the perils of war also offer a new-found freedom. Jo falls in love with Tommy, a man known for his dangerous reputation as much as his charm. But as the falling bombs devastate their neighbourhood and rationing begins to bite, will the Brogans manage to pull together a traditional family Christmas? And will Jo find the love and security she seeks in a time of such grave peril?

It's available at Amazon here.

Here is your question!  The deadline for entries is Friday 19th October 2018 at 5pm. One winner will be drawn at random from all correct entries received and announced here on the Coronation Street Blog.  The competition is open to UK fans only (sorry, overseas fans).  No entries allowed from Loquax, moneysavingsexpertforum and all other competition entry websites.  

Q: On Jean Fullerton's website, Jean says she grew up in the overcrowded streets of London that were clustered around which landmark building?

Email your answer to me at with JEAN in your email subject line. Good luck.

About Jean Fullerton: Jean  is the author of eleven novels all set in East London where she was born. She worked as a district nurse in East London for over twenty-five years and is now a full-time author.   She is a qualified District and Queen's nurse who has spent most of her working life in the East End of London, first as a Sister in charge of a team, and then as a District Nurse tutor.
She has won multiple awards and all her books are set in her native East London.  Her latest book, A RATION BOOK CHRISTMAS, is the second in her East London WW2 Ration Book series featuring sisters Mattie, Jo and Cathy Brogan and their family. 

Twitter:  @JeanFullerton_ 

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