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Churchill's People

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

In 1941, the United Kingdom was in desperate straits, standing alone with its troops against the colossal war machine of Nazi Germany. There was always Prime Minister Winston Churchill, however, who growled his defiance to Hitler and induced in his people a determination to endure.

The Adams family shared that determination and their own kind of optimism. Emma went happily into her marriage with Jonathan, while Boots's son Tim, in between his hazardous exploits as a Commando, helped his fiancee Felicity in her courageous fight against blindness, the result of a terrible injury in the bombing. Rosie Adams was due to marry Matthew Chapman from Dorset, but Chinese Lady was unsure about it. He seemed a fine enough man, but what with a lame leg that prevented him from doing his bit for his country, and the uncertainty of his garage business, she felt that he was hardly the ideal choice for such an eligible young woman as Rosie. As for Boots and his new wife Polly, they came up with some very unexpected news for the family...

Changing Times

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

It is 1953 - Coronation year - and like all of Cockney London the members of the Adams family are looking forward to the celebrations. Chinese Lady, now Lady Finch, worries that her friends will think she is too grand to mingle with them . But her husband has a more pressing worry - the sudden appearance of the lovely but mysterious Katje Galicia, who knows more than she should about his own chequered past.

Young Jimmy Adams, meanwhile, is enjoying working at the family clothing factory, where at the retirement party for two of the oldest employees, Bert and Gertie Roper, he meets their lively granddaughter Clare. Before long he has offered her a job on the switchboard, and has hopes of seeing her after working hours as well. And brave Felicity, blinded in the blitz, thinks she notices a glimmer of light appearing in her dark world - but dare not tell her husband, in case it is just her imagination...

With the young Queen now on the throne, times are changing for the Adams family.

Out Of The Shadows

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

Times move on for the Adams family in east London, and as business prospers, there are new worries to deal with. A young woman arrives who is intent on ruining Sammy Adam's winter fashion show, and Sammy must deal with her unwelcome attention. Boots has to find a solution when one of his female employees tells him about a sinister visitor, and he also does some match-making. But he doesn't realize that his family are being observed, as out of the shadows come dark and mysterious figures from the past who intrude on Boots, Polly and the twins, and his adopted daughter Rosie. Meanwhile Rosie has her hands full as her daughter Emily continues to rebel against everything around her.

How will the Adams family cope, as trouble seems to lurk around every corner?

Bright Day, Dark Night

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

It is summer, 1941, and the country is still at war. In the Devon village of Ashleigh, however, evacuees from the London blitz are living in an atmosphere of rural peacefulness, although Daisy Ricketts of Bermondsey isn't sure if she'll ever get on with carping Mrs Mumford, the subject of whispers because of her husband's mysterious disappearance.

David, the elder son of Tommy and Vi Adams, meets Kate Trimble, a cockney girl from Camberwell who has just arrived in Ashleigh with her aunt. Kate is imaginative and precocious, while David is happy-go-lucky , and as the war is directly affecting the lives of so many other members of the Adams family, Kate and David establish a friendship in the summer sunshine of Devon. But as their friendship develops some exciting undercurrents, an incident occurs which brings home to them the darker intrigues of wartime and provides a devastating shock to everyone.

Fire Over London

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

The war is only into its second year, but already it has claimed one victim from the Adams family. Emily, Boots's cherished wife, has died in an air-raid,and the whole family mourns her. But for Polly Simms the prospect of a new life dawns, while the members of the younger generation who are in uniform, and doing their bit for King and Country, have their own problems to contend with. Tim has been posted to Scotland, to train as a Commando, and has met the lovely young officer Felicity; Eloise, now a sergeant in the ATS, is enjoying her new job as driver to the formidable Major Lucas. And has Rosie, now commissioned, lost her heart at last?

The Blitz all but destroys the factory in Shoreditch, but Sammy and Tommy Adams manage to find some alternative accommodation. And love is in the air - for young and old alike - as the Adams family refuse to let Hitler get the better of them.

Appointment At The Palace

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

Excitement is running high in the Adams family. Mr Finch, after a long career in secret government work, is to be knighted - which means that Chinese Lady will become a real 'Lady'! What with having to find a new outfit suitable for the occasion, and worrying about whether she'll have to curtsey to the King, the redoubtable matriarch of the Adams family scarcely knows if she's coming or going.

Her grandson Paul, meanwhile, working for the Young Socialists, is worried at what his fiery colleague Lucy will say if she learns that he has titled connections. And Sammy, trying to rebuild his clothing business after the War, is horrified at the growing fashion for denim jeans, which even the young ladies of the family seem to be wearing. Should he forsake his beliefs that girls should dress like girls and start stocking these objectionable garments?

All differences are resolved, as the great day dawns when the Adams family goes to the Palace for their proudest moment.

King Of Camberwell

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

Sammy was the sharp one of the Adams family.Since he was nine-years-old - when he'd charged his mother interest on a loan to make up the rent money - he'd been busy setting up deals and expanding the family business - a china stall in East Street market. But as his mighty empire grew - two shops and a factory in Shoreditch - so did the determination of his assistant, Susie Brown.

Susie adored Sammy - although she thought he needed a bit of work done on him, a few rough spots knocked off - and she had decided, quite early on, that Sammy was going to marry her.But Sammy, rapidly becoming the King of Camberwell, and dreading that marriage was going to cost him money, decided to put up a fight.It was a battle he hadn't a hope of winning - especially when all the rest of the Adams family were on Susie's side.

Here again are all the magnificent characters from Down Lambeth Way and Our Emily - Chinese Lady, keeping her family in order and contemplating matrimony for the second time.Emily and Boots, facing a serious rift in their marriage - a rift not helped by the hovering Polly Sims.Tommy, daring to woo Cousin Vi when he 'wasn't quite good enough for her', and Sammy, pulling his wonderful Walworth family into the good times at last.

Echoes Of Yesterday

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

It was June 1916 when Sergeant Boots Adams of the Royal West Kents, together with his men, was billeted on the Descartes farm in Northern France. It was a short break from the turmoil and horror of the trenches, and Boots and his men, in return for their free billeting, were to help the farmer in his fields. It came as something of a surprise to discover that the land was being managed by a young French war widow, Cecile Lacoste and, to the distant sound of guns, a brief wartime friendship flared between Boots and Cecile. The friendship was cut brutally short when, once more, the West Kents were called back to the trenches and Boots suffered an injury that was to take him home to London, to Sammy and Chinese Lady, and all the valiant cockney friends of Walworth who were to help him through the darkest period of his life. It was to be many years before Boots' friend, Miss Polly Simms, visiting the old battle haunts of France, stumbled once more upon the Descartes farm, and the memories of the past were rekindled.

Missing Person

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

The house in Caulfield Place, off Browning Street in Walworth, was haunted, or at least that's what the street kids said. So when two men, a woman, and a parrot moved in, everyone was very interested, especially fourteen-year-old Cassie Ford, who was particularly fascinated by the parrot. And it was just about this time that Mr Finch, Chinese Lady's husband, and Boots's stepfather, began to get mysterious telephone calls. Mr Finch had never told the rest of the Adams family - except for Boots - the secrets of his past, or what kind of work he did for the government, and he decided not to tell them about the slightly sinister telephone calls either. It was when he took Chinese Lady on a summer's day jaunt in his Morris motorcar that things began to happen. For, in the Hog's Back Hotel, Chinese Lady went to the cloakroom, and when she came back Mr Finch had vanished. It took all of Boots's ingenuity to discover what had happened, and Cassie's knowledge of the Caulfield Place parrot was to prove a vital clue in unravelling the mystery.

Spreading Wings

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

Sammy Adams is always on the look-out for a new business opportunity. When he hears from his son David about the new-fangled supermarkets that are becoming all the rage in America, he immediately starts looking for a suitable site in South London.

Meanwhile, legacies of the last war continue to haunt the Adams family. The mystery of Katje Galicia, the Polish woman who knows something of Sir Edwin Finch's past, becomes a major police enquiry while a beautiful German girl appears, bringing wartime memories back to Tim Adams and his wife Felicity.

Tim and Felicity have much to rejoice over, while the younger members of the Adams family are starting to spread their wings.

Down Lambeth Way

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

The Adams family of Walworth were poor, cheerful, and above all respectable - even though they sometimes had to seek a little help from the pawnbroker. Mrs Adams - affectionately called Chinese Lady by her children - was a widow, her soldier husband having gone, rather carelessly, to a hero's death on the Northwest Frontier. There was Boots, the bright one, and Tommy, the quiet one, and Sammy, the nine-year-old wheeler-dealer of the family. There was Mr Finch, the lodger, and dreadful Em'ly next door, and genteel Miss Chivers with the terrible old mother, but above all there was Lizzy. Lizzy was one of the prettiest girls in Walworth. She was young, and always sounded her aitches, and she cared terribly about being clean and neat and...proper. Lizzy was a peach of a girl. When Lizzy fell in love it was 1914. Everyone was going to be affected, things were going to change. But whatever happened, the Adams family - gutsy, tough and cheeky - would come through.

The Homecoming

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

It is 1946, and with the war at last at an end, members of the Adams family who had been serving with the forces begin to come home. Boots is reunited with Polly and their twins, his son Tim returns to the welcoming arms of Felicity, and with so many others coming back, Chinese Lady finds herself once more the watchful matriarch of the family. But grandson Daniel is still serving in an army unit out in Palestine, where he is caught up in life-threatening circumstances, and his American fiancee, Patsy, counts the days until his return.

Boots, Polly and Mr Finch attend the Nuremberg trials, where they discover the full horrors of the Third Reich and witness Germany's major war criminals being brought to justice. And while the new Labour government struggles with the problems of a country drained by the war, Sammy pursues his business interests with post-war energy and unfailing optimism.

Sons And Daughters

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

By the year 1949, life in Walworth has almost returned to normal. Sammy and Boots, now in a highly successful partnership, are rebuilding the old family firm. But an old enemy resurfaces - Mr Ben Ford, better known as the Fat Man, who seems determined to ruin the various branches of this growing business. It takes all the well-known Adams ingenuity and determination to outwit the thugs in the Fat Man's pay.

Meanwhile, an attractive blonde woman shopping in the market has caught Boots's eye. But Polly does not need to feel apprehensive - the sight of this woman has stirred the worst of memories for Boots, from the darkest days of the war. And on a happier note, there is some surprising news for Chinese Lady - news which will affect the whole of the Adams family.

The Last Summer

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

Job and Jemima Hardy weren't Londoners by birth. They had both lived in a Sussex village until lack of work had sent Job and the family to Walworth - to a house in Stead Street. They got it cheap because of the poltergiest but they were sensible folk and decided that eight shillings a week rent was a bargain and - well - if the floors and doors sometimes moved a bit, they could live with it. They settled quickly into London life - particularly Jonathan, the eldest. Jonathan got a job at Camberwell Green and it was there, in Lyons teashop, that he met Emma Somers, niece of Boots Adams. Over a long and hazy summer - the summer of 1939 - the two young people met, always at lunchtime, and never allowing their friendship to progress too far.

Then, as the clouds of war gathered over Europe, Jonathan got his call-up papers. And the first alarms of conflict began to affect the Adams family in other ways. Boots, on the Officer's Reserve list, was called onto the staff of General Sir Henry Sims, and Polly Sims herself joined the Auxiliaries. Suddenly there was only a little time left for people to lead ordinary lives - and Jonathan Hardy and Emma Somers had to make decisions about their future.

Year Of Victory

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

The seemingly endless war was at last coming to a conclusion. But for the country and for the Adams family, there were still many tribulations to be overcome. Flying bombs - the deadly V1 buzzbombs - appeared over London, causing dreadful destruction, and the struggle continued to overcome the most powerful war machine the world had ever known.

But amongst the Cockney community there were lighter moments, too. For Felicity, Eloise and Lizzy Somers there was the happiness of knowing that their menfolk were safe and well. Daniel Adams and his American girlfriend even had a brief meeting with Winston Churchill himself. And as the Third Reich began to show signs of collapse, the scent of victory was in the air.

The Family At War

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

It was 1940, and many of the younger members of the Adams family were caught up in the war in France. Boots, now a Major and on the staff of General Sir Henry Simms, was one of the thousands of British troops trying to escape in the armada of little boats from Dunkirk. His son Tim and nephew Bobby were also struggling to reach the coast and safety, while Eloise was with the ATS awaiting the homecoming soldiers at Portsmouth with a comforting cup of tea and a ticket home. Boots and Tim both made it safely back, but of Bobby there was no sign, and the family all feared the worst.

In a farm some miles from Dunkirk, however, Bobby was alive but injured, and trapped by the advancing Germans. The farmer and his wife offered him refuge but Helene, the farmer's independent-minded daughter, was scathing about the retreating British army and gave the brave, joking young sergeant a hard time. Working in the fields, dodging the German soldiers, Bobby was desperately looking for a way to escape and Helene, despite her hostility, found herself increasingly anxious to help the Englishman to get back home. Their adventures were to thrill the Adams family when they came to hear about it.

The Camberwell Raid

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

There was a double wedding planned in Walworth. Sally Brown was marrying Horace Cooper, and her brother, Freddy, was at last getting hitched to his childhood sweetheart, Cassie Ford. But the wedding wasn't the only thing being planned, for Ginger Carstairs and Dusty Miller were working out a bank robbery and, unbeknown to the inhabitants of Walworth and Denmark Hill, both Freddy Brown and the Adams family were to be deeply involved and put in considerable danger.

It took much ingenuity on Boots's part to come up with a scheme that would foil the plans of the raiders. And all this was happening at a time when Boots had other worries in his life, and when the unity of his own little family was being threatened.

The Soldier's Girl

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

Young Maisie Gibbs is a conscientious young woman, though life is harder since both her parents passed away. She is relieved when she finds a position as a housemaid in Kensington, under the watchful eyes of the formidable housekeeper, Mrs Carpenter, and she quickly settles in.
When she meets a handsome young soldier, she is tempted to give him his marching orders. But gradually Corporal Daniel Adams starts to win her over.
When tragedy strikes the Fairfax household, Maisie is lucky she has Daniel to rely on - a good sign of things to come?
A delight for fans of the Adams family - the heartwarming story of Daniel and Chinese Lady.

On Mother Brown's Doorstep

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

The big event of the Walworth year was to be the wedding of Sammy Adams, King of Camberwell, to Miss Susie Brown. Everyone was looking forward to it, and Susie was particularly overjoyed when her soldier brother suddenly turned up on leave from service in India in time for the approaching 'knees-up'. The reason for Will's extended leave wasn't so good, for bad health had struck him and he didn't know how long the army would keep him, or how he could find a civvy job in the slump of the 20s. When he - literally - picked Annie Ford up off the pavement in King and Queen Street, his worries were compounded, for Annie was a bright, brave, personable young woman and Will knew that if he wasn't careful he'd find himself falling in love. And over Walworth hung a greater anxiety - the mystery of three young girls missing from their homes - a mystery that was to draw closer and closer to the Adams and Brown families, and finally culminate - along with Will's personal problems - on the night of the wedding.

Pride Of Walworth

Mary Jane Staples (Author)

There was a new family in Browning Street, Walworth - the Harrisons. Respectable and well-behaved, the only thing unusual about them was that Mr Harrison was never there. He was a sailor, said Ma Harrison, away fighting pirates in the China Seas. Actually, 'Knocker' Harrison was in Marsham Gaol - he had unfortunately burgled a lady's suite when she happened to be there. Pa wasn't really a very good burglar. When young Nick Harrison, eldest son and heir of Ma and Knocker, met Annabelle Somers he found himself in a very difficult situation. For seventeen-year-old Annabelle was a peach of a girl, was related to the highly respectable Adams family, and was really quite keen on Nick, very interested in him and in his family. What with keeping Annabelle at arm's length in case she found out about Pa, and with the problems of running the Browning Street Rovers football team (the ball was owned by Chrissie Evans who laid down her own rules about the team) Nick sometimes wondered if his life would ever be sorted out.

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