The Chandlers had been making candles in Bolton for five hundred years, and had given their name to the village of Chandlers Green. The dynasty, now in decline and ruled by Richard Chandler, is reduced to an unhappy household and a few tenanted properties. But Richard continues to behave as though he were lord of the manor. Jean, his wife, is terrified of him; his aunt, Anna Chandler, has moved out of the house and is writing a history of candlemaking; his grown-up children despise him, but fear for their mother if they were to leave home. And now Richard's arch-enemy, Alf Martindale, is planning to move into his village, and Richard knows that the past is catching up with him fast. A crisis forces him to leave his manor for a while, and he has no way of knowing that Jean is arming herself against his return. The past and the present are about to come together in a way that can only end in tragedy...
When Matthew's beloved wife Molly died, long before her time, her son Mark grieved as much as anyone. He had always known that his parents were completely devoted to each other, and sometimes he had felt excluded from this close partnership. Since he was a small boy his mother had been sickening with the illness that eventually carried her off, and now at the age of sixteen Mark longed to earn his father's respect by assisting with the family business, a prosperous antiques shop. But his father, in grief, seemed beyond help.Tilly Povey, famous for her whiplash tongue and her copious ironing, watched the boy's lonely existence with a heavy heart. Stella, Molly's sister, had done well for herself - now a doctor, she had always loved Matthew, and wondered whether he might, perhaps, turn to her in his hour of need. Matthew, obsessed with his loss, was gradually falling apart and none of those who were closest to him could, it seemed, do anything to help. But Tilly, whose uncompromising exterior hid a warm heart, was determined to help this troubled family.
From the very first meeting of Philly Maguire and Richard Swainbank, a pattern of overpowering love, conflict, hatred, and secrecy was born. For although Philly and Richard were on opposite sides of the mill floor, they recognised - both of them - that they were equally matched in strength of character and the capacity for overwhelming sexual passion.Thus began the forty years of conflict between the two families - the Swainbanks, cushioned by wealth but tearing each other to pieces with the violence of their emotions - and the Maguires, proud, betrayed, and led by the vibrant and magnificent Philly.A major saga of the Lancashire cotton mills - of the strong, violent, real people who both owned them, and worked in them - and of the dangerous things that love can do to families throughout the generations.
Kate Murray's father had never forgiven her for being born a girl. Her elder sister, Judith, he had accepted - after all, she was a pretty child and the next one would be a boy. But when Kate arrived, scrawny, red-haired, under-weight, he was told there would be no more children, no son and heir, and from that moment his hatred for his younger child was born.Kate, growing up in a world of constant rejection, seeing the way her Lancashire 'respectable poor' family tried to hide the cracks of a bad and violent marriage, determined to find a life - a world - where she was loved, was successful - where people were proud of her.It took several years, several astounding and unusual developments, and a great deal of courage before Kate became the woman she wanted to be - successful, warm, forgiving, and able to give the love she had so lacked in her own life.
Annie Byrne was born during one of the worst winters Lancashire ever remembered. When the doctor finally got through the nine-foot drifts of snow, mother and daughter were in a pretty bad way, but both the new-born Annie and her exhausted mother - a spinner in the cotton mill - were fighters, tough and determined not to let the world knock them down.They needed to be tough, for when Annie's father was killed in the war, Nancy married again. And Eddie Higson - once he'd courted and won Nancy Byrne - turned into a nightmare of a man, terrorizing the young girl with one secret evil after another.She had two friends who helped her through these bad years. Martin Cullen, rough, uneducated, loyal, who knew he wasn't good enough for her, and David Pritchard, the doctor who had supported her through the worst times and who had bad problems of his own.Together they watched her grow into a beautiful young woman, desperately fighting the legacy of her childhood.
There were only four houses in Paradise Lane, and young Sally Crumpsall lived at No.1. If it hadn't been for the kindly inhabitants of the Lane she would have been even more neglected than she was, for with a father too ill to care for her, and a mother who was to abandon her, she led a ragged and lonely existence. When - finally - both mother and father had gone, then the Lane moved in and, with the help of Ivy, Sally's old and stubbornly aggressive grandmother, they decided to raise Sally as best they could.But Paradise Lane was built in the shadow of Paradise Mill - and Andrew Worthington, owner of the mill, loomed menacingly over the lives of everyone about him. A corrupt, evil and greedy man, he had totally destroyed his own family, and soon his venom was directed towards Ivy, her friends in Paradise Lane, and finally threatened the very existence of young Sally.As events moved towards a violent and terrible climax, only the combined efforts of all who loved the young girl were able to save her.
When Bernard Walsh moved his family from Bolton to Liverpool he did not expect the past to pursue him. But then Theresa Nolan, consumptive, angry and bent on revenge, arrived in the city and settled within three miles of Bernard's new home.While Theresa wrought havoc from the Mersey to the moorlands of Lancashire, two innocent children trod paths separated by fate yet joined by blood. Against a backdrop of dissent and violence, the two young girls began to wend their often troubled routes towards the tranquillity and comradeship of the Corner House.
Laura Starling, now wealthy and successful, has survived a bitter past. She fled from a tyrannical mother into the clutches of a sadistic man. She endured poverty, fear and pain. Then along came Ben Starling, older, wiser, who smoothed her path and gave her love and security. But now Ben has become a stranger who has slipped beyond her reach. As her stability threatens to disintegrate once more, a thin, waif-like girl from Liverpool thrusts her way into Laura's life - a girl who is to prove a link with the past. But no one can help Laura make the decisions that will alter the course of her existence. As the September starlings gather, Laura realises she must take courage and forge her own future.
In the shadow of the Althorpe mills, the Myrtle Street residents endure cramped and often verminous conditions.Joe Duffy, a Bolton tradesman, strives to lift his family out of the 'garden' streets. But as more children are born, Joe's wife Tess sinks deeper into the obsession that will be her undoing. When Tess screams her belief that the area is cursed, few people heed her ravings. She is ignored, even as the Myrtle Street tragedies become more frequent and begin to feature in local gossip.It is left to Megan, the third Duffy child - the one who felt she was unworthy and unloved because she had been born a girl - to end the curse. When she becomes embroiled in a web of deceit, Megan needs all her strength, talents, and wit in order to survive. But it is her capacity to give love that ensures her family's stability, the future of the Althorpe cotton mills, and the safekeeping of the Hall i' the Vale.
The West Family at Moortop Farm should have led settled and happy lives. They were affluent, had a superb old farmhouse, and were blessed with three daughters, Hyacinth, Hilda - and Honoria. But even from childhood Honoria cast a pall of fear and suspicion over the family. Violent and unpleasant things happened and although they were dismissed as accidents, both Honoria's parents and her older sister, Hyacinth, became increasingly alarmed.As the years passed, Honoria's worst excesses were concealed from the world, but even so, in her new life in Liverpool, her evil affected those about her - Yvonne, struggling to escape from an unhappy marriage, Karam, embroiled in an unorthodox love affair, Philip Pointer, trying to hide his own guilty secrets from those about him. But it was April, frail and struggling against a serious illness, who was to be the one to finally destroy Miss Honoria West.Rich in character and action, Ruth Hamilton's gritty and masterful writing builds to a resounding and powerful climax in yet another unforgettable novel.
The O'Neils, who have lost brothers and sons into the bowels of London's East End, keep watch over their one remaining young male, a boy named Seamus. Hardworking and good-hearted, they cling together and help each other, and a whole community.Meanwhile, Rosh Allen mourns the loss of Phil, her dearly-beloved husband. Aided and impeded by her mother, Anna, she struggles to raise three fatherless children. With the help of a kind-hearted neighbour, her wounds begin to heal, and she begins to take the first faltering steps into 'normality'.Tess and Don Compton are on the verge of separation. An apparently greedy and selfish woman, Tess wants a semi-detached house, and all her own way. But what really lies behind her desire to live on the posh side of the street.Behind the three families, two men are at work. One will do serious damage; the other will reunite a clan that goes all the way back to Ireland and to ancestors thrown ashore from the ships of the Spanish Armada.Brilliant storytelling that is perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries' The Four Streets or Maureen Lee.
Scotland Road would never be the same . . .
In 1955 the residents of Scotland Road fear for their futures when government plans threaten to demolish their street and tear apart their community. Polly's Parlour cafe is the centre for resistance, where strategies are formed to fight back. But when local priest Father Brennan attacks little Billy Blunt, minds are instead turned to vengeance.
Frank Charleson, business entrepreneur turned local hero after saving Billy's life, finds himself increasingly fond of Polly Kennedy. But his past won't leave him. After his mother's harsh behaviour towards his previous wife, can he put Polly through the same?
Polly has a hard enough life as it is. With her work in the cafe and her beloved twin brother to care for, she has all but given up on having a family of her own. But can Frank provide the support she needs? And is Polly strong enough to keep their community together?
Three novels of love, loss and family secrets, from Liverpool's best-loved author. Mersey View: After a long, broken marriage, Lucy Henshaw decides to leave home and start afresh in a beautiful house overlooking the Mersey. With a new life come new friends, but when Lucy's husband falls ill she realises she may not be as far from the past as she thought, and she may need her new friends more than ever. The Liverpool Girl: At the outbreak of World War Two, Eileen's daughter Mel refuses to be evacuated. So Eileen and Mel move away from the street and family they love and face an unknown future together. Thus begins a journey of forbidden love, tragedy and a city left crumbling into the craters by the Luftwaffe. Their lives will never be the same again. Lights of Liverpool: Three families in Liverpool; the O'Neils, the Allens and Tess and Don Compton. Each is struggling to keep their families together. But behind the three families, two men are at work. One will do horrific damage; the other will reunite a clan that descends from Ireland, and ancestors thrown ashore from the ships of the Spanish Armada.
Letting go of the past to grasp the future . . . Andrew Sanderson, brilliant surgeon and renowned musician, is still grieving the death of his beloved wife Mary when his younger daughter turns up on the doorstep having left her wealthy and philandering husband. It's not long before the house is overrun with daughters, grandchildren, sons-in-law and a boisterous stray dog called Storm. At Andrew's time of life, is this really what he needs? One thing is sure, home is a lot more interesting than it once was. As he reminisces about his past and the love he once shared with his wife, Andrew starts to realize that there is indeed a new road to be travelled; he just has to let go of his grief and embrace tomorrow...
To save a child, they would sacrifice everything . . . Comfortably settled into his expatriate life in post-war Britain, Headmaster Theodore's secrets are set to remain deeply buried. Until she breezes in. Tia Bellamy: vivacious, intriguing, a nuisance. Tia cuts through his reserve and, for the first time in years, Theodore finds himself able to confront his past and reveal the events carved into his heart and seared into his soul. Together, they form a strong bond with the residents of the Lady Streets, closely befriending Maggie Stone and her granddaughter, Rosie. But Rosie's mother has issues of her own and Tia and Theodore soon realize that little Rosie might be in danger. Unable to protect the child, they decide to take drastic action . . .
What possible connections might exist between an aged man who used to sell shoes, some ladies of the night, three abused schoolboys, two nuns, two police officers, a philanthropist, a serial killer, a drugs cartel, Lime Street Station and a mansion in Southport in whose grounds donkeys and horses are kept?The answer lies in love, friendship and the determination to endure all the way to the winning post.
Eve, owner and madam at Meadowbank Farm, is keen to secure a deal that keeps her in pocket and her clients happy. But is she a match for Babs, a 'Baby Girl' in this house of ill repute? Babs has her own agenda, and in order to fulfil her dream of a decent life, she must first overcome Madam Eve.Meanwhile, a deranged killer walks the Dock Road. 'Inspired' by a vision, he seeks to clean up Liverpool. When he finds Eve's farm, he plans to cast his net on what promises to be a great catch.
The people of Lancashire called him Billy London, although that wasn't his real name. But he came from London's East End and settled in the north, a mean, dark, secretive man who was interested only in lining his pockets at the expense of those around him - most especially his wife and daughters. Ellen, his wife, bore with him for years, until she found her children threatened. Then she was prepared to fight like a tigress to protect the four girls, give them a chance of a new and better life, a chance to escape from the evil and oppressive legacy of Billy London. There was Abigail, clever, ambitious, and with an outer shell of steel that life had taught her was necessary if she was to survive. Tishy, overwhelmingly lovely, who lived in a world all her own. Marie, brisk, capable, and nearly strong enough to defy her father on her own. And Theresa, more wounded, more vulnerable, more damaged by Billy than any of them. As the sirens of 1939 heralded the advent of war, so Billy London's girls began their own battle for new, triumphant, and fulfilling lives.
The Shawcross family was a strange and unhappy one. Edward Shawcross absented himself as much as possible and kept a red-haired mistress in Tintern Avenue. Alice, his wife, sought solace in chocolate and continually carped at Connie, her beautiful daughter. And Connie and Gilbert, their children, formed an uneasy alliance in the face of their parents' antipathy.Twenty years before, Edward Shawcross had been an impoverished millhand, born in a slum to feckless parents. Overnight his fortunes had changed. To everyone's surprise he had married the plain and awkward daughter of the wealthy Fishwick family. Almost at once the Fishwicks, owners of a lucrative mill and a grand house, went to live abroad leaving Edward in charge of all their business interests. No-one could understand why Edward had suddenly made this leap of fortune.But as the new generation began to grow up, so the truth behind old scandals began to emerge. Then, after many years, the Fishwicks returned and violence swiftly followed. Before Connie and Gilbert could throw off the legacies of the past and build their own lives, there were to be many shocking revelations.
At eighteen Jennifer Crawley led a strange and lonely life - her days in the spinning room of the cotton mill, her nights with possessive - and slightly mad - Aunt Mavis. Jenny didn't even know who her parents were. Aunt Mavis never spoke of them.Then came the chance to better herself - to work as a servant at Skipton Hall. And there Jenny found a household as dangerous and weird as the one she had left behind. Mrs Sloane, the terrifying housekeeper, was as cruel as she was ugly, taking pleasure in bullying and frightening the young maids. Henry Skipton was an embittered, solitary man who took care never to see his invalid wife. And Eloise Skipton lay bed-ridden, a beautiful woman in a beautiful room, feeding on hatred and plotting vengeance on the man she had married. When she first set eyes on young Jenny, she realised she had found the perfect weapon for revenge.But Jenny, for the first time in her life, had a friend. Maria Hesketh, a gutsy, talented Liverpudlian, her character as fiery as her hair, was determined that she and Jenny would make something of their lives, would succeed in spite of everything.
Madeleine Horrocks, pretty and outspoken despite her strict 1950s Catholic upbringing, doesn't understand why religion seems to force people apart. Surely, she would argue to her friend Amy, believing in God should be all about love and forgiveness, not hatred?But Amy has been brought up to believe that mixing with other religions results in eternal damnation, and when Maddy becomes friendly with George, the good-looking Jewish boy who lives nearby, Amy fears the worst. But as they grow up she, too, becomes friends with George, as well as with other young teenagers who meet secretly at the Bell House, an ancient place of burial. When a body is found in the nearby reservoir they all become threatened by tragedy and danger.Father Sheahan, the whisky-soaked priest from the local church, has meanwhile discovered that his secret past is catching up with him.Bigotry, lust and hatred have been so much a part of this community that it takes the combined forces of young and old - and particularly George's formidable grandmother Yuspeh - to make everything right again.
"It's an ill wind..."
Born into WW1, Dorothy has a bleak childhood under the iron fist of an implacable mother and the silent compliance of a browbeaten father.
Her escape is achieved just before the disastrous advent of Hitler, and there is further tragedy to come.
Follow her through childhood and adolescence, then on into her twenties when, finally made whole, she wins her own battle for freedom, for love and for her own place in the world.
In 1946, Alice Quigley returns to her childhood home on Penny Lane, having lost three sisters and her house in Bootle to the bombs that fell over Liverpool. Estranged from her husband Dan, who suffered from two strokes triggered during the Blitz, she finds comfort in living closer to her remaining sister, Nellie, and a cast of new neighbours. But they too have problems of their own: Vera Corcoran fears for her life at the hands of an abusive husband and Olga Konstantinov fled Russia to seek a new life in Britain. But even though the bombs have stopped falling, tremors still rock the family when Alice's reviled mother is kicked out of Nellie's home and seeks vengeance. Despised by her daughters, Elsie Stewart was a cruel mother and forced their father to an early grave. Alice is desperate to start a family of her own and be a much better example to her own children. But will this be with the man she's married to? And when visions from the past resurface, she soon uncovers a dark secret that her mother has kept hidden for so long . . .
NOT EVEN THE BOMBS THAT DESTROYED THEIR CITY COULD BREAK THEIR SPIRIT ... Three generations of strong, determined women and the war that threatened to tear them apart. In the backstreets of Liverpool, Eileen Watson lives with her mother, Nellie, daughter Mel and her three tear-away sons. Life isn't great, but they have eachother, and family can get you through anything. Or...can it? Then, on the third day in September 1939, Britain declares war on Germany and their lives change forever. The children have to be evacuated, but daughter Mel refuses to go, and so Eileen says goodbye to het mother and sons, moves away from the street they love and faces a future without most of the people in her precious family. Thus begins a journey for them all. A journey filled with forbidden love, tragedy and the terrifying sounds of a city they love crumbling into craters left by the Luftwaffe. Their lives will never be the same again ...