The Last Debutante


Lesley Lokko - 2016
     1936, Chalfont Hall, Dorset. As the dressmaker puts the last pins in her dress, thirteen-year-old Kit is wondering why she has to go through the charade of seeing her sister Lily presented at Court. With her waves of auburn hair and her piercing green eyes, Kit knows that her sister's place on the social scene is guaranteed regardless of her dress, and as the door to a life of parties and eligible young men opens for Lily, Kit must make do with tiptoeing around the gallery of Chalfont, eavesdropping on the conversations of the grown-ups. But the arrival of a German visitor one evening soon sets in motion a chain of events that none of the family could have anticipated. Years later, the aftershock of events will be felt by a new generation . . .

Beneath the Cypress Tree


Margaret Pemberton - 2017
    . . Summer 1935. Best friends Kate Shelton, Ella Tetley and Daphne St. Maur are on the cusp of a new life, having graduated with Classics degrees. Kate is desperate to start work on an archaeological dig straightaway and she is thrilled to be given a position at the famous Knossos palace site in Crete. However, she doesn't bargain for working with gruff site director Lewis Sinclair - nor for her own complex feelings towards him.In Yorkshire, Ella's family expect her to marry Sam, her steady friend who is training to be a doctor, but Ella too feels pulled to the Mediterranean by the promise of freedom. When she meets Christos, life as a country GP's wife seems even less appealing . . . Daphne however throws herself into London's high society, falling madly in love with diplomat and heir Sholto Hertford - but then his work brings them to Crete, and Daphne becomes enchanted by the island as well.Meanwhile, the threat of war rumbles on, as reports of Hitler's rapid expansion across Europe become impossible to ignore. It seems that nothing can touch the perfect, glittering sea and snow-capped mountains, but Kate, Ella and Daphne know that the island haven they now call home will never be the same again.

A Fugitive Green


Diana Gabaldon - 2018
    In the course of her business, though, Minnie meets Harold Grey (Lord John's elder brother), the newly-widowed (and alarmingly deranged) Duke of Pardloe, and things fall out.One of the two final novellas of Seven Stones to Stand or

The Hatbox Baby


Carrie Brown - 2000
    A "fascinating, lyrically written tale" (Kirkus Reviews), this is a love story about an offbeat doctor and a famous fan dancer; and an epic novel about misfits and makeshift families, fragile lives and unpredictable loves -- all set against the backdrop of Chicago's 1933 World's Fair.

Above Us The Sky


Milly Adams - 2015
    Evacuees, the WI, and keeping calm and carrying on. Perfect for fans of Katie Flynn and Ellie Dean. As the threat of bombing raids intensifies, newly-qualified teacher, Phyllis Saunders, is evacuated with her school to Dorset. Here she encounters prejudice and suspicion. But she is determined to make the best of life, for herself and the children in her care. All the while her fiancé and submariner, Sammy, is facing danger out at sea. Then the Blitz hits London and Phyllis, trying to persuade her mother to return to Dorset with her, gets caught up in it herself. Shaken but alive, she returns to the relative peace of the countryside. But soon she is nursing a secret she can tell no one. Until the news that Sammy's submarine has been sunk reaches her, and she is forced to make a decision she hopes she will never regret…

The Language of Silence


Peggy Webb - 2014
    When Ellen’s husband, Wayne, beats her nearly to death, she runs to the only place she knows where a woman can completely disappear—the same Big Top that once sheltered her grandmother. Though the circus moves from one town to the next, Wayne tracks it, and Ellen, relentlessly. At the same time, Ellen learns more about her feisty, fiery relative, and the heritage that is hers for the taking—if she dares. With her violent husband hot on her trail, Ellen must learn to stand up and fight for herself, to break the cycle of abuse, and pass down a story of love and redemption to her children.

After the Dance is Over


Joan Jonker - 2001
    First, Molly's son Tommy sets the date for his wedding to Rosie O'Grady, and everyone's saving hard to ensure their day is perfect in every way. Then a new family arrive in the neighbourhood and their daughter is determined to put a stop to the budding romance between Nellie's son Paul and Phoebe Corkhill. Meanwhile, Molly's daughter Doreen and her husband Phil make an announcement, and Nellie and Molly are determined to track down Phil's long lost family, so that they can share in the joyful news...

A Mother's Promise


Dilly Court - 2008
    But despite the threat of being turned out onto the streets by the unscrupulous tallyman and the never-ending struggle just to exist, Hetty is determined her family will never starve or want for a roof over their heads. Longing for something better out of life than the daily grind of making matchboxes for a pittance, she dreams of setting up her own business. With the help of friends she sells hot potatoes on the streets and things begin to look up for them all. But when the tallyman comes calling, they are faced once more with a future full of hardship and despair ...

Katie's Kitchen


Dee Williams - 1999
    Not only has her closest companion been taken from her, she's also lost the successful restaurant they built up together, as well as the comfortable home they shared with her young son. Now all this has been snatched away, for Edwin has left no will and his lecherous brother Gerald presumes he's inherited Katherine along with the house.With little money but full of determination Katherine escapes Gerald's violent advances and takes lodgings in Rotherhithe, with her cook's sister Milly. Despite its poverty, Docklands London is full of hope and friendship and, in helping her new neighbours through their difficulties, Katherine finally begins to tackle her troubled past. But even as she rebuilds her life around the pie-and-mash shop where she works, a terrible shadow is hanging over the country. And little does anyone know the horrors 1914 will unleash ...

Beneath the Water


Sarah Painter - 2018
    But it will also draw her back to a dark past…Devastated by a broken engagement, Stella Jackson leaves her old life behind for a new start in rural Scotland. But when she arrives in the remote coastal village of Arisaig, nothing is what she expected.At the edge of Arisaig sits Munro House; grand, imposing and said to be cursed by a string of tragic deaths. No less intriguing is its eccentric and handsome young owner, Jamie Munro, who hires Stella as his assistant while he pursues a seemingly impossible aim. Working through the great house’s archives, Stella soon finds herself drawn in by a cache of increasingly erratic letters from a young Victorian woman about her husband, Dr James Lockhart, a man whose single-minded ambition has strange parallels with Jamie’s.Just as Stella begins developing feelings for Jamie, she discovers that the connection between the Lockharts and the Munros could have sinister repercussions for them both. She’s finally found the life she wants to live—but is it all an illusion?

The Narrowboat Girl


Annie Murray - 2001
    But worse is to come when her mother, Flo, sees an opportunity to better herself and her family in a marriage to the local undertaker, Norman Griffin. Though on the surface a caring family man, Norman is not at all what he seems, as Maryann and her sister Sal soon discover.Unable to turn to their unsympathetic mother for support, the girls are left alone with their harrowing secret. But for Sal it is too much to bear . . .The chance of a new life opens up for Maryann when she befriends Joel Bartholomew. Aboard his narrowboat, the Esther Jane, she finds herself falling in love with life on the canal as she is swept away from Birmingham and all her worries. Until Joel's feelings for Maryann begin to change, awakening all the old nightmares that she had thought were long buried, and in panic and confusion she takes flight . . .

Queen of the Mersey


Maureen Lee - 2004
    The Second World War is about to start when pretty Laura Oliver meets Queenie Todd. Laura is twenty-one and happily married. At fourteen, Queenie lacks Laura's confidence and has been deserted by her good-time mother. The two become friends, but when the air raids begin Queenie is trusted to look after two young children, and the three of them are evacuated to a small town on the coast of Wales. At first, it is a haven of peace and quiet. The girls have a wonderful time - and then something happens, so terrifying that it will haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Eugenie's Story, Swallowcliffe Hall


Jennie Walters - 2012
    Lord Vye's daughter might be thought to want for nothing, but life isn't easy on fifty guineas a year, with a jealous stepmother watching one's every move. Eugenie's passionate nature and unerring ability to get hold of the wrong end of the stick land her in trouble as she follows her heart: from elegant Swallowcliffe to the streets of fashionable London, by way of rural Ireland, glamorous belle époque Paris and an idyllic artists' retreat at Giverny. She hurtles from one near-disaster to another, rescued only by a sense of humour, unquenchable optimism and her dear American friend Julia - until finally discovering love was right under her nose all along.

Beyond the Veil of Tears


Rita Bradshaw - 2014
    Oswald proves to be more sadistic and violent than she could ever have imagined. On learning she is expecting a child, Angeline makes plans to run away and take her chances fending for herself and her baby. But then tragedy takes over . . .

Friends Forever


Lyn Andrews - 2006
    A must-read for fans of Kitty Neale and Ellie Deane.In 1928 Bernie O'Sullivan and Molly Keegan catch their first glimpse of the bustling city they're about to call home. Both seventeen, and best friends since childhood, the girls have left Ireland behind for an exciting new life in Liverpool.They are dismayed to discover that the relatives they are to stay with have barely two pennies to rub together; the promised grand house is a run-down building in one of Liverpool's worst slum areas. Desperate to escape, Bernie secures a position as a domestic servant, while Molly is taken on as a shop assistant.Soon they have settled and find themselves in love with local men. For both, though, love holds surprises and the danger of ruin in an unforgiving world...