... are set in a northeast coalmining community where I was born and bred. The books are gritty, dramatic reads set at the end of WW1 and all feature strong heroines. They are standalone books and can be read in any order. Published by Headline in paperback, ebook, audiobook, hardback and large print. I really hope you enjoy them all.
The Miner's Lass
HARDBACK, AUDIO BOOK, EBOOK released May 2021
PAPERBACK released October 2021.
A compelling saga of love, sacrifice and powerful family bonds
'You're a Dinsdale lass, Ruby. Nothing and no one keeps us lot down.'
A life of poverty in a cramped pit cottage is all that seventeen-year-old Ruby Dinsdale has known. Even with her father and younger brother working at the coal mine, money is tight. Her mother Mary is skilled at stretching what little they have, but the small contribution Ruby makes from her job at the local pub makes all the difference. So when Ruby is sacked, and Mary becomes pregnant again, the family's challenges are greater than ever.
When charming miner Gordon begins to court Ruby it seems as though happiness is on the horizon, until she uncovers a deeper betrayal than she could ever have imagined.
But although the Dinsdales are materially poor, they are rich in love, friendship and determination - all qualities that they will draw on to get them through whatever lies ahead.
The Paper Mill Girl
HARDBACK, AUDIO BOOK, EBOOK now available.
PAPERBACK released March 2021.
'She's just a paper mill girl.'
An emotionally gripping family saga of triumph in adversity.
Seventeen-year-old Ruth Hardy works long hours at Grange Paper Works, with her younger sister Bea, and spends her free time caring for their ailing parents. Their meagre income barely covers their needs, so when Bea reveals that she is pregnant out of wedlock, Ruth knows even tougher times are ahead.
Ruth's hard work at the mill does not go unnoticed and it looks as though her luck might turn when she's promoted. But when the arrival of Bea's baby girl ends in tragedy, Ruth is left with no choice but to bring up her niece herself. However, news of Ruth's plan brings a threatening menace close.
Although Ruth's friendship with the girls at the mill, and the company of charming railway man, Mick Carson, sustain her, ultimately Ruth bears the responsibility for keeping her family safe. Will she ever find happiness of her own?
The Girl with the Scarlet Ribbon
'You deserve more than this, Jess... You deserve to know the truth about the McNallys.'
An utterly unputdownable, heartwrenching saga.
When a newborn baby girl is found abandoned with nothing but a scarlet ribbon tied to her basket, Ada Davidson, housekeeper of the wealthy McNally family's home, the Uplands, takes her into her care. Sworn to secrecy about the baby's true identity, Ada names her Jess and brings her up as her own, giving Jess no reason to question where she came from.
But when Ada passes away, grief-stricken Jess, now sixteen, is banished from the place she's always called home. With the scarlet ribbon the only connection to her past, will Jess ever find out where she really belongs? And will she uncover the truth about the ruthless McNallys?
Pearl of Pit Lane
'Put me to work on the pit lane, would you? Is that all you think I'm worth?'
A powerful, romantic saga of tragedy and triumph
When her mother dies in childbirth, Pearl Edwards is left in the care of her aunt, Annie Grafton. Annie loves Pearl like her own daughter but it isn't easy to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. Annie knows the best way to supplement their meagre income is to walk the pit lane at night, looking for men willing to pay for her company.
As Pearl grows older she is unable to remain ignorant of Annie's profession, despite her aunt's attempts to shield her. But when Pearl finds herself unexpectedly without work and their landlord raises the rent, it becomes clear they have few choices left and Annie is forced to ask Pearl the unthinkable.
Rather than submit to life on the pit lane, Pearl runs away. She has nothing and nowhere to go, but Pearl is determined to survive on her own terms..
The Tuppenny Child
'She's not worth more than tuppence, that child!'
An emotional saga of love and loss.
Those are the words that haunt Sadie Linthorpe. She is the talk of Ryhope when she arrives there, aged seventeen, alone, seeking work and a home in the pit village. But Sadie is keeping a secret - she is searching for her baby girl who was taken from her at birth a year ago and cruelly sold by the child's grandmother.
All that Sadie knows about the family who took her daughter is that they live in Ryhope. And the only thing she knows about her daughter is that when the baby was born, she had a birthmark on one shoulder that resembled a tiny ladybird. But as Sadie's quest begins, a visitor from her past appears - one who could jeopardise the life she's beginning to build and ruin her chances of finding her beloved child forever.
Belle of the Back Streets
'Any rag and bone!'
A powerful, heartwarming saga.
Everyone recognises the cry of Meg Sutcliffe as she plies her trade along the back streets of Ryhope. She learnt the ropes from her dad when he returned from the War. But when tragedy struck, Meg had no choice but to continue alone, with only her trusty dog Spot and beloved horse Stella for company. Now the meagre money she earns is the only thing that stands between her family's safety and predatory rent collector Hawk Jackson...
Many say it's no job for a woman - especially a beauty like Meg who's noticed everywhere she goes. When she catches the eye of charming Clarky it looks like she might have found a protector and a chance of happiness. But is Clarky really what he seems? And could Adam, Meg's loyal childhood friend, be the one who really deserves her heart?