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Emma Blair was born in Glasgow and now lives in Devon. She is the author of twenty-five bestselling novels including SCARLET RIBBONS and FLOWER OF SCOTLAND, both of which were shortlisted for the Romantic Novelist of the Year.
At sixteen our heroine is forced to move from her sheltered upbringing g in the glorious highlands of Scotland to life in the raw in the tenements of Glasgow. Quite a culture shock. She is a truly lovely author, real curl-up and sink-into stuff.Comparison: Ruth Hamilton, Susan Sallis, Charlotte Bingham.Similar this month: Josephine Cox, Santa Montefiore.
Their young carefree days are over, but they've shaped Crista and Maggs' lives... The Devonshire village of Ford is full of excitement and curiosity at the arrival of their new doctor, the dashing young Scotsman, Jamie Murray. Among the fluttering female hearts are sisters Maggs and Crista Fletcher. And though Maggs frequents the local pub, the Angel, in the hope of a chance meeting with the young doctor, it is Crista to whom Jamie has taken a shine. Not that Maggs is exactly drinking on her own. Her admirers include Dickie Trippett, her childhood sweetheart, now scarred for life in the First World War, and handsome, confident and rich Rupert Swain, son and heir to the local paper mill. For Maggs, there is no contest as to where her affections lie: Rupert wins hands down. Except that Rupert is a member of the most hated family in Ford: the Swains run the paper mill in the most ruthless and cruel fashion, paying the lowest rates in dangerous working conditions. And just as Maggs cannot reveal the object of her love, Rupert wouldn't dream of doing so either. As far as he's concerned, she is just another village girl to be loved and left.
When Pee Wee Poston and his wife Beulah are offered the chance to swap New York for London, they jump at the chance. Pee Wee, a highly talented saxophonist, has been asked to help launch a new jazz club in Soho. By accepting, the couple can be close to their son Julius, a high-flying diplomat at the American embassy. The Postons settle in Islington, only to find that some locals dislike having a black family in the area. But from their new neighbours - Albert and Jess Sykes, their daughter Ellie and son Paul - they receive the sort of warm welcome Londoners are known for. Before long, they are firm friends - a commodity which, with war looming, grows more precious by the day. As Hitler launches his bombing campaign on London, Pee Wee and his band play on, resolute in their defiance of the air raids. And then, in the middle of the tragedy and suffering, a moment of rare beauty blossoms. Julius plays one of his father's records, 'Moonlit Eyes', and asks Ellie to dance . . .
Emma Blair once again richly evokes the setting and characters of Scotland during the 30s. Continuing the story she began in Flower of Scotland, Emma invites the reader back into the lives of the Drummond family, who are still dealing with the aftermath of the First World War but now must also face up to the horrors of the Second. Andrew and Rose are running the distillery and have given a job to Jack's son, Tommy. Tommy hates the work and longs to be a pilot but Jack, horribly disfigured after the first war, forbids it. The onset of the new war sweeps aside any such decision . . . Andrew and Rose must cope with the loss of their baby; Andrew tries to manage as Rose's behaviour becomes increasingly bizarre but finds he must also face up to his own failing health . . . An enormously touching story and life, love and death. Praise for Emma Blair: 'An engaging novel and the characters are endearing - a good holiday read' Historical Novels Review 'All the tragedy and passion you could hope for . . . Brilliant' The Bookseller 'Romantic fiction pure and simple and the best sort - direct, warm and hugely readable. Women's fiction at an excellent level' Publishing News 'Emma Blair explores the complex and difficult nature of human emotions in this passionately written novel' Edinburgh Evening News 'Entertaining romantic fiction' Historical Novels Review '[Emma Blair] is well worth recommending' The Bookseller
When most of Maggie Jordan's family are killed in a freak flood in the small coastal village of Heymouth, she is forced to find work in one of Glasgow's carpet mills. She becomes engaged to Nevil Sanderson, who suddenly decides he must go to Spain and join the Republicans in their fight against Franco. Although she struggles on without him, Maggie eventually realises her place is by his side and journeys to Spain to join him. But the newly promoted Nevil has become distant and ruthless, and is fiercely jealous of her new friendship with American journalist Howard Taft. Years later, married and with an eight-year-old daughter, Maggie has returned to Glasgow. Astonished when Howard reappears, bringing light and laughter back into her life, she is forced to take decisions - decisions which threaten to destroy even the vibrant and courageous Maggie Jordan. Praise for Emma Blair: 'An engaging novel and the characters are endearing - a good holiday read' Historical Novels Review 'All the tragedy and passion you could hope for . . . Brilliant' The Bookseller 'Romantic fiction pure and simple and the best sort - direct, warm and hugely readable. Women's fiction at an excellent level' Publishing News 'Emma Blair explores the complex and difficult nature of human emotions in this passionately written novel' Edinburgh Evening News 'Entertaining romantic fiction' Historical Novels Review '[Emma Blair] is well worth recommending' The Bookseller
For sixteen-year-old Lizzie McDougall, life in the Glasgow tenements comes as a culture shock after her sheltered upbringing in the Highlands. But for her father, who has just lost his job in the tiny town of Tomintoul, Glasgow offers employment. Her new life enables Lizzie to work in a factory as a seamstress - and it opens her horizons to new friends as well. Especially the spirited Pearl, who introduces Lizzie to her boyfriend Willie, and her cousin, the handsome, happy-go-lucky Jack - a real bobby-dazzler . . . It's not just Lizzie who faces temptation in the big city. Her father Doogie, also working in a factory, is exposed to it in the shape of the buxom Daisy. He moved here for the sake of his family's future, but now he's in danger of throwing that future away. Praise for Emma Blair: 'An engaging novel and the characters are endearing - a good holiday read' Historical Novels Review 'All the tragedy and passion you could hope for . . . Brilliant' The Bookseller 'Romantic fiction pure and simple and the best sort - direct, warm and hugely readable. Women's fiction at an excellent level' Publishing News 'Emma Blair explores the complex and difficult nature of human emotions in this passionately written novel' Edinburgh Evening News 'Entertaining romantic fiction' Historical Novels Review '[Emma Blair] is well worth recommending' The Bookseller
A family's triumphs and tragedies, from life as privileged distillery owners to the horrors of the trenches in France. Charlotte becomes engaged to Lieutenant Geoffrey Armitage as the Great War breaks out,. The war takes its toll on all her fmaily, as the men become soldiers and the women nurses. Charlotte's brother Andrew is in Ireland and involved in the 1916 Easter uprising. When his girlfriend and her family are killed by an Irish militant, he kills the man and his family, as well as six others. As the war ends, they return to Scotland a different family and now must cope with the changes that have happened and those still to come . . .
From Glasgow on the brink of the Great War to the cut-throat world of London publishing - the spellbinding saga of three remarkable generations.Cathy: a Glasgow factory-girl who experiences love, its loss and a kind of victory in the space of two turbulent wartime years . . . Hannah: the daughter whose marriage enjoys the fruits of undreamt prosperity. But her love must learn to endure the turmoil of a very personal hurt . . . Robyn: the product of her generation. Modern, extrovert and vivacious, her heart is broken by the only man she'll ever love. Yet she finally comes to control her destiny - and that of the lover she never really lost...This is the unforgettable story of three women united in their love for books, for life, and for their men. A story which began with the little bookshop that Cathy fell in love with thirty years before. The Blackbird . . . Praise for Emma Blair:'An engaging novel and the characters are endearing - a good holiday read' Historical Novels Review'All the tragedy and passion you could hope for . . . Brilliant' The Bookseller'Romantic fiction pure and simple and the best sort - direct, warm and hugely readable. Women's fiction at an excellent level' Publishing News'Emma Blair explores the complex and difficult nature of human emotions in this passionately written novel' Edinburgh Evening News'Entertaining romantic fiction' Historical Novels Review'[Emma Blair] is well worth recommending' The Bookseller
Norma McKenzie's bubbly, irrepressible Glaswegian spirit ensured that she would never remain downtrodden. When her family are forced to move into a Glasgow tenement, it is not long before she meets popular, handsome, blue-eyed Midge Henderson. Captivated by each other, their lives seem blissfully entwined as they embark upon a glamorous ballroom-dancing career. But then, out of the blue, Norma's life is shattered by bitter betrayal . . . It is many years before love re-enters Norma's life - a daring, aristocratic Scots officer rekindles the flames of passion amidst the devastation of war. But returning to Glasgow as man and wife in 1945 imposes new strains on their relationship. And when Midge reappears, Norma feels her love for him returning and she is faced with the most agonising choice of her life . . . Praise for Emma Blair:'An engaging novel and the characters are endearing - a good holiday read' Historical Novels Review'All the tragedy and passion you could hope for . . . Brilliant' The Bookseller'Romantic fiction pure and simple and the best sort - direct, warm and hugely readable. Women's fiction at an excellent level' Publishing News'Emma Blair explores the complex and difficult nature of human emotions in this passionately written novel' Edinburgh Evening News'Entertaining romantic fiction' Historical Novels Review'[Emma Blair] is well worth recommending' The Bookseller
Maizie and her husband, Sam, run the Paris Hotel in Coverack, Cornwall, but when World War II starts Sam joins up and leaves Maizie to run the hotel. Struggling to keep the hotel going, Maizie is further troubled when she takes on Rosemary and Bobby, two evacuees from Plymouth but after a difficult start the children settle in and Maizie, who wants a family, enjoys their company. Her happiness is further enhanced with the arrival of the attractive Christain Le Gall, a French soldier wounded at Dunkirk, who comes to stay at the hotel whilst on leave. But this happiness doesn't last - the explosion of a bomb causes physical and emotional devastation and Maizie discovers that Sam, a rough man who beats her, has also been abusing Rosemary. Maizie, torn between her duty as a wife and her love for Christian, realizes she is unable to leave Sam and tells Christian she is unable to run away with him. Christian, heartbroken, returns to France. But Maizie, now pregnant, still loves him. Will she find happiness again?
Following her husband's death, Minna runs a small boarding house in Torquay and brings up her son, Tim. Tim becomes a journalist for the local paper, struggling to get by-lines and hoping to make it to a national some day. However, the outbreak of the Great War disrupts his life. Tim resists volunteering for the sake of his mother who can't bear to see her only son go to war, but eventually his guilt at not helping his country makes him sign up for the Royal Flying Corps. For two years he escapes death and injury but finally has a breakdown and is sent home. Elyse Davenport, an actress just past her prime, introduces him to the joys of lovemaking, but his true love is Katherine whose mother pressurises her to marry the wealthy and eminently suitable Miles. Following his death in action, Katherine becomes a VAD in France, but Tim and Katherine don't meet up again until peace is declared.
For Sarah Hawke, daughter of an impoverished miner, life offered little beyond the grime of Glasgow in the 1890s and the eternal drudgery of back-breaking work. Until a mysterious stranger entered her life. A stranger who turned out to be her real father - and the owner of a vast and prosperous shipping empire. Catapulted into a world of luxury, of servants and stately homes, Sarah begins a new and glittering life. As sole heiress to a fortune, she has much to gain - and everything to lose. For she takes over the business, and with it the risks and rivalry, deceit and intrigue - and the prospect of undying love... From Scotland to Paris, from Jamaica to South Africa, Sarah charms - and fights - her way to success against all odds. For she is dealing in a man's world, where the only way to succeed is to be a most determined woman.
When she was sixteen, Sheila Beattie knew exactly what her future would be. She would marry her sweetheart Eric, a fisherman like her father, and they would raise their family and dream their simple dreams in the village which they'd been born. Her life lay before her, happy, safe and secure. But she was sixteen - and about to discover in this world there is nothing certain but change . . . no one and nothing to be trusted but the voice of your own heart . . .
Sadie Smith, born with a degenerative hip, is unable to walk. Sent to a Dr Barnardo's home for treatment, she is so excited that she fails to realise she will never see her beloved family again. In 1927, once fully cured, Sadie is offered the opportunity of a lifetime; to start a new life in Canada. But when she arrives at the Trikhardts' farm in the heart of Ontario, her new life seems far from perfect. Worked from dawn to dusk, she treasures the scarlet ribbons her mother gave her and seeks solace in her friendship with fellow orphan, cheeky-faced Robbie. A freak hurricane finally provides Sadie with a lucky escape. From Canadian parlourmaid to pilot in Britain's Air Transport Auxillary, from office clerk to managing director, Sadie has to draw on her courage and strength in a determined struggle to find the lasting happiness that had eluded her as a child.
The first time Jessie laid her eyes on Tommy McBride was in July 1947, when they were still at school - and long before she knew anything about heartbreak or pain. Then she was the sheltered, dreamy minister's daughter, determined to take a bite out of life. And he was the fighter from the wrong side of the tracks, hell-bent on proving himself in the world. They had nothing in common, separate destinies. But in 1947 the world was about to move into new decades of turbulence and change - and it was only the fighters and the dreamers who would make it theirs . . .
The news of her fiance's death at Dunkirk was a cruel blow for Holly Morgan to suffer. But for Holly - forced to nurse enemy soldiers back to health while her beloved Jersey ails beneath an epidemic of crime, rationing and the worst excesses of Nazi occupation - the brutality of her war has only just begun. From the grim conditions of the hospital operating theatre where Holly is compelled to work long hours alongside the very people responsible for her grief, unexpected bonds of resilience and tenderness are forged. When friendship turns to love between Holly and a young German doctor, Peter Schmidt, their forbidden passion finds sanctuary at Half Hidden, a deserted house deep within the island countryside. A refuge where traditional battle lines recede from view in the face of more powerful emotions, it nevertheless becomes the focus for the war Holly and Peter must fight together - a war where every friend may be an enemy . . .
For Lexa and Cordelia Stewart the late 1930s bring changes that neither could have dreamed of. For as well as the onslaught of war, the death of their father leaves them ill equipped to run the family business. Cordelia falls recklessly in love with Joe Given, who is not only married but is looking elsewhere. Meanwhile, Lexa finds brief happiness with William until the war cruelly postpones their wedding. Will the Tarot card message read by her grandmother years ago finally come true? Will a 'cruel misunderstanding' stand in the way of Lexa and her longed-for marriage?
Sandy McLean is training to be a doctor to follow in his father's footsteps - indeed, to surpass his father who is just a general practitioner: Sandy is to become a top surgeon. Or so his father insists. Sandy feels he has no choice, though knows he is not a natural and life is becoming miserable as he struggles through the exams. What he really wants to be is an artist. Every spare moment he paints and is especially good at people. He even gets a commission when a loyal pub bartender is retiring. And then a French girl, Sophie, offers to pose for him - which leads to his first love affair and the beginning of his rebellion against his father...He has a row with his father and runs off to Montmartre. Meanwhile, left behind is his sister Laura. Her father believes she should wait about idly for a potential husband to turn up. But she wants to earn a living. She tells her parents she's working voluntarily for an orphan centre, but really she has a job working at the Marie Stopes Clinic - and learns a lot about life! When she gets raped on the way home one night, she is understandably seriously traumatised. And decides to follow her brother to Montmartre...
The Glasgow Nellie Thompson had been born to was a city bled colourless by poverty and despair, and divided against itself by religion and class. A city where appearances meant more than the truth that might lie in a person's heart . . . Nellie knew what it was like to be hungry and hopeless; to live a bitter lie with a man she hated. But still she held on to her dreams. Somehow she would leave those grey and violent streets behind. Somehow she would make her own life and her own world - even if she were forever denied the comfort of love.
They called it Black Friday in Parr Street when the factory closed. And whole families in the slums of Glasgow during the Depression felt the cruel sting of despair. Vicky Devine's father, George, was devastated. But young Ken Blacklaws had steel in his veins: 'I'm going to make something of my life,' he would tell her with passion and a dangerous fire in his eyes. Maybe that's why Vicky loved him so much. Beautiful Vicky, her love gained strength and defiance in the midst of bleakness and hardship. As Ken ruthlessly fought his way out of poverty, his ambition knew no bounds. For in his lifetime, he would break the law and Vicky's heart, but never could he break her spirit...
Susan's parents had wanted a son ... and they did little to hide their disappointment. As soon as was decently possible they packed her off to boarding-school. If only they could have known... For in the tradition-bound Scotland of the 1920s, there was no place for a woman like Susan. But she was determined to find one - even if it meant beating her wealthy parents at their own game...