• Release Date: 2013-04-25
  • Genre: History

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This is Madge’s story, one of five stories extracted from THE SWEETHEARTS.
Whether in wartime or peace, tales of love, laughter and hardship from the girls in the Rowntrees factory in Yorkshire.

“On the morning of her Rowntrees job interview, on a warm Monday morning in July 1932, Fourteen-year-old Madge Fisher stood fidgeting in the hallway of her terraced house while her mother, Margaret, pinned up her hair and then inspected her from top to toe. ‘Hands,’ her mother said, and Madge presented them meekly for inspection, glad that she’d remembered to wash them at the kitchen sink…”

From the 1930s through to the 1980s, as Britain endured war, depression, hardship and strikes, the women at the Rowntree’s factory in York kept the chocolates coming. This is the true story of The Sweethearts, the women who roasted the cocoa beans, piped the icing and packed the boxes that became gifts for lovers, snacks for workers and treats for children across the country. More often than not, their working days provided welcome relief from bad husbands and bad housing, a community where they could find new confidence, friendship and when the supervisor wasn’t looking, the occasional chocolate.

About the author

Neil Hanson is the author of many acclaimed works of narrative history including The Custom of the Sea, The Dreadful Judgement, The Confident Hope of a Miracle and The Unknown Soldier. He lives in Yorkshire with his family.