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Meg Hutchinson left school at fifteen and didnâ€™t return to education until she was thirty-three, when she entered Teacher Training College and studied for her degree in the evenings. Telling stories and writing compositions has been part of Megâ€™s life since a child and she now indulges this passion in a little cottage in Shropshire.
Photograph Â© David Rudkin
Catherine Cookson once reigned supreme within this area, now there are two or three ladies after her crown. This is one of them. She is wonderful.Comparison: Lyn Andrews, Ruth Harrison, Josephine Cox.Similar this month: Ruth Hamilton, Katie Flynn.
Laura Cadman had always assumed she would marry Edmund Shaw, the son of her father's partner, and keep the Shaw and Cadman name. But Edmund's violent refusal is just the beginning. When Jabez Shaw dies, Edmund takes advantage of Laura's father and cheats him out of the engineering works. Not content with that, he manufactures an accusation that lands Mr Cadman in Winson Green Prison. Penniless, her pride hurt and her heart broken, Laura vows to repay every pound that Edmund claims he is owed. Rafe Travers is often at hand when Laura is in trouble, but Edmund's cruel words blind her to Rafe's love. Only when he saves her from Edmund's final wickedness can she believe he loves her, and embrace happiness at last.
Emma Lawrence endures harsh treatment at the hands of her aunt and uncle, the Gilmores, for the sake of her sister, Rachel. But after Rachel is brutally raped and strangled, Emma must escape to save her own life. She befriends Timothy and Lily Elsmore, two resourceful orphans who quickly become as close as family. But she will never be safe while her evil uncle, Fenton Gilmore, remains intent on his plan to own a brothel, with Rachel vital to his ambitions. Can Rachel battle hardship and tragedy to get her hard-won happily ever after? Or will her uncle succeed in depriving Emma of more than just her inheritance...
Saran Chandler is a locksmith's daughter but following her father's death, her happy family is torn apart and she is left to fend for herself. Luke Hipton is a workhouse orphan with a murky past who is wise beyond his years and becomes her loyal friend and companion. After the death of her father, Saran Chandler stands helplessly by as her mother and sister are sold by the vile Enoch Jacobs. But when Enoch drowns, Saran swears that she will not rest until she has secured her family's release. Penniless and alone, she barely knows where to start until she teams up with workhouse orphan Luke. Together they try to survive in the harsh environment of the industrial Midlands but before long they make both dangerous enemies who prey upon the vulnerable. Will they ever find Saran's family and their happily ever after?
Isabel Kenton is left to run the family business when her father dies on the eve of the Great War and her twin brother enlists in the Flying Corps. A clairvoyant tells Isabel that 'yours will be a different war' and so it proves to be as she faces hostility from the male-dominated steel industry, making both fearsome enemies and loyal friends. Owen Farr is the charming solicitor who befriends Isabel, but is he all that he seems? Hewett Calcott is an industrialist from a neighbouring town. He helps Isabel when others turn against her, but he also has his secrets. James Hawley is the handsome foundry worker injured in battle, who becomes a loyal friend. World War I devastates lives, but it also empowers women more than ever, but not everyone is happy about this. Isabel faces danger and adversity from all sides so can she prevails and solve the mystery of her origins...
Lizzie Burton is an orphan of mysterious origins. She has been a housemaid at Portland House for as long as she can remember. Deborah Hammond is also an orphan from the workhouse and, like Lizzie, has been in service since childhood. All the girls have is each other so when Lizzie gets pregnant and is dismissed, Deborah goes with her. Sadie Trent is the kindly seamstress who takes them in and finds them work with the exclusive dressmaker she works for. However there is more to the dressmaker's business than meets the eye and as the tragedy of Lizzie's life unfolds Deborah finds herself drawn into a dangerous underworld. Can there ever be a happy ending for a child of sin?
Rachel Cade is a miner's daughter on the run from a crime she did not commit. Jared Lytton is the hot tempered but well-meaning mine owner who cannot stop thinking about her. Stunned by her stepmother's accusation that she killed her beloved little brother, Rachel is even more shocked to be sent to the workhouse to await trial. There, Rachel is in despair, but just as she is about to give up hope, Jared steps in to rescue her. Running from her past, Rachel tries to move on, but her enemies have a habit of catching up with her. Fighting just to stay alive, with every meal hard earned, she is caught in a promise her pride will not allow her to renege on. Will she ever find peace, happiness and a love of her own?
Miriam Bryce has never known her mother's love. And when she finds herself pregnant and deserted by her lover Saul, her mother is quick to throw her out of her home. Injured in an accident she is saved by a rich businessman who takes her into service. But life has more dark moments in store for Miriam, and the one person she can trust and rely on, is the one person she's forbidden from falling in love with. Leah Bryce is the mother whose bitterness and cruelty blights the lives of her children. Ralph Bryce is a miner and Miriam's elder brother who has always been there for her. Saul Marsh is a ladies man whose cruel love threatens to destroy Miriam. Once Miriam's baby loses its life, a chain of events is set in motion, secrets are revealed and the past must finally be laid to rest.
Philip Bartley stops to pick up a hitch-hiker one rainy night, hoping for sexual favours in return. But when the car crashes into a hedge, the slender, blonde figure with the seductive tongue is nowhere to be seen . . .Reverend Peter Darley has a mortal sin on his conscience, and as he struggles with his faith, he finds that even the church cannot provide sanctuary from his impure thoughts . . .A whiff of perfume, a pair of hyacinth blue eyes are oddly familiar to James Connor. Will they cause the Deputy Police Commissioner to lose his head?That is just the beginning. There are three men with one woman in common. Now that woman, Anna, is dead. Her lover Richard Torrey is determined to get at the bottom of her brutal murder and bring her killers to justice. But his investigations, helped by journalist Kate Mallory and Inspector Bruce Daniels, are hampered by a series of inexplicable events.
He claimed to be a man of God. But he did the devil's work. Thomas Thorpe hides his carnal desires under the mask of a pious lay preacher. When Ann Spencer rejects his advances, he evicts her from her home, claiming she is living in sin with a young man not her blood relative. But Alec is a ward, not a lover. And Ann has made a promise to her dead father that she will protect the Russian boy with her life. Taken in by kind-hearted Leah Marshall, Ann and Alec repay her by working in the dairy. The two young people become substitutes for the children Leah has lost. But Thomas Thorpe will not leave them in peace. Playing on the paranoia engendered by the Great War, he sows seeds of doubt among the good people of Wednesbury about the foreigner in their midst. Once Ann becomes an outcast, he will be able to claim her unwilling body for his evil purposes.
Emma Lawrence has reason to fear the base cruelty of the man she must call uncle. She and her sister Rachel were taken into the Gilmore household on the death of their parents and have known nothing but unkindness at the hands of Fenton and his wife. When Rachel is brutally killed, and Emma must dry her tears and flee if she is to escape the same fate. Emma falls in with two other orphans, and Timothy and Lily become as dear to her as her own departed sister. But Fenton Gilmore does not give up so easily. Getting Emma back is central to his evil plans - and he will stop at nothing to make them happen. Can Emma escape the life her uncle has planned for her and find happiness at last? ********* Praise for Meg Hutchinson: 'The mistress of simmering sagas' - Peterborough Evening Telegraph 'Hutchinson knows how to spin a good yarn. One for those cold nights curled up in front of the fire' - Birmingham Evening Mail 'Meg Hutchinson was the undisputed queen of the clogs and shawls saga' - Tarura Library
'You be a cheat and a liar Katy Hawley, no wonder your folks d'aint want you! Well we don't want you neither, do we girls?' It was only a playground spat but the cruel words burned like acid into Katrin Hawley's brain. Revenge is a dish best eaten cold and Katrin waited until she could hit her persecutors where it hurt. However, in her pursuit of vengeance, Katrin takes a fatal step too far. Meg Hutchinson's new novel chronicles the ruthlessly destructive quest of one damaged woman at a time when the onslaught of German bombs was daily robbing families of their loved ones. Just as the stalwart men and women of the Black Country were pulling together for victory, one obsessive woman sought only to satisfy her own malignant, vindictive craving for retribution.
When her selfish, flighty sister leaves home to become the wife of a wealthy sugar plantation owner, Alyssa becomes solely responsible for her poor, deranged mother as well as for Thea's bastard son. Viciously raped, then thrown out of the family home, the girl goes on the run, fleeing her cruel rapist. Alyssa's journey is a perilous one. It will take her far from the Black Country to the wild shores of the Caribbean and put her in the path of evil men determined to despoil the young girl. For the palm-fringed island of Jamaica is home to a pernicious trade: white slavery...
A feature on Old Wives' Tales is not exactly the assignment to make Kate Mallory's pulse race. She fancies herself an investigative journalist and crime reporter and has the stories under her belt to prove it. But her research throws up a vital clue to the series of arson attacks and gruesome murders that is baffling the Darlaston police force. Teaming up once more with Richard Torrey, the enigmatic man whose tough exterior conceals his intuitive psychic powers, Kate gets on the trail of a story too good to miss. But it will lead her into a deadly encounter with a ruthless woman, a coven of Satanists - and Evil incarnate.
Increasingly desperate poverty after her beloved father's suicide forces a crisis for Callista Stanford, for vicious rent collector Oswin Slade will accept only the girl's body in payment for the rent due. Repulsed by his advances, Callista postpones the evil day until it is too late. Homeless and destitute, Callista finds refuge with Abigail and Daniel Roberts, a kindly couple, potters by trade. Taught by her father to appreciate beauty, Callista proves to have a feeling for the clay and with Daniel's help comes to be mistress of the Leabrook Pottery. But there is no happy ending yet; an unseen enemy, a depraved woman, lurks in the shadows, intent on harm to the pauper's child.
Maura Deverell is a young Irish peasant girl whose mother is dying of consumption. Their cruel landlord threatens to throw them out of their cottage unless Maura agrees to marry his young son, Liam Riordan. But before Maura can decide, she is brutally raped by Liam's brother Padraig, who gloats that once she is under their roof, Maura will be at his mercy - his sexual slave. Weak though she is, Maura's mother does not let this vicious act go unavenged. She curses the Riordans and then, on her deathbed, makes Maura promise to leave Ireland for good. Maura ends up in Birmingham, after many narrow escapes from rape and death. Even when she makes staunch friends, and discovers a protector in the shape of Aiden Shanley, she longs to go home, stopped only by her promise to her mother. Eventually the wicked Riordans meet a well deserved sticky end and Maura is persuaded to return and marry Liam after all.
Young Philippa Cranley is living a lie. Her tyrannical father Archer forces her to masquerade as a man in order to comply with the terms of her maternal grandfather's Will, and enable him to inherit the glassworks. By threatening her fragile mother with imprisonment in a mental institution, he forces Philippa to become Philip, wearing men's clothes and unable to reveal her identity to anyone. To increase her humiliation, Archer Cranley forces 'Philip' to do a stint in the glassworks, which puts her in danger from her rough co-workers as well as from the machinery itself. There the girl is befriended by Joshua Fairley, whose pity is aroused by the gentle 'lad'. But soon Joshua finds his feelings for 'Philip' are more than just pity, and is tormented by the thought that he is being tempted into a homosexual relationship. Luckily, by the end of the novel Philippa is able to reveal the truth and marry Joshua.