Books

A Mother's Choice

Val Wood

For ten years, Delia has had to fend for herself and her son Jack, and as a young unmarried mother, life has never been easy. Every new coat and pair of shoes was bought with what little money she could scrape together as a singer on the stage.

But when the theatre work dries up, Delia faces a dilemma: continue the search for employment with no knowing whether she’ll find the stability and security her son needs, or return to the place that should be home . . . where only spite and hatred await them.

Desperate now, a chance encounter suddenly presents a lifeline. But Delia is faced with an impossible, heart-wrenching choice. Can she bear to leave Jack behind, hoping another family will care for him? Will they ever be reunited?

What else can a mother do to give her son the life he deserves?

Val Wood's wonderful historical sagas are perfect for readers of Dilly Court, Maggie Hope and Rosie Goodwin.

Fallen Angels

Val Wood

After her devious husband Billy tries to sell her at a wife sale, Lily Fowler finds herself alone, frightened and heavily pregnant on the streets of Hull.

Running out of options when even the workhouse turns her away, Lily is forced to swallow what little pride she has left and accept work in a once-grand mansion in Leadenhall Square – now a brothel.

Unexpectedly, she soon forges a strong bond with the group of people she finds there, all good-hearted women who have simply fallen on hard times. Seeing potential where others see only destitution, Lily and her ‘fallen angels’ join forces to outwit the low-life brothel-keeper.

In working to transform the house in Leadenhall Square into something more respectable, doors to new opportunities are opened and lost loves are rekindled.

Can the happy endings the fallen angels never dared to dream of finally come true?


If you've liked books by Katie Flynn and Dilly Court, you'll love Val's heartwarming stories of triumph over adversity.

Far From Home

Val Wood

When Georgiana Gregory and her maid, Kitty, make the long sea journey from their native Hull for New York, they hope to begin a new life in the freedom of the newly-formed United States of America.

Georgiana wants to escape from the confines of English life, and to savour a land of emancipation and opportunity. But in New York, she encounters a man passing himself off as a local mill-owner's son, Edward, who has abandoned Georgiana's sister and fled to America. Georgiana recognises the man standing before her as Edward's valet Robert - Edward himself appears to have vanished.

As Georgiana and Kitty pursue the adventures of the frontier, and Edward tries to flee his enemies, the dangers of this new country seem too much to cope with.

If you've liked books by Katie Flynn and Dilly Court, you'll love Val's heartwarming stories of triumph over adversity.

No Place for a Woman

Val Wood

When Lucy’s parents are killed in a train crash, her kindly uncle steps in to look after the little girl – to the initial apprehension of his wife and her son. However, Lucy’s sweet, spirited charm slowly wins over her new family, and as she overcomes the trauma of her childhood, she grows up inspired to become a doctor, just like her father.

But studying medicine in London takes Lucy far from her home in Hull and the people she loves, and she has to battle to be accepted in a man’s world.

With the dark clouds of the First World War gathering on the horizon, an even greater challenge approaches. Can a woman find her place on the front line of battle? Will Lucy be able to follow her dreams – and find love – in a world shattered by war?

The Kitchen Maid

Val Wood

Jenny is determined to make her own way in the world, and she secures a job as the kitchen maid in a grand house in Yorkshire. Gradually, she gains the attention of the young master of the house, and they fall in love.But their hopes and dreams turn to nightmares, culminating in a scandal that will force Jenny to leave behind everything she knows.

Cast aside by her own family, Jenny faces many difficulties until an usual promise changes the course of her life. Jenny the kitchen maid becomes the mistress of her own grand house. Although she tries to fit in with this new world, however, she never forgets the words that the gypsy told her: that one day she will return to where she was once happy - and discover her true love . . .

If you've liked books by Katie Flynn and Dilly Court, you'll love Val's heartwarming stories of triumph over adversity.

Little Girl Lost

Val Wood

Margriet grew up as a lonely child in the old town of Hull. Her adored father often travelled by sea to the Netherlands, leaving her with an unaffectionate mother and only her imagination of a little Dutch girl, Annelise, to keep her company. When devastation ravages her tiny family. Annelise becomes the comforting friend Margriet needs for a long time to come.

A few years later, Margriet is blossoming into a kind young lady. Keen to escape her mother and strike out on her own, she forms an unlikely friendship with some of the street children who roam the town.

As Margriet acts upon her inspiration to help them, will the troubles of her past break her spirit, or will she be able to overcome them?

If you've liked books by Katie Flynn and Dilly Court, you'll love Val's heart-rending stories of triumph over adversity.

Every Mother's Son

Val Wood

Harriet and Fletcher Tuke have worked hard to raise their children well. Daniel, the eldest son, has always accepted that his birth father died soon after he was born, and Fletcher has raised Daniel as his own.

But as Daniel comes of age and begins to fall in love with childhood friend Beatrice Hart, he can’t help but wonder about his heritage – his olive skin and dark eyes reminding him daily of the difference between him and his siblings, and between his and Beatrice’s families. Meanwhile, shocking truths about Fletcher’s own family line are suddenly brought to the surface, revealing a connection between the two families.

Daniel’s wish to learn about his bloodline takes him to Europe, where decisions about his future take shape. But will it be one he can share with Beatrice? And as Harriet hopefully awaits his return back home on the farm, she could never imagine that answers to questions about her own family are also just on the horizon.

If you enjoy books by Katie Flynn and Dilly Court, you'll love Val's heartwarming stories of triumph over adversity.

'Full of characters the reader will care about . . . a heart-warming story filled with compelling action' Rosie Goodwin

The Doorstep Girls

Val Wood

Can two friends find hope in hard times?

Ruby and Grace have grown up in the poorest slums of Hull. Friends since early childhood, they have supported each other in bad times and good. But their families are bound together by more than friendship, and secrets from the past threaten to make their lives even more difficult.

The local cotton mill has provided work for Ruby and Grace since they were nine years old, and now years later both girls find themselves the object of attention from the mill owner's sons. As times grow harder, and money ever scarcer, Grace becomes involved in campaigns against poverty and injustice, while Ruby is tempted into prostitution.

The two girls are searching for something that could take them far away . . . But what price will they pay to find it?

If you like books by Katie Flynn and Dilly Court, you'll love Val's heartwarming stories of triumph over adversity.

Children Of The Tide

Val Wood

It is the late 1850s and a tired woman holding a baby walks from Hull to one of the big houses in Anlaby – the home of the wealthy Rayners. She knocks at the door, and shoves the baby at young James Rayner. The father was ‘young Mr Rayner’, and the mother is dead. Then she vanishes.

The respectable shipping family of Hull are shattered. No one wants to take responsibility for the baby and it is about to be put into an orphanage when Sammi, James’s cousin, decides to take the baby back to her parents’ home on the Holderness coast. James is banished to London, and disaster begins to beset the three branches of the Rayners.

The third novel in The Hungry Tide sequence, this epic, many-faceted story of three related families tells the triumphs and tragedies of their lives, as the whaling industry of Hull begins to decline, and the farmlands and homes continue to slip into the sea.

If you enjoy books by Katie Flynn and Dilly Court, you'll love Val's heartwarming stories of triumph over adversity.

Annie

Val Wood

Can her courage lead her to a life of happiness?


Annie Swinburn is harbouring a terrible secret. She has killed a man. The man was evil in every possible way, but she knows that her only fate if she stays in the slums of Hull is a hanging.


And so she runs. As fast as she can, and as far as she can – up the river, along hidden paths of the Humber and into a new and familiar territory where she can start a new life.


There she meets Toby Linton – a man born into a good life but now estranged from his family. He and his brother Matt earn a dangerous living as smugglers, but Annie soon realises they have more in common than she thought. And this new way of life might just offer her the chance of love, in spite of all the tragedy that has gone before…


If you enjoy books by Katie Flynn and Dilly Court, you'll love Val's heartwarming stories of triumph over adversity.

His Brother's Wife

Val Wood

1860. Harriet Miles is trying to take care of her seriously ill mother, and just when she thinks things couldn’t get any worse she is fired from her job at the hostelry.

The last thing she expects after her mother dies is a marriage proposal from a man she barely knows, but her only alternative is the workhouse. And so begins her new life with Noah Tuke.

But instead of marital bliss, Harriet finds herself in the cramped farmhouse which Noah calls home, and in this overcrowded and angry household she meets with hostility and bitterness. The only person who offers her friendship is Noah’s brother, Fletcher.

Gradually she learns the true reasons behind Noah’s desire to marry her – and realises that the only person she finds real companionship with is the person she can’t possibly be with . . .

If you enjoy books by Katie Flynn and Dilly Court, you'll love Val's heartwarming stories of triumph over adversity.

The Hungry Tide

Val Wood

Sarah Foster’s parents have been fighting a constant battle with poverty, disease and crime. When her father, Will, is involved in a terrible accident at work, their lives became even harder.

But Will’s good deeds of the past pay off as John Rayner decides to rescue the Fosters. John provides them with work and a house on the estate owned by his wealthy family. It is at this new home on the crumbling coastline of Holderness that Sarah is born – and grows into a bright and beautiful girl, and a great source of strength to those around her.

As John grows closer to Sarah, he becomes increasingly aware of his love for her. But could these two very different people ever make their love story truly work?

If you enjoy books by Katie Flynn and Dilly Court, you'll love Val's heartwarming stories of triumph over adversity.

The Maid's Secret

Val Wood

An exclusive short story from the much-loved author Val Wood
The truth could change the lives of all those around her . . .
Ellen has worked as a servant girl since she was twelve – her mother had always taught her that she must earn her own keep until she finds someone to marry.
After a year of back-breaking work, a chance encounter leads her to a new position as kitchen maid at Hart Holme Manor – the grandest estate around for miles.
There, against the wishes of the household, she befriends the owners’ son, Christopher. If the true nature of their closeness were ever revealed it could not only jeopardise both Christopher and Ellen’s positions, but carry consequences that could affect the rest of their lives . . .
If you enjoy books by Katie Flynn and Dilly Court, you'll love Val's heartwarming stories of triumph over adversity.

The Innkeeper's Daughter

Val Wood

Holderness, 1846.

For reliable, thirteen-year-old Bella, life isn’t turning out quite as she’d hoped. She lives at the Woodman Inn – an ancient hostelry run by her family in the Yorkshire countryside – surrounded by two older brothers who never pull their weight and a flighty younger sister. When Bella learns not only that her father is seriously ill, but that her mother is expecting a fifth child, her dreams of leaving home to become a schoolteacher are quickly dashed.

Times are hard, and when their father dies Bella also has to take on the role of mother to her baby brother. Her days are brightened by the occasional visit from Jamie Lucan – the eighteen-year-old son of a wealthy landowner in a neighbouring coastal village. Also grieving the loss of a parent, Jamie has more in common with Bella than she thinks.

When her mother announces out of the blue that she wants to move the family to Hull, Bella is forced to leave the only home she has ever known. They arrive to find that the public house they are now committed to buying is run-down and dilapidated. Could things get any worse? Or could this move turn out to be a blessing in disguise for Bella?

The Harbour Girl

Val Wood

Scarborough, 1880
Jeannie spends her days watching the harbour girls and waiting for Ethan Wharton to come in on his father's fishing smack. Jeannie had always expected to marry the loyal and dependable Ethan. But then she meets Harry, a stranger who has come to visit from Hull for the day, and she falls for him.
When Jeannie finds herself pregnant and Harry breaks his promise to come back for her, she is left isolated. She and her child move to Hull where her life is touched by illness, tragedy and poverty. She longs for the simpler times of her past, and wonders if she will ever find someone who will truly love her - and if Ethan will ever forgive her . . .
If you enjoy books by Katie Flynn and Dilly Court, you'll love Val's heartwarming stories of triumph over adversity.

The Gypsy Girl

Val Wood

When Polly Anna's mother died when she was just three years old, it seemed the workhouse was the only place for her to go. But with the help of Jonty - a young misfit who soon became her best friend - she managed to escape, running away with the fairground folk. Her friends became the circus people, and her home the caravans and travellers' tents.

Meanwhile, in a great house in Yorkshire, old Mrs Winthrop has never given up hope of finding her daughter Madeleine, who eloped with a handsome gypsy and was never seen again. When her young neighbour sets out to find Madeleine, he discovers the colourful world of the fairs. And there, in the midst of it all, Polly Anna - once the waif from the workhouse, now a fully-fledged gypsy girl.

If you enjoy books by Katie Flynn and Dilly Court, you'll love Val's heartwarming stories of triumph over adversity.

Previously published as The Romany Girl.

Going Home

Val Wood

For Amelia and her brothers and sisters, the grim past which their mother Emily had endured seemed very far away. As pretty as a picture, and now learning to be a teacher in York, Amelia looked forward with pleasure to becoming acquainted with the young men clamouring to get to know her, and especially the two gentlemen who had come all the way from Australia to meet her family. Ralph Hawkins, bringing with him his friend Jack - a handsome half-aboriginal Australian who was determined to make a good living for himself - arrived in Hull looking for his roots. He found Amelia, whose tangled family history was inextricably bound up with his.

Ralph Hawkins's whole world had been turned upside down when he learned that he had been adopted by the couple he had always called his parents. In his quest to find his real mother, he uncovered some cruel and unpleasant truths, before at last realising where his true destiny lay.

The Songbird

Val Wood

The choice was hers - fame and fortune or true love.
Poppy Mazzini, born in Hull over her father's grocery shop, lives up to the promise of her fiery red hair and Italian ancestry. Her lovely singing voice and good looks lead her to her great ambition - to go on the stage and see her name top of the bill. She becomes a music hall star both in her native town and in the south, after an appearance in the theatre at Brighton - she even performs in Paris, to tremendous acclaim. But when her first love, an ambitious shoemaker in her home town, becomes engaged to someone else Poppy is devastated. She disappears, believing that she will never return to her life of stardom. But her fame cannot be kep a secret...

Homecoming Girls

Val Wood

Hull, 1874. The beautiful, mysterious Jewel Newmarch, adopted as a baby, turns heads wherever she goes - her exotic looks point to her origins far away from the streets of Hull. Even at her cousin Elizabeth's wedding, she is the belle of the ball. But as she looks on at the happy, newly-married couple she feels a restlessness and intense longing to know her own roots.

And so she decides to return to her birthplace in America, taking the bride's twin sister Clara as her companion. In discovering the mysteries of Jewel's past the girls realise that this is a life-changing voyage of discovery for both of them, as they learn important lessons about family, friendship, love and home. But most importantly, love...

If you enjoy books by Katie Flynn and Dilly Court, you'll love Val's heartwarming stories of triumph over adversity.

Emily

Val Wood

Emily was only five years old when she was sent away from her ma and pa and her brother Joe to go and live with old Granny Edwards. A loving and hard-working child, she goes into service when she is twelve at the house of Roger Francis, whose connections with Emily's own family prove to be closer than she could ever have guessed. Roger's daughter Deborah takes a great fancy to Emily, and when Emily has moved to another household in Hull she finds that her new employer's son Hugo is to marry Deborah. But Hugo, too, has taken a fancy to Emily, and dishonours and then betrays her to such an extent that she is imprisoned, tried and deported to Australia. But just when her fortunes seem to be at their lowest ebb, Emily is reunited with the one man who can save her from her miserable existence and bring her wealth and happiness.

Biography

Since winning the Catherine Cookson Prize for Fiction for her first novel, The Hungry Tide, Val Wood has become one of the most popular authors in the UK.

Born in the mining town of Castleford, Val came to East Yorkshire as a child and has lived in Hull and rural Holderness where many of her novels are set. She now lives in the market town of Beverley.

When she is not writing, Val is busy promoting libraries and supporting many charities. In 2017 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Hull for service and dedication to literature.

Find out more about Val Wood's novels by visiting her website: www.valeriewood.co.uk