A Post Office Christmas: "She'll fight for women’s rights, war or no war."

Welcome to bestselling author Kirsten Hesketh aka Poppy Cooper who has dropped by to tell us all about her novel A Post Office Christmas and to give us the lowdown on one of her characters.

While we're waiting for your guest to arrive, Kirsten, can you tell us a little about your book?

Can they deliver hope and friendship this Christmas? 1915. After the recent dramatic events at the Post Office's Home Depot, Milly Woods is looking forward to spending as much time as possible with her best friends Liza and Nora. With Christmas fast approaching, their job of getting millions of letters and parcels to the troops on the front line is more important than ever. But when Milly is moved to a different department, she and the girls struggle to find time to spend together. Feeling more and more lonely, Milly finds company and common ground at her local suffragette group - as well as catching the eye of a wounded ex-soldier at the Home Depot. But soon, Milly discovers that her new friends might not be what they seem. As she is drawn into a deadly plan that could affect the outcome of the war, can her Post Office girls help her get back on track, and scupper the plan in time for Christmas?

Who will you be inviting for a cocktail and why?

I’ll be inviting Milly Woods who is the main character in A Post Office Christmas - the second in my saga series set in the Army Post Office’s Hone Depot on London’s Regent Park in WW1. Milly is 19 in 1915, an East End girl from a humble background and the war has given her a chance to work in a field formerly reserved for men. Milly is determined to make the most of her new opportunities and also to continue the fight for women’s rights, war or no war. She’s not adverse to a little mischief - and a LOT of fun – along the way.

What will they be wearing?

Although adept with a needle, Milly doesn’t have a lot of clothes, so I reckon she’ll have borrowed a little something from Nora, her much grander friend at the Home Depot. She’ll need her sewing skills because Nora is much taller than she is, so she’ll have to alter it to fit. How much of an ankle will she risk showing – and will she get out of the house without Ma having a fit? Either way, Milly’s just had her hair cut into a modern ‘bob’ and will be feeling like a million dollars.

What will they order from the cocktail menu?

Milly’s unfamiliar with cocktails which didn’t really take off until between the wars, but I think she would love a Sidecar which was invited in the 1920s. It’s a mixture of cognac, triple sec, lemon and a dash of Angostura bitters served over ice, and Milly would feel incredibly sophisticated sipping one. I quite fancy a couple myself!

How will they react if the waiter spills their drink on them?

Milly is naturally impulsive and fiery, so her first temptation would be to give the hapless waiter a piece of her mind – especially if her borrowed dress has been ruined! But, underneath, she’s also a kind person so I think she would be able to rein herself in – particularly if the waiter is a girl. Milly knows what it’s like to be in service, to be worked to the bone and to be shouted at for the slightest mistake – so she would be able to put herself into the other person’s shoes and to be understanding.

What can they tell you that will make you stay for a second drink?

I think I would want to stay all night. I would love to discover what it was like to be a young person during WW1 – to be living through a time of such horror and yet one which offered women such hitherto undreamed-of possibilities. It would be fascinating. And there’s also that handsome young man at the Home Depot who’s just come on the scene ….

Kirsten Hesketh aka Poppy Cooper

A Post Office Christmas, published by Hodder and Stoughton on November 25th 2021 - the second in my Post Office Girls series.

Pre/order links

Twitter: @kirsten_hesketh


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