Series

Lesley Pearse's books

Georgia

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Is a golden voice enough to fulfill your deams?

When nine-year-old orphan Georgia James is unexpectedly fostered by the kindly Celia and her bank manager husband she can hardly believe her luck. But then - on her fifteenth birthday - she suffers the cruellest betrayal of all at the hands of her foster father and is forced to run away, leaving everything she loves behind her.

Penniless, sleeping rough, Georgia is soon introduced to the sleazy Soho world of brassy strippers, sweat shops, camaraderie and hardship. Fired by a fierce ambition, blessed with an extraordinary voice, her long struggle for fame and fortune begins. But even when she reaches the top she finds that the scars of the past can open up to ruin her...

Steeped in atmosphere and raw emotion, Georgia is the story of a determination to succeed against all the odds and of a burning first love.

 

Tara

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Can you ever be free from the past?

In the East End, twelve-year-old Tara witnesses her villain of a father almost kill her mother. She forges a determination then and there to change her life.

This is the story of three beautiful and talented women. Mabel, whose great love for a gambling man has brought her close to insanity; gentle Amy, who marries a man brutalised by war and failure; and Tara, who is hungry for success and life on her own terms.

To have both, she must battle against the legacy these two women have left her, the deep prejudices and dangers of Whitechapel in the 1960s - with its gang leaders, rogues, market traders and dolly birds - and the passionate love she has had since girlhood for the charming wideboy and villain, Harry Collins.

 

Camellia

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How far would you go to discover your true identity?

Camellia Norton is orphaned at fifteen when her mother's body is fished from a river in rural Sussex. And when she discovers a cache of letters amongst her mother's effects she realises that the past she has always been so sure of has been built on a tissue of lies.

Devastated, she runs away to London, and loses herself in a metropolis that offers opportunity, temptation and danger, especially to a young girl hungry for love and acceptance.

But her past won't stay buried forever, and eventually Camellia begins the long journey towards uncovering the truth about her background, and also, ultimately, about herself.

 

Ellie

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Would you do anything for your best friend?

Ellie is a sweet-natured brunette, generous of heart with a sparkling smile and an accent which reveals her East End background.

Bonny is beautiful and spoilt, with cascades of blonde hair, the brightest pair of blue eyes and a mouth like Cupid's bow.

The two girls meet in London at the end of the war when, seduced by two American airmen, they pool their wits and resources and set off to make a living on the stage. Set against the hardship and austerity of post-war Britain, and the glamour and ruthlessness of life in variety theatre, their story is one of sacrifice and burning ambition. But most of all of a powerful friendship that lasts against all odds.
 

Charity

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Where would you go if you had no one to turn to?

Charity Stratton's bleak childhood is changed for ever when both her parents are killed in a fire. Separated by the authorities from her younger brothers and sister, Charity is sent out to work as a skivvy in a boys' boarding school. Her loneliness and misery are eased when she falls deeply in love with the dashing but fickle sixth-former, Hugh Mainwaring, but when she discovers she is pregnant with Hugh's baby she soon realises just how alone she really is.

Determined to be reunited with her siblings and to make something of herself, Charity runs away to London and begins to forge a new life.
 

Trust Me

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Does family always come first?

Two young sisters sent far, far from home ...

When tragedy deprives little Dulcie Taylor and her sister May of their parents, they are sent first to an orphanage and then shipped off to begin a new life in Australia. But the 'better life' the sisters are promised in this new and exciting country turns out to be a lie.

It seems everyone who ever stood up for them, who ever said 'trust me', somehow betrays that trust: their parents, teachers and the sisters at the convent. But then Dulcie meets Ross, another orphanage survivor, and finds a kindred spirit. Can Dulcie ever get over the pain of the past and learn to trust again? And does she have the strength to fight for her own happiness as well as that of her sister?

 

Father Unknown

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Would you sacrifice your future for the sake of your past?

One young woman in search of a past - and a future ...

Sweet-natured but dappy Daisy Buchan drifts from job to job and takes her policeman boyfriend Joel for granted. She's happy, but she doesn't know what she wants from life.

But when her adoptive mother dies and leaves her twenty-five-year-old daughter a scrapbook of memories, Daisy finally discovers who she is and where she came from. Her real mother was a teenage farmer's daughter from Cornwall - and Daisy drops everything to go and find her. But in going in search of her past, is Daisy risking the future of her relationship not only with her adored dad but also with Joel? And will she be able to deal with the truth about her real parents and the real Daisy?
 

Charlie

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Could you find the strength to save your family?

Can young Charlie find the strength to save her family?

One glorious summer's day, sixteen-year-old Charlie Welsh has her privileged childhood brought to an abrupt and terrifying end when she witnesses her mother being brutally attacked in her own garden by two strangers.

With her father mysteriously away Charlie has to face up to sinister forces that seem intent on shattering her family and even her belief in her parents.

But she is not alone. Charlie meets kind, funny student Andrew, whose love helps her through the hard times and further unexpected tragedy. Together, can they unravel the mysteries of the past that haunt the Welsh family? And will facing up to those mysteries destroy their love for each other or make it stronger?

Never Look Back

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What would you give up for love?

From the slums of Victorian London to a New World ...

Matilda Jennings was a poor flower girl in Covent Garden until the day she saved the life of a minister's daughter called Tabitha. Drawn into the bosom of little Tabitha's family, she little realises it will soon mean uprooting her own life.

For Matilda leaves Victorian London's slums and heads first for the darkest corners of New York, then beyond into the plains of the Wild West and San Francisco's gold rush. With only her beauty, intelligence and the strong will she forged on London's streets to guide her, Matilda must create a new life for herself and Tabitha. Between the sweat and tears, heartbreak and passion, she encounters Captain James Russell, a man in whom she might find true love. A love that must withstand separation, war and the birth pangs of a new nation. But through it all, Matilda knows she must never look back ...
 

Till We Meet Again

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How far would you go to save a friend?

Susan Wright walked into a doctor's surgery and gunned down two members of staff in cold blood, then waited for the police to arrest her. Later that day a lawyer, Beth Powell, is assigned to defend her. Susan won't talk to anyone, even to Beth - until both women realise that twenty-nine years earlier they had been childhood friends.

Talking about their troubled families and those happy summers they spent together as children rekindles Susan and Beth's friendship. And as the evidence against Susan mounts up, both women share their traumatic secrets about what sent them down such different paths in life. Their friendship grows stronger, but for one of them, there can be no happy ending ...
 

Rosie

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Can good come from evil?

Will Rosie ever escape from her brutal brothers?

As a child Rosie Parker spent the war years battling her brutish half-brothers Seth and Norman on the farm under the less-than-watchful eye of her father Cole. But when housekeeper Heather Farley arrives, Rosie finds a mother - and a friend - to look after her.

Several years later, Thomas Farley comes to find his sister. Rosie can only tell him that she disappeared in mysterious circumstances, abandoning her small son Alan. Determined to get young Alan and Rosie out of the clutches of Cole and his sons, Thomas helps unearth a terrible truth about the family. A truth that forces Rosie away from the farm and out into a cruel world where she must somehow come to terms with her shocking past. Is it possible that the man who brought ruin on her family might also bring happiness to Rosie?
 

Remember Me

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How far must you go to find love?

The Queen of Storytellers is back - with a triumphant tale of one woman's struggle over adversity.

In 1786 a fisherman's daughter from Cornwall called Mary Broad was sentenced to be hung for theft. But her sentence was commuted, and she was transported to Australia, one of the first convicts to arrive there.

Secrets

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Can truth stay hidden for ever?

Set in the 1930's, the classic novel from bestselling author Lesley Pearse tells the story of one girl's struggle against cruelty and, her quest for love.

Twelve-year-old Adele Talbot's unhappy mother Rose succumbs to madness after a family tragedy and Adele is placed in a bleak children's home. But when her trust is betrayed she runs away - hoping to find her grandmother in Sussex.

By the time she does so, Adele is desperately ill and has to be nursed back to health among the beautiful Rye Marshes. And then she meets the wonderful Michael Bailey.

As friendship blossoms into love and they come of age together - Adele becoming a nurse and Michael joining the RAF - she believes she can put her troubled past behind her. But with the outbreak of war and the sudden appearance of Rose, bearing shocking family secrets, suddenly all of Adele's hopes appear impossibly fragile ...
 

A Lesser Evil

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Would you cross the street if wickedness lived there?

When Fifi moves to London with her bricklayer boyfriend Dan, her mother is outraged. Despite initial feelings of horror at her new surroundings, Fifi finds the freedom from her middle-class family background exhilarating.

Insatiably inquisitive, Fifi is fascinated by her new neighbours and wants to know what goes on behind all those shabby front doors. Why is Yvette, the French dressmaker, such a hermit? Why doesn't widower Frank join his daughter and grandchildren in Australia? And why doesn't the formidable and well-bred Miss Diamond move somewhere smarter?

But most of all she is ghoulishly fascinated by the Muckles who live opposite in terrible squalor. She listens to their violent quarrels, watches their ill-treated and wretchedly unhappy children, and is appalled by all she sees.
 

Hope

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Is her name her destiny?

Somerset, 1836, and baby Hope is cast out from a world of privilege as living proof of her mother's adultery ...

Smuggled away from the Harveys and Briargate House to a nearby village, Hope grows up in the arms of the warm and loving Renton family, unaware of her true identity. But fate has harsh plans for Hope and a chain of events sees her forced to lead a vagabond's existence until she finds the courage to fight back and prove herself a fearless and able nurse, a vocation that takes her to the horrific battlefields of the Crimea.

But the secrets of the past are not yet done with Hope Renton and she must return to England to face the legacy of her birth ...

Faith

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How far can you trust a friend?

1995, Scotland. The prison of Cornton Vale.

Laura Brannigan is in jail for murder. For two years she's been battling for justic - insisting that she didn't kill her best friend, Jackie. Yet with her spirits at their lowest ebb, she receives a letter that takes her back to a different time and memory of an old love ...

Twenty years ago was a heady time for Laura: she'd escaped an abusive home and together with new best friend Jackie she'd made a fresh start. The pair had sworn to be sisters for ever. And Stuart had come into their lives - giving Laura a brilliant summer of love.

So what went wrong in the intervening years? And why is Stuart writing to Laura now? Does he have faith in her innocence? And can he help free Laura from prison - and her past?
 

Gypsy

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Liverpool, 1893, and tragedy sends Beth Bolton on a journey far from home ...

Fifteen-year-old Beth's dreams are shattered when she, her brother Sam and baby sister Molly are orphaned. Sam believes that only in America can they make their fortunes so, reluctantly leaving Molly with adoptive parents, brother and sister embark on the greatest adventure of their lives.

Onboard the steamer to New York there are rogues aplenty. But Beth's talent with the fiddle earns her the nickname Gypsy - and the friendship of charismatic gambler Theo and sharp-witted Londoner, Jack. And after dodging trouble across America, finally the foursome head for the dangerous mountains of Canada and the Klondike river in search of gold.

How far must Beth go to find happiness? And will her travels lead this gypsy to a place she can call home?
 

Stolen

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Sussex, 2003

When a beautiful blonde girl is found half-drowned on a beach, she has no memory of who she is or what horrors have left her there.

But an article about her in a Brighton newspaper rings alarm bells for beautician Dale, who shows the police photographs of Lotte Wainright. The girls met working on a cruise ship and their friendship blossomed as they sailed the seas of South America, until Lotte fell under the sinister influence of an older American couple. To her regret, Dale hasn't seen Lotte since leaving the ship months earlier ... but the girl on the beach - although badly bruised - is indeed her much missed friend.

Their reunion only marks the beginning of a dangerous tidal wave of secrets, lies and nightmares. Where has Lotte been? Who is the man who seems to want to kill her? And what has become of the baby she's recently given birth to?

Dale and Lotte must dig deep and find the strength to hold on against the odds if they are to rebuild their friendship and survive Lotte's stolen - and deadly - past ...

Belle

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London 1910

Fifteen year-old Belle has lived in a brothel in Seven Dials all her life, with no understanding of what happens in the rooms upstairs. But her innocence is shattered when she witnesses the murder of one of the girls and, subsequently snatched from the streets by the killer, she is sold into prostitution in Paris.

No longer mistress of her own fate, Belle is blown across the globe to sensuous New Orleans where she comes of age and learns to enjoy life as a courtesan. Yet thoughts of home - and the knowledge her status as golden girl cannot last - compel her to break out of her gilded cage.

But Belle finds escaping tougher than she imagined, for her life is threatened by desperate men who crave her beauty and attention. Armed only with resourcefulness and spirit, she has a long and dangerous journey ahead of her.

Will courage be enough to sustain her? Can she make it back to her family and friends and find her chance at true happiness?

Number One bestseller Lesley Pearse has created in Belle a heroine for our times: a strong woman who stands up for right in a world turned bad.

The Promise

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London 1914

Belle Reilly finally has the life she's dreamed of thanks to a devoted husband in Jimmy and the hat shop she's wanted to own since she was a child. But as the storm clouds of World War One begin to gather, Belle's already turbulent life is to change in ways she never imagined possible.

When Jimmy enlists in the army and leaves for the battlefields of Ypres, her world is shattered and she realises she can no longer stand by and watch, she must volunteer to help the wounded. But her work as a Red Cross ambulance driver in France throws her into the path of Etienne, the enigmatic man who played a significant role in her childhood, and Belle finds herself torn agonisingly between forbidden passion and loyalty to a good man.

But the past returns to haunt her present in other - more unpleasant - ways and Belle's character is put to the test like never before. Can she survive this most brutal of wars with her spirit intact? And will destiny finally lead her to lasting happiness even while war rages all around?

Forgive Me

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Cheltenham, 1991

When Eva Patterson returns home from work one day, a devastating scene awaits her. Her mother, Flora, lies dead in the bath. Beside her is a note saying only: 'Forgive Me'.

Until then, Eva always believed her family's life would be comfortable and secure - but Flora's suicide changes everything. And when Eva discovers that in her will Flora left her an artist's studio in London, she realises how little she knows about her mother's past.

When Eva visits the now derelict studio, she is shocked to find out that her mother was once a successful artist back in the 1960s. A chance encounter leads her to Phil, who agrees to help her restore the studio, as well as offering her the advice and friendship Eva so badly needs.

In the studio attic she finds a collection of Flora's paintings and old diaries, which Eva believes were purposely left for her to find. Searching for answers, Eva encounters a psychic who mysteriously warns her to beware of a 'sleeping serpent', which she soon discovers refers to a shocking crime in Flora's past.

Will discovering the truth destroy Eva's belief in everything she holds dear? And will Phil stand by Eva even when her journey leads her and those she loves into certain danger?

Survivor

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Russell, 1938

It is 1938 and Mariette is a defiant, strong willed and selfish 17 yr old. The small, gossipy town of Russell, New Zealand isn’t nearly big enough for Mariette’s ambitions and her devoted parents, Belle and Etienne, fear for her reputation. With the world on the brink of war, a trip to Europe is risky but the alternatives seem worse and Mari sets sail to visit her Uncle Noah in London. Armed with the freedom she's longed for since childhood, Mari quickly falls for Morgan, the handsome steward on board ship. But once she reaches London, there are other temptations. Mari loves her new life - caught up in a whirl of dances and parties in the glittering West End. Finally, she is the mistress of her own future. But storm clouds are gathering, the war can no longer be ignored and London is hit terribly by the Blitz.

As London endures constant bombing, Mari's new life is cruelly blown apart. Forced from her loving new home, she ends up alone in the East End; worlds away from the London she knows. In the face of despair, Mari realises that the only way to survive the war is to fight, with all the strength, selflessness and compassion within her... only then she will find true happiness. A story of true bravery, fortitude and love, Survivor is another compelling novel from the nation’s best-loved storyteller.

Without a Trace

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Coronation Day, 1953

In a sleepy Somerset village, young shopkeeper Molly Heywood makes a terrible discovery: her friend Cassie has been murdered and Cassie’s six-year-old daughter Petal is missing. Weeks pass but the police make no progress, so Molly, against the advice of childhood friend and village policeman George, takes matters into her own hands. Clutching a letter sent to Cassie from London, she leaves in search of Petal. In the Blitz-scarred East End, Molly meets and befriends strangers from Cassie’s past, but the big city is a dangerous place for a country girl – especially one on the trail of a murderer. Sacrificing everything – home, happiness and a chance at love – to find Petal, is Molly now risking her life?

Dead to Me

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Spring 1935

When Ruby and Verity met as girls they came from different worlds. Verity was privately educated, living in a beautiful Hampstead home, while Ruby was being raised in extreme poverty. Nevertheless, they became firm friends.

However, fortunes are not set in stone and soon the girls find their situations reversed. As Ruby goes up in the world, Verity encounters more and more tragedy, but still the girls remain a large part of each other's lives. That is, until one day in 1938 when Ruby says the terrible words 'You're dead to me' and it looks like their friendship might be over for good...
 

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