The Diary: New novel inspired by Sheffield Blitz

Margaret Dickinson
Margaret Dickinson
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FROM Victorian-style bars to wartime Sheffield…

Margaret Dickinson has written 29 novels which have sold some 500,000 copies across the world but now the Gainsborough author has turned her attention to our fair city.

Her latest fiction, The Clippie Girls, is set here during World War Two. It tells the tale of a young and (but of course!) beautiful tram conductress who is on duty during the Sheffield Blitz.

“I was at Crich Tramway Museum where I saw one of the bombed out trams,” explains the 60-year-old grandmother-of-two, who is one of the UK’s top 20 bestselling authors.

“Straight away I started thinking what if a girl had been working that night? That was my inspiration.”

She spent several weeks going through back copies of The Star for research. As such, one character goes to The Abbeydale Picture House the first night of the Blitz to watch Young Tom Eddison – the film actually showing that evening.

It’s the first book she’s based here. More commonly she uses Lincolnshire’s farms or Derbyshire’s cotton mills as the background for her novels.

“But I hope this one is as well liked as the others,” she says.

The Clippie Girls is released through Pan Macmillan on Thursday.