Three emotional sagas to read in winter by various authors – book reviews –

A Simple Wish by Rosie Goodwin
A Simple Wish by Rosie Goodwin

Add some extra sparkle to your Christmas countdown as Rosie Goodwin, one of Britain’s most beloved saga queens, conjures up more storytelling magic for her Precious Stones series.

Register to our daily newsletter

The newsletter mute the noise

The star of each stand-alone story in this scintillating collection is named after a gemstone and follows Goodwin’s enchanting Days of the Week series which earned him an army of readers and a handful of accolades.

A former social worker and adoptive mother, Goodwin wrote over thirty beautiful, heartwarming novels exploring life and love in the old days, and secured the rights to follow three of the late Tyneside writer Catherine Cookson’s trilogies with sequels of her own. .

And now A Simple Wish – a gritty, dramatic tale featuring the desperate struggles of a homeless Victorian girl – delivers the same winning blend of romance, intrigue, compelling characters and richly detailed, authentic and atmospheric settings. .

Our new gemstone star is Ruby Carter who works hard in her parents’ bakery in Nuneaton in 1885. Even though life is not easy, she is happy enough… her sweet mother protects young Ruby from her cruel and cruel father. love him unconditionally.

So when her mother falls seriously ill, Ruby is heartbroken. Then, from her deathbed, her mother reveals that Ruby was adopted at birth. Grief-stricken and alone with the abusive man she called her father, Ruby feels she has no choice but to flee.

Only fifteen years old, homeless and alone, she is relieved when a kind stranger named Mrs Bamber takes pity on poor Ruby and welcomes her into her home in Birmingham. But soon, Ruby learns that Maddie Bamber isn’t as generous as she first seemed… she forces Ruby to lead a life of crime as a jewel thief in the city’s jeweler’s district.

With nothing to her name and nowhere to go, Ruby has no choice but to agree, despite the guilt and shame she feels. But she’s determined to atone for what she’s done and find her birth parents…because Ruby’s only wish now is to find her real family.

Unsurprisingly Goodwin is one of the 50 most borrowed authors from UK libraries and here she packs all those recognizable people, events and dramas – births and deaths, loves and losses, good and bad people – that have made her novels so loved. by readers over the decades.

Ruby’s battle not just to survive but to reunite with her biological family turns out to be an engrossing emotional rollercoaster with many twists and turns and a story that takes us to the beating heart of 19th century Birmingham.

Full of Goodwin’s wisdom, warmth and wonderful storytelling, and with the author’s delicious traditional recipe for apple charlotte to tickle the taste buds, it’s a tale to snuggle up with on winter nights. …and guaranteed to leave readers hungry for A Daughter’s Destiny, the next book in the series.

(Zaffre, hardcover, £12.99)

The girls of Jam Factory strike back

Two young women fight a desperate battle to claim what is rightfully theirs in the final chapter of an emotional saga from favorite storyteller Mary Wood.

Inspired by her own early years in London’s East End, Wood takes us back to the struggles centered on a jam factory in London’s Bermondsey in the pre-World War I era in another story full of love, loss, hardship and betrayal. .

Wood, who lives between Blackpool and Spain, has worked in the probation service in Lancaster and Blackpool, and his hard-hitting and emotional historical sagas reflect his own experiences with people from all walks of life, helping him bring realism and a granularity to his writing.

In the sequel to The Jam Factory Girls and The Secrets of the Jam Factory Girls, we fast forward to 1913 and step back into the lives of Millie Lefton and Elsie Makin, two young women from opposite sides of the tracks whose friendship survived against the odds. .

From the moment Len Lefton entered their lives, everything changed for Millie and Elsie. Both fell in love with him, but he chose Millie, due to her attractive heritage – the Jam Factory.

Now Millie is expecting Len’s baby and it should be the happiest time, but her husband’s true colors have come to the fore – and Millie is forced out of the wedding. Now Millie is desperate to save her child from Len’s clutches. Will Len allow her one day to find happiness?

Elsie has fallen in love with the reliable Jim, but Len also threatens their happiness. Elsie and Millie are determined to overthrow Len and take back the Jam Factory. Will they succeed and be able to rebuild their lives after the devastation caused by Len?

Wood excels at storytelling and this hard-hitting tale is full of heartbreak, drama, rich period detail and the harsh realities of life in the early 20th century as Elsie and Millie rely on their close friendship to see them through. through the best and the worst. of times.

Written with insight, warmth and the empathy gained over the author’s years of working with a cross-section of society, this latest visit to Bermondsey is an emotional roller coaster from page one to page one, and will leave readers keen on The Orphanage Girls, an exciting new saga series set in Bethnal Green.

Christmas with the Cornish Girls

There is no hiding place from the triumphs and disasters of World War II…even in the beautiful Cornish town of St Ives.

Welcome to the life and loves of a group of women who have their own personal battles to fight during the dark days of the war years, but who are determined to help others, no matter how risky that may be.

This heartwarming saga series full of family and friendship comes from Betty Walker who lives in Cornwall with her large family and also writes hit contemporary thrillers like Jane Holland.

In 1941, the bombs are still falling but in St Ives, Christmas is finally approaching. And with the war underway, Lily feels anything but celebratory…until her spirit is lifted by close friend Eva who asks if she’ll agree to join her in her job at a convalescent home for officers.

Eva has come to St Ives to be near the man who nearly gave his life to protect hers, but can the injured pilot ever help heal himself by opening his heart to love?

Meanwhile, Rose suspects the local orphanage is abusing her charges…and it’s her job to find out the truth before it’s too late.

Can the girls help each other through the darkest of days to give everyone in St Ives the sparkling Christmas they so deserve?

Love, life and laughter are never far away in this gripping series full of nostalgia, romance and drama, and is the perfect companion for winter fireside reading!

(Avon, paperback, £7.99)

Alycia R. Lindley