Forget -Me-Not-Child

A story of struggle and hardship and one girl’s battle for survival from the best-selling author of If You Were the Only Girl and Another Man’s Child.

Angela McCluskey comes to Birmingham from Ireland with her family as a young girl to escape the terrible poverty in her homeland. But the dream of a better life is dashed as bad fortune dogs the family.

When Angela marries her childhood sweetheart, she has hopes of a brighter future, which are dashed when her husband is called up to fight in the Great War. Tragedy strikes and Angela is left to rear her frail daughter on her own, though the worst is yet to come when Angela suffers another terrible misfortune.

Pregnant and destitute and already with one mouth to feed that she can ill afford, there is nowhere left to turn. What destiny awaits Angela and her unborn child? Caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, will Angela forever be punished for the choices that she makes?


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Another Man's Child

Celia Mulligan is in love with farm hand Andy McCadden, but when Andy asks her to marry him and she accepts, her father is furious – no daughter of his will marry a mere hireling. Celia elopes with Andy and they make their way by ship to England. While on board, Celia meets a demure young woman called Annabel who tells her in confidence that a friend of her father forced himself upon her and she has since fallen pregnant.

Annabel plans to throw herself on her brother’s mercy and asks Celia if she will accompany her to Birmingham as her ladies maid. Without a job and with nothing to offer her, Andy encourages Celia to accept – he can find employment for himself and save for their future. But neither of them can foresee the events that will follow, and soon Celia will be forced to choose between the man she loves, and the love of a vulnerable child…



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Love me tender

For Kathy O’Malley, life has not been easy with her husband, Barry, out of work and with two children to feed. Then when war breaks out in 1939, many of the local men enlist, including Barry, leaving the women to cope as best they can.

The years that follow are full of hardship: rationing, nightly air raids and endless shifts working at the local munitions factory all take their toll on Kathy who longs to feel the strong arms of her husband around her once more.

When she meets Doug, a handsome American GI, she is drawn immediately drawn to him but determined to honour her marriage vows. But after she receives a telegram informing that her husband is missing, presumed dead, she makes a decision that will have consequences, not just for herself, but for the lives of all those she loves too…


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A strong hand to hold

Jenny O’Leary is devastated one morning in 1940 when she receives a telegram giving her the dreadful news that one of her brothers has been killed in action. Grief threatens to engulf her, but as an ARP warden, tending to Birmingham’s injured after the nightly raids, she is well-used to the suffering that thousands are enduring every day.

Linda Prosser is just twelve years old and desperately close to her mother and two tiny brothers. As the bombs drop around them one fateful night, Linda takes a risk which has disastrous consequences. Terrified, and buried beneath a mass of debris after her home takes a direct hit, it is Jenny who crawls through the wreckage of the house to rescue her.

So begins a friendship which is last through the years. But when Linda falls in love with a man that Jenny despises, she is faced with sacrificing her future happiness for the friend who has given her everything…

 

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A girl can dream

When Meg’s mother dies in childbirth, she is determined to keep the promise made on her mother’s deathbed – keep the family together. But her father has descended into drink and resents the baby, Ruth, who he believes cost him his wife.

Though struggling financially, Meg resists the offer of help from their unscrupulous and sinister landlord, Richard Flatterly. Things get worse when her father returns home one night with a woman called Doris and announces he intends to marry her. When war breaks out three of the children are evacuated to the country while little Ruth must stay with Meg’s father and his new wife as she is too young.

Meg and her friend Joy sign up for the Land Army and go to work on the farm where she meets Stephen, home on leave after fighting the Nazi’s – the attraction is instant and she and Stephen fall in love. But when she returns to the family home for a visit, she is horrified to discover the house in squalor and that worst of all, Little Ruth has been sent to an orphanage. With no options, Meg must turn to the only man who can help her, Richard Flatterly, but in return for his help, she must pay a very high price… 

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If you were the only girl


When Lucy’s father dies and her family is plunged into poverty, she is forced to take a job in service as a housemaid at Windthorpe House, home to the aristocratic Hetherington’s, who lost three of their four sons in the Great War.


When their only remaining son, Clive, returns home from university, he and Lucy strike up an immediate bond, which only deepens as Lucy becomes indispensable to the family. Clive however, much to his family’s consternation, decides to volunteer to fight against the Fascists in the Spanish Civil War, though he returns injured and full of rage at the hated regime.


As Lucy tends his wounds, the two fall in love and Clive is determined that the class difference won’t keep them apart. But Hitler’s troops are gathering and fate has something very different in store for both of them…

 

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Far from home

1938: Sixteen-year-old Kate Monroe is living in Birmingham, far away from her family in Ireland. Her parents have always doted on her siblings, Sally and James, leaving no time for her. Kate harbours a dark secret, a deep longing for her cousin. Feelings she must suppress in this deeply staunch Irish-Catholic community – even if they are reciprocated.

Crazed by her infatuation, Kate is left with no option, other than to up-roots once more and seek out a new life, far away from the temptation of Tim Monroe.

Will Kate find true love, or will distance make the heart grow fonder?


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Daughter of mine

Lizzie is finding that life in the Birmingham blitz is hard. Her husband is away fighting in the Second World War and she has regretfully sent her two young children away to her parents in Galway, knowing that they will be safe there. She's grateful for her job in munitions but not so happy when that means getting home in the blackout, dodging the bomb damage.

Then Lizzie is attacked on one such journey. She comes around battered and bruised, unable to remember the full extent of the attack – but she fears the worst, and is right to. Turning to her family in desperation, she is told she has brought them nothing but disgrace. Yet help is at hand, from the most unlikely place… 

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Till the sun shines through

A family is divided when its favourite daughter is forced to flee rural Ireland and to seek her living in war-torn Birmingham.

Bridie McCarthy loves her family’s farm in the remotest part of Donegal, even though she’s forced to work hard when all of her siblings leave home. She can’t bear to let down her beloved parents – until a horrible act of violence gives her no option but to run away. She turns to the one person she can trust – big sister Mary, now settled with a family of her own in Birmingham.

Life here couldn’t be more different, but slowly Bridie comes to see the good side of a busy city, and begins to regain her confidence. But fate has more trouble in store, as World War Two looms, threatening everything she’s fought so hard to win.


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Keep the home fires burning

The year is 1940 and Bill and Marion Whittaker live happily with their five children in a terraced house on Albert Road in Birmingham.

But when Bill enlists to fight in the Second World War, the family are plunged into poverty. Marion is forced to pawn all her worldly possessions and decides to take in two lodgers, Peggy Wagstaffe and Violet Clooney. These two lively girls bring some light relief to the family and bring with them Peggy's handsome brother Sam – who catches the eye of Marion's sixteen-year-old daughter, Sarah.

1944 and the war grinds on. Disaster strikes with an explosion at the local munitions factory, leaving Sarah badly disfigured. Then news arrives that Sam has been blinded in action. Can these two injured souls help each other to repair not only their physical but emotional scars? And will Bill return to the safety of family and home?

 

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The child left behind

A moving family drama of one young woman’s fight to survive, to find her long-lost relatives and to find a place to call home

Bridgette has been hurt many times in her life. Her early years were blighted by her spoilt brother; her marriage ruined by World War Two. Now her mother is dying. And then comes a deathbed revelation – somewhere Bridgette has another family and a father.

Bridgette joins the war effort and shows her courage by aiding a British Agent whose life is in danger. But, as the war draws to a close, Bridgette is still full of questions about her past and is determined to find the answers. So she sets off for Birmingham – not knowing what she will discover, but desperately hoping to find a place where she can finally belong…

 

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Walking back to happiness

Family saga set in Birmingham in the years following World War Two

Hannah Delaney is a young woman with a secret. It is not one that she can share with her large family still back home in Ireland, and especially not with her dying sister. Hannah’s moved to England to build a better life, and has met and fallen in love with a young soldier. They intend to marry on his next leave, but then comes D Day, and he doesn’t return. Hannah is left alone and pregnant.

Surrendering her baby to the nuns is the only option, and Hannah grimly picks up the pieces and goes to work in a Birmingham guesthouse. Common sense tells her to agree to marry sensible Arthur Bradley, but he too has a secret. And secrets will not remain hidden for ever…

 

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A mother's spirit

From rural rags to brief riches and back to ruin, this is a moving saga of hard work, bad luck and finally hope for a family’s future.

Gloria Sullivan can’t quite believe where she has ended up.

Growing up with no money worries, she fell head over heels in love with the handsome, hardworking Irishman employed by her father. They were the golden couple - until the Wall Street crash, when everything was lost. Finally she agreed to start again in London with husband Joe and their small son.

World War Two was raging, and Joe laboured on the docks by day and fighting fires by night. He was a hero - but one dreadful fire left him terribly injured. Once more Gloria resolved to leave everything behind and to take Joe home to his family farm in Ireland, his only hope of recovery.

Gloria now dutifully nurses her husband, but she can’t settle in the countryside. Then a nearby American base begins recruiting civilians. Gloria tells everyone it’s her chance to do her bit - but will she be tempted to do much more?

 

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A daughter's secret

A moving and gritty saga of loss, separation and finally hope, set in wartime Birmingham

Agnes Sullivan is fifteen when her young brother Tom finds her drunk and crying in the lane near their farm. Her dancing teacher has raped her and abandoned her. Aggie is forced to leave home when she discovers she’s pregnant and Tom, barely a teenager himself, decides the teacher must pay for his actions.

Aggie flees to Birmingham, but the safe haven she’s been promised turns out to be too dangerous to stay in. She’s left with few options until someone she would never have spoken to in her former life gives her the help she so desperately needs. But will World War One ruin her precarious hopes of a future?

Anne Bennett’s sagas of Birmingham during the wars have won her many fans, as they are packed full of emotion, determination and authenticity. Regional sagas don’t come any better than this.

 

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A sister's promise

A heartrending saga of a sister separated from her baby brother by tragedy and prejudice, who will brave the Blitz to bring him to safety

Molly’s life changes forever when her mother is killed in a horrific accident. Although her beloved grandfather wants to keep her and little brother Kevin with him in Birmingham, the authorities decide it’s best for the girl to live with her maternal grandmother, on a farm in Donegal. So Molly is packed off to Biddy Sullivan, who’s a hard, cruel woman who loves to bear a grudge.

Years of hardship follow and just as Molly begins to grow independent, war breaks out. She learns that her grandfather has died – so what’s become of ten year old Kevin? Surely he must need her? So the naive country girl sets off for her home city, little guessing what perils are to befall her before she can discover her brother’s fate…

 

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To have and to hold

A stirring saga of a nurse who only wants to do her duty in World War Two – and who ends up having to make an agonising choice. Set in Ireland and Birmingham, this is the latest from emerging star of the genre Anne Bennett.

Carmel Duffy is the eldest child of a brutal and abusive marriage, and she can’t wait to leave home. She’s equally determined to have no husband or children of her own – what she wants more than anything is to be a nurse. As soon as she turns eighteen, she heads for Birmingham and begins her training.

With her beautiful auburn curls, she draws plenty of attention and her resolve to concentrate on her career is tested when Dr Paul Connolly comes onto her ward and into her life. Gradually he wins her heart, and they agree to marry, both certain that they want no children. They have valuable jobs to do – all the more so when World War Two looms. But those years will change everything: their relationship, their priorities, their very characters. Carmel will find that the future is very different to the one she thought she wanted for so long…

 

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Mother's only child

A young girl is forced to give up her true love and marry for security – except that it leads her to danger and heartbreak before she finds happiness.

Maria is a girl with a great talent for fabric design, and while the world becomes embroiled in war, all she can think of is her scholarship to the prestigious Grafton Academy. But then her father has a dreadful accident and her mother breaks down in guilt and grief. Maria, the only child, must care for them. Her hopes are dashed, not only of her career, but of marrying the one who's loved her for years.

Reluctantly, Maria is driven into the arms of the supposedly reliable Barney. But he's no such thing. The young couple have to leave their home in a hurry and settle in Birmingham, where Barney grows increasingly difficult and finally goes too far. A family crisis ensues but out of it comes the one thing Maria had given up hope of ever finding again.

This is a superb saga of love, loss and family closeness, set against the tumultuous years of the war and its aftermath. Established fans of this author will love it and it is set to win her many new dedicated readers.

 

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Danny Boy

A deeply moving saga of a young couple with high hopes for a bright future in rural Ireland, only to find themselves embroiled in the uprising of 1916 and having to make a new life for themselves in Birmingham.

Rosie’s family doesn’t have much money, but she’s rich in other ways: she loves her life on the farm, her sisters, her friends, and even her spoilt baby brother. When Danny Walsh asks her to walk out with him one Sunday, it’s a dream come true.

Everyone agrees that they are made for each other and soon they are married. But Danny’s young brother runs away to join in the uprising of Easter 1916. Danny is a man of peace but has no choice; he must find his brother and bring him home. Before he can be released, Danny must swear to take his place.

Danny will never be free of his pledge. He takes Rosie and their small daughter to what they hope is safety in Birmingham – but the fight to survive has just begun, as nobody will employ an Irishman when there’s a war on. With no money coming in, Rosie does the unthinkable and leaves Danny to look after the child while she finds a job in munitions. Little does she realise the danger she is in and what consequences it will have for her and her family. Danny and Rosie will find their resources, spirit and love for each other are tested to the utmost limit before the future is bright again.

 

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Pack Up Your Troubles

When young Maeve Brannigan arrives in Birmingham in 1930, having left her family farm in Donegal, she can't believe her luck when she meets and falls in love with Brendan Hogan. But as they settle into married life it soon becomes clear that Brendan is not the man she thought he was. After one horrific spate of abuse, Maeve takes her children and returns to Donegal. But it's not long before the close-knit Catholic community make it clear that Maeve must make the best of her marriage. How much longer can she endure the torments of a man she has grown to hate?

 

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A little learning

Janet Travers is overjoyed on winning a place in the local grammar school. Painfully aware of the sacrifices her family makes, and determined to do well, she soon befriends a Jewish girl. At 17 she falls in love and plans to marry her friend's brother, but a Catholic wife is out of the question. 

 

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