The Historical Sagas
These novels tell stories of family life and romance that are anchored firmly in time and place, giving the reader fascinating insights into the events of the momentous times at the end of the Victorian era and in the early twentieth century - and how they impacted the lives of ordinary people.
The Marston Trilogy
Set in north Cheshire, where the author grew up, these books follow Becky Taylor from her birth - the youngest of seven children - into a poor working class family, through love, betrayal, tragedy, successes and disasters. They also paint a picture of life during the Industrial Revolution in Victorian and Edwardian England, where there were opportunities but also many dangers and temptations.
For more on Marston, the village where these books are set, read the blog post: First Memories
The London Books
Becky's best friend Colette moves to London, which seems very strange at first, but where she finally creates a good life for herself and her family in the East End. These novels tell her story, while focussing on her new neighbours, the Clarke family as their children grow up in a changing, challenging world.
The 1st novel in the Marston Trilogy:
Salt of the Earth
Becky Taylor is born the last of seven children into a poor working class family during the heyday of the Industrial Revolution.
Her mother is exhausted by poverty and child-bearing; her father has given the best years of his life to Worrell's salt works as a miner.
But in spite of the hardships, Becky grows up in a family full of warmth, loyalty and determination.
Spanning twenty years, this is at once a family saga and a story of the indomitable working class spirit; it is also the story of a beautiful woman who is determinated to rise above her origins and lead a better life.
Her challenge is to achieve her dreams without losing the friends and family to whom she owes everything.
The 2nd novel in the Marston Trilogy:
Up Our Street
A nostalgic saga set in Cheshire which continues the story of Becky Taylor - the gutsy heroine introduced in SALT OF THE EARTH - and her family, as they struggle against the odds to find happiness.
Becky Taylor is now earning her living running a bakery. Her husband Michael and her brother Jack are in Africa, so she must fend for herself and her children.
But the presence of her unpleasant brother-in-law Richard seems to threaten her happiness.
The 3rd novel in the Marston Trilogy:
Those Golden Days
The shadow of war hangs over the village of Marston, and Becky worries that her hot-headed son Billy will enlist in the army.
Her daughter Michelle is another cause for concern - since her illness she has withdrawn into herself, and Becky fears she will never be able to find real happiness.
And Becky is not even aware of the great danger that looms on the horizon in the shape of her wicked brother-in-law Richard Worrel, who is determined to use his own son to destroy Beck's family.
The 1st novel of the London Sagas:
Old Father Thames
A nostalgic East End saga of the Clarke family and their new neighbours, the Taylors - who featured in Salt of the Earth and Up Our Street.
Sam Clarke and his wife Lil are a devoted couple - despite the odd argument that so often stems from Sam's quick sense of humour.
But they are always united in their determination to take on whatever life throws at them. And there are certainly problems to cope with: such as their son, Eddie, interested only in those newfangled automobiles; their vague, other-wordly daughter Peggy, who desperately wants to buy a goat and will even break the law to raise the money.
It is their elder daughter, Annie, they worry about most, as she seems to be on the brink of making the wrong choice in love ...
The concluding novel of the London Sagas:
South of the River
A tale of courage, warmth and grit, continuing the South London saga begun in Old Father Thames.
In turn of the century Southwark, times are changing. Traffic on the river is waning, replaced by the railways, and the mass of new inventions - the telephone, moving pictures, motor cars - is beginning to transform everyday life.
It's all change for the members of the close-knit community too, and some find it easier to adapt than others. Belinda is forging her way as an independent woman; Mary tries to find the courage to stand up to her mother; Fred faces the ultimate challenge when the docks go up in fire; Maggie is driven by the loss of her baby; and Tom cannot escape his chequered past.