‘This vivid and richly readable account of women’s lives in and around the Tate & Lyle East London works in the Forties and Fifties is written as popular social history, played for entertainment. If it doesn’t become a TV series to rival Call The Midwife, I’ll take my tea with ten sugars.’

– Bel Mooney, The Daily Mail (Book of the Week)

‘Delightful, a terrific piece of nonfiction storytelling, and an authoritative and highly readable work of social history which brings vividly to life a fascinating part of East End life before it is lost forever.’ 

– Melanie McGrath, bestselling author of Silvertown and Hopping

‘Be sure to read The Sugar Girls – top social and female history, beautifully researched and written.’ 

 Heidi Thomas, Call the Midwife screenwriter

‘Authors Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi have crafted an unlikely page-turner, synthesising a pacey narrative from what we assume must have been a bottomless well of memories and anecdotes from the surviving sugar girls. It reads like a novel. By the end, we half-wished we’d lived through those impoverished, crater-strewn days. There is hardship here, for sure, but also an infectious levity and optimism so rare in our own times. A TV series surely beckons.’ 


‘Do have the tissues close at hand when you get to the final chapter for the wrap-up of this remarkable, warm-hearted story of our mothers’ and grandmothers’ generation. … [a] wonderful book.’ 

– London Historians blog