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Mary Jane Staples was born and brought up in the Walworth area of South London. She now lives in Surrey and is the author of over thirty bestselling novels about cockney life, many of which feature the well-loved Adams family.
An impetuous decision to marry has left the young Lady Caroline widowed and with two estates in her name. She is now in a position to live her life to the full, socialising with London's finest aristocracy, but her unhappy experience has put her off marrying again. Her younger sister, Annabelle, on the other hand, is falling in love with a man who is notoriously unfaithful. But Annabelle refuses to believe it, so Caroline knows she must intervene before she sees her sister fall victim to the same miserable fate she experienced. And so she hires the charming Captain Burnside, a retired British Army officer, to distract her. An adventurer who is both charming and witty, he seems the perfect man to tear Annabelle away from her infatuation. But things don't go quite according to Caroline's plan.
The delicious cockney sagas featuring her much extended Adams family continue with shadows from the past causing trouble.Comparison: Lynda Page, Meg Hutchinson, Joan Jonker.Similar this month: Audrey Howard.
The continuing saga of the troubles and strife in 1950s Walworth of the Adams family and as ever it really hits the mark
Family saga at its best from a household name. Fashion retailer Boots Adams is celebrating his sixtieth birthday with a good old-fashioned cockney knees-up. The new generation however is growing up and further changes are on the way. A big clothing firm wants to take over Adams Fashions, and Boots and Sammy have difficult decisions to make. An engrossing and hugely popular series.
London, 1908. For years now, Maggie Wilson has had to bring up her four daughters alone with barely enough money to get by. Local Constable Harry Bradshaw looks out for them as best he can but there isn't much he can do for Maggie's small family. When the opportunity to take in a lodger arises, Maggie can't resist the extra income. But there's something strange about the man Maggie has let into her home... what if he's more trouble than he's worth? A moving family drama set against the backdrop of one of London's poorest areas. Perfect for fans of Maggie Ford, Kitty Neale and Katie Flynn.
As the 1950s progress, several unexpected happenings ruffle the usually calm atmosphere of Adams family life. Sammy and Boots are troubled by the first stirrings of industrial unrest, as the unions start to flex their muscles and old loyalties change, while an attractive new employee causes Sammy some troubles of a different kind. The older generation are more than a little surprised at what they see around them as society moves on and the lives of the youngsters are being taken over by rock 'n' roll. Young Emily, still only thirteen but old beyond her years, catches the eye of a teddy boy, while Linda is pursued by a smooth-talking young man. But good sense and good luck prevail, and the Adams family find the strength to cope with these challenging times.
Times move on for the Adams family in south London, and as business prospers, there are new worries to deal with. A young woman arrives who is intent on ruining Sammy Adams' 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, but he doesn't realize that his family are being observed. 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?
It's 1959, and Boots Adams and his wife Polly are at their favourite Camberwell pub when they witness with horror a sudden and vicious attack on the barman, Joe, by a knife-wielding thug. Is this a sign of the times?Is contempt for old traditions and enthusiasm for everything new and fashionable going to threaten the Adams family and their easy-going existence? While Gemma is courted by one of the young men who works for her father, her twin brother James finds himself affected by his girlfriend's intriguing family secrets.And just who is the mysterious new student from Finland who arrives at Gemma's college?
France, 1918. Sophia, the rebellious daughter of a distinguished German general, is on her way to the town of Douai to elope with the man of her dreams - a young army officer - against her parents' wishes. On her way, she witnesses a dramatic battle in the skies that leaves an English pilot without a plane and under the misapprehension that Sophia is on his side. She has no choice but to agree to assist him in his attempt to avoid capture, and he joins her in the family car she has stolen, trailed by both the German Army and a staff officer under strict instructions from Sophia's father to bring her home. With their pursuers hot on their heels, how will Sophia explain her behaviour, protecting a man she is supposed to hate? And after sharing so many adventures, will she be able to turn the flying officer in when the time comes?
Brussels, 1915 It is a frosty April evening in occupied Belgium when a beautiful young woman finds herself on the run from the enemy. Also being pursued is Ned Scott, a British army major who has been badly injured. The pair find themselves at a hospital run by the famous Edith Cavell, who agrees to treat the major while offering them both refuge and a false identity - she names the young girl Anna. However it seems no one is safe, and as details of Anna's true identity emerge, the enemy's net tightens. Meanwhile, the major is torn between his desire to stand by brave Edith and the knowledge that he must escape. Closely watched wherever they go, is there anyone these three people can trust? And will love have the power to overcome the horrors of war?
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.
It is 1918; the Kaiser's empire is about to fall and Captain Harry Phillips, a prisoner of war in a Romanian hospital, has had a very hard time of it. Then, out of the blue, comes an offer he can't refuse, a ticket home to his beloved England and to the arms of his much missed fiancee Elizabeth. But this ticket comes with a heavy price to pay; Harry must marry beautiful, headstrong Princess Irena of Moldova, who's only hope of survival is to leave the country and he must risk both their lives by escorting her back to England. As they set off on their long and treacherous journey with enemies at every turn, Harry begins to realise that Irena is not only dangerous but extremely precious cargo.Will he sacrifice everything for this wartime marriage?
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.
It is 1944, and the Adams family, along with the rest of the people of the United Kingdom, are beginning to weary of the seemingly never-ending war against Hitler's Germany. Bobby Somers and Helene, living dangerously in the French countryside with a group of Resistance fighters, find themselves in great peril. Boots returns from the war in Italy, to the delight of Polly and their two little rascals, twins James and Gemma - but he brings with him a German prisoner who has a horrifying story to tell of the concentration camps. And while Sammy and Susie Adams are keeping the family business going as best they can during the privations of wartime London, their son Daniel catches the eye of a lively young American girl who brings a welcome breath of fresh air to the Adams household, so many of whose younger members are doing their bit for the war in various far-flung places of the world. As plans for the long-awaited invasion of France get under way there is excitement and danger, but love continues to blossom in the most difficult of circumstances.
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.
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.
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...
Austria, 1938. Anne von Korvacs watches in horror as Hitler's tanks roll through the streets of Vienna, amid crowds of cheering supporters. Her embittered ex-husband, now a fervent member of the Nazi cause, is among the cavalcade - he is burning with hatred for Anne, seeing her as a symbol of the old Austrian empire he once served. A chance encounter with a British journalist leaves Anne with a secret that must be smuggled out of the country, and Anne knows that she must forsake her beloved Vienna and with her children flee to Britain. In a thrilling journey that will separate sisters and brothers, parents and children, Anne and her family escape to freedom, to dream of a reunion in far-away London. Mary Jane Staples introduces a cast of gloriously warm characters in this wartime romantic adventure.
When fiery Bridget Cummings advertised for a lodger, she did not expect a policeman to apply for the room. She wasn't fond of the coppers, believing them to be traitors to the poor of Whitechapel, but her younger brother and sister moved P.C.Fred Billings in the moment Bridget's back was turned, and she seemed to have little say in the matter. Still, she had to admit that she was glad of his company in the walk back from her late-night washing up job, particularly when a young girl was found in a nearby street with her throat cut. The discovery of the body of Maureen Flanagan, who was, the neighbours believed, a respectable woman, naturally stirred memories of Jack the Ripper. His horrific crimes had shocked the neighbourhood only twelve years before., but Chief Inspector Dobbs of the City of London Police believed, like most other police officers, that the Ripper was dead. But when a second body was discovered, and Bridget noticed a strange man following her, the neighbourhood was alert to the possibility that the terror had returned...
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.