When Eloise Cribb receives the news that her husband's ship has been lost at sea she wonders how she is ever going to manage. With two young children, the rent overdue and almost nothing to live on, she has no alternative but to turn to his estranged family for help.
She sets off on the long and arduous journey to Yorkshire, but is met with hostility and soon realises she has little choice but to return to London. Virtually destitute and desperate, Eloise is faced with her worst nightmare: she must either go to the workhouse, or abandon her children at the Foundling Hospital. But she is determined to keep them safe and under her protective wing at all costs...
A GRIPPING AND ULTIMATELY UPLIFTING SAGA SET IN TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY LONDON FROM A WONDERFUL TALENT ...
Born into poverty and living under the roof of her violent and abusive brother-in-law, young Kitty Cox dreams of working in a women's dress shop in the West End - a million miles away from the reality of her life as a mud-lark, scavenging on the banks of the Thames.
Fate soon intervenes and Kitty finds herself working as a skivvy for Sir Desmond and Lady Arabella Mableton in Mayfair. Bullied by the kitchen maids, Kitty is soon taken under Lady Arabella's wing and for the first time in her life Kitty dares to hope.
But Lady 'Bella' has a secret and unable to live with her domineering husband she decides to leave, fighting for custody of their daughter, Leonie. Kitty will do anything for her mistress but her loyalty is severely tested as all their lives are thrown into turmoil and Kitty faces a life of poverty and hardship in the slums of the East End once more ...
The Thames carried him away from her, but would it bring him home...?
Twelve-year-old Eliza Bragg has known little in life but the cold, comfortless banks of the Thames. Living above her uncle's chandlery she has grown accustomed to a life of penury and servitude, her only comfort the love and protection of her older brother, Bart.
But one day Bart accidentally kills a man and is forced to flee to New Zealand. Alone, barefoot, beaten down and at the mercy of her cruel uncle, Eliza realises that her very survival is at stake...
'I aint always going to be poor, I made me mind up to that.'
Dismissed from her position as housemaid under a cloud of misunderstanding, Tilly True is forced to return home. But Tilly is determined to make something of her life and, rather than admit the truth to her poverty-stricken family, she sets out once more in search of employment.
Her journey takes her to the London law courts, a grim parsonage in one of the most notorious parts of the East End and a house of ill-repute. But when she falls for the dangerous charms of Barnaby Palgrave, Tilly soon finds that her troubles have only just begun ...
The enthralling saga set in turn-of-the-twentieth-century London from the Sunday Times bestselling author.
Gifted with a beautiful soprano voice, young Clemency Skinner is forced to work as a pickpocket in order to support her crippled brother, Jack.
Their feckless mother, Edith, has fallen into the clutches of unscrupulous pimp, Todd Hardiman, whose evil presence threatens their daily existence.
Befriended by Ned Hawkes and his kindly mother, Nell, Clemency struggles to escape from life in the slums of Stew Lane. She finds work with a troupe of buskers run by larger than life Augustus Throop, and is spotted by the manager of the Strand Theatre.
Clemency looks set for operatic stardom, but a chance meeting with the mysterious Jared Stone brings danger and intrigue and threatens to change her life forevermore.
The heartwarming and nostalgic new novel from the Sunday Times Top Ten bestselling author of The Beggar Maid.
Motherless since she was five, Mirabel Cutler was raised by her father to be a lady. But when he dies suddenly, Mirabel finds herself cast out on the street by her ruthless stepmother.
She is taken to a place of refuge by charismatic sea captain, Jack Starke. But the safe haven turns out to be a house of ill-repute. Here she becomes a parlour maid and catches the eye of an elderly, retired army officer, Hubert Kettle.
Mirabel has fallen in love with Jack Starke but when she hears that his ship has foundered and all were lost, she has little choice but to accept Hubert’s offer of a home and marriage. Although desperately unhappy, Mirabel is determined to make the best of her life.
Until she receives unexpected news and her life is thrown into turmoil once more.
The wonderfully nostalgic and heartwarming new novel from the Sunday Times Top Ten bestselling author of The Beggar Maid.
Born out of wedlock when her mother was only fourteen, Lucy Pocket has spent all her life in the care of her disreputable but charming grandmother, Eva. They dodge from one poor lodging house to another, always in debt and resorting to theft in order to exist.
Until her wealthy paternal grandfather buys her from Eva, determined to bring Lucy up to be a lady. When her grandfather dies, his despicable nephew cheats Lucy out of her inheritance, except for a run-down lodging house in Whitechapel, where she is forced to look after his three illegitimate children.
Jilted by her would-be fiancé, Lucy is determined to make a life for herself and the children, and to search for her long lost grandmother, creating the family she has always longed for.
The wonderfully nostalgic, vivid and compelling new novel from the Sunday Times top five bestselling author of A Loving Family.
From the age of eight, sixteen-year-old Charity Crosse has been living rough with her grandfather and begging on the streets.
When he grandfather passes away, Charity is helped by a kindly doctor who introduces her to bookseller, Jethro Dawkins. Jethro takes Charity in to help in his bookshop and keep house in their one room behind the shop.
Charity sleeps under the counter and is not well treated, but Jethro instills in her the love of books that began when her grandmother taught her to read. And she starts to hope for a better future for herself.
But Jethro dies unexpectedly, and Charity is faced with eviction when the rent is raised by the unscrupulous landlord. Must Charity give up her dream of running the bookshop herself, and worse, be forced to return to the streets...?
She longed to be reunited with her family. The compelling new novel from the Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of The Workhouse Girl.
Eleven-year-old Stella Barry is forced into service when her family find themselves living hand-to-mouth.
Leaving her mother and younger brother and sister behind, Stella goes to a big country house outside London. When she returns home one Sunday, she discovers they have disappeared. Thrown out of their lodgings, no one knows where they have gone.
Seven years later it looks likely Stella will soon become Cook. But circumstances compel her to flee with no references and only a few personal possessions to her name.
She has never forgotten her loving family and is determined to find out what happened to them – once and for all.
Circumstances force eight-year-old Sarah and her widowed mother to enter the notorious St Giles and St George’s Workhouse.
When her mother dies in childbirth, the independent-minded Sarah falls foul of the workhouse master, Trigg and his cruel wife.
Sarah’s ordeal seems to be over when a sugar mill owner takes her into his home.
But her wealthy benefactor reports Trigg and his wife. And blaming Sarah for their misfortune, in a fit of revenge, the couple decide to take the law into their own hands.
Despite her privileged upbringing, Daisy Lennox has always longed to make something of her life.
She is drawn to the suffragette movement, but when her father faces ruin they are forced to move to the country and Daisy’s first duty is to her family.
Here she becomes engaged to her childhood friend – a union both families have dreamed of.
But, on the eve of their wedding, war is declared, and Daisy knows her life will never be the same again…
In the quiet of a warm summer's evening, two young mothers are forced to give up their babies. Whilst Kate grows up knowing only poverty and servitude, Josie's world is one of privilege and luxury.
Despite the differences in their circumstances, Kate and Josie have been friends since childhood. But their past binds them together in ways they must never know.
Until a chance meeting forces Kate and Josie to confront the truth of that night nearly twenty years before - a truth that turns both worlds upside down and threatens to destroy their friendship forever...
Phoebe Giamatti lives with her boisterous Italian family in the heart of London's East End. Phoebe's father was killed in gang warfare and she and her family share a deep hatred for the Paxman brothers - whose lawless ways strike terror into the whole community.
Despite her English mother's feckless ways, Phoebe is fiercely protective of Annie. Then just as the family are about to go to Italy for the winter, Phoebe discovers Annie is in trouble - and the Paxmans are involved. Phoebe is determined not to betray her mother's trust and, giving up her own chance of happiness, she stays behind to care for her. But when Phoebe and Annie are forced to leave London and Annie falls dangerously ill, Phoebe has little choice but to turn to the man she holds responsible for all her family's troubles...
Lily Larkin is the youngest of six and the least important member of her family. With their father dead and their mother a stranger to them, she must stay at home and keep house whilst her elder siblings go out to work. As she goes about her daily chores, her head is full of dreams. And she longs for the day she can have a life of her own.
When a fire threatens to destroy the nearby docks, Lily's act of kindness towards a handsome foreigner has disastrous consequences for the whole family. For shortly afterwards they are thrown out of their home and have no choice but to move into two mean rooms above the fire station where Lily's brothers work. Here the family struggles to make ends meet. But just when things might be looking up for them all, Lily makes a terrible error of judgement. In anger her eldest brother turns her from the door. Forced onto the streets, Lily wonders if she'll ever see her family again...
When seventeen-year-old Belinda Phillips falls in love with a handsome Anglo-Indian officer, she knows that he is a man she can never hope to marry. When he is reported missing, believed killed in action, Belinda discovers that she is pregnant. Facing disgrace and ruin, she has no option other than to accept an arranged marriage with a middle-aged widower, knowing she must keep the secret of her child's birth for ever.
Reluctantly she sends her beloved daughter to a foster mother in Cripplegate, little realising she has entrusted Cassy's care to Biddy Henchard, a woman who runs a notorious baby farm in an area full of poverty and disease. Despite her terrible upbringing, Cassy survives the old woman's cruel neglect. All the while she dreams of a mother she has never known, hoping she will come and save her from her dreadful fate. But when Biddy dies suddenly, ten-year-old Cassy finds herself destitute and with little hope of ever finding the mother she so longs for...
On a bitter winter's day, an unnamed girl lies dangerously ill in hospital. When two coarse, rough-speaking individuals come to claim her, she can remember nothing of the events that brought her to her present state, not even her name. According to the men, she is their young sister, Lucy. As her health improves and her memory gradually returns, she realises she's been kidnapped. But she has no means of escaping the hideous confines of the filthy basement room in which they have imprisoned her in.
They are hoping to claim her fortune as a ransom - for she is really Lucetta Froy, the daughter of a prosperous importer. Tragically her parents were drowned on the return voyage from Bali when their ship went down, but Lucetta survived as did the two villains. She is unable to prove her identity, especially when her uncle refuses to recognise her and claims her father's business for himself. But despite being virtually destitute, and her spirit almost broken, Lucetta is determined to reclaim what is rightfully hers...
Since the untimely death of her husband, young mother Effie Grey has been forced to live on a narrowboat owned by her tyrannical father-in-law Jacob. In spite of her own despair, she is determined to protect her brother Tom and her baby son Georgie from Jacob's bullying ways - for she is all they have in the world.
But when Jacob hires villainous Salter and his vile wife Sal to run the barge, Effie's life becomes even more unbearable, and Tom is sent packing without a penny to his name. Forced to live on deck with little to shelter her and Georgie from the elements, tormented by the Salters, Effie is driven to desperation. And stealing Jacob's hidden cache of money she escapes with her son. As she begins her frantic search for Tom, Effie vows that whatever happens she will make a home for little Georgie and keep him safe from harm.
Eighteen-year-old Irene Angel lives with her parents in a tiny room above the shop where her crippled mother ekes out a living selling pickles and sauces, whilst her charming but feckless father Billy gambles away what little money they do manage to earn. And it is all Irene can do to keep the family together.
Billy's addiction soon leads him into trouble. Despite having been brought up by her father to fear and distrust the police, Irene finds herself forced to collaborate with them to save her father from ruin. But Billy's errant ways finally catch up with him and he is imprisoned in Newgate jail. With her mother away from home, a desperate Irene has little choice but to seek help from Inspector Edward Kent - her sworn enemy. For only she can clear her father's name and unite the family once more ...
When Hetty Huggins made a promise to her dying mother that she would look after her younger sister and brothers, little did she know how difficult this would be. 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 ...
Despite living by the side of the Thames, with its noise, disease and dirt, eighteen-year-old Rosina May has wanted for little in life. Until her father's feud with a fellow bargeman threatens to destroy everything. To save them all, Rosina agrees to marry Harry, the son of a wealthy merchant. But a chance encounter with a handsome river pirate has turned her head and she longs to meet him again.
When her father dies a broken man, Harry goes back on his promise and turns Rosina out onto the streets. She is forced to work the river herself, ferrying rubbish out of London and living rough. In spite of her hardships, she cannot forget her pirate and when tragedy threatens to strike once more she is forced to make a choice. But is she really prepared to risk everything for love?
Dilly Court grew up in North-east London and began her career in television, writing scripts for commercials. She is married with two grown-up children and four grandchildren, and now lives in Dorset on the beautiful Jurassic Coast with her husband. She is the bestselling author of twenty-seven novels.