Ruby McBride has always been on the wrong side of authority. The grand opening of the Manchester Ship Canal is set to be a day of unfettered festivity for Ruby and her younger sister and brother. Even Queen Victoria will be in attendance.
But the glories of the ceremony fade into insignificance when their dying mother delivers them to the imposing oak doors of Ignatius House. Abandoned in the not-so-tender care of the nuns, the siblings are soon separated.
So when the Board of Guardians force Ruby into a marriage that sends her to a new home upon the Salford waterways, she makes only one vow: to reunite her family whatever the cost.
Dancing on Deansgate
Where there’s community, there’s courage…
Jess Delaney has always longed for independence. But when the Blitz reaches Manchester, she is locked in the cellar by her feckless mother, Lizzie. As bombs rain down from a sky turned blood red with flame, Jess waits for Lizzie to return.
But fortunes are fickle, and soon Jess finds herself packed off to live with her tyrant Uncle Bernie, a bullying black marketeer. Though he treats her like a servant, she seeks refuge in the Sally Army and her natural musical talent offers both an escape route and the chance for love.
But Uncle Bernie never forgives his niece for refusing to join his illegal schemes and threatens to deprive Jess of her hard-won freedom once and for all.
The Castleford Collector
Where there’s muck, there’s mettle…
Dolly Tomkins has always known what it is to live hand to mouth. In the mean streets of a Salford struggling under the mantle of the Great Depression, the only one making a decent living is the talleyman.
Though Nifty Jack has a money bag where his heart should be, Dolly’s mam is in hock up to her ears and in dire need of assistance. But when Jack offers to wipe the slate clean, Dolly just can’t bring herself to trust him.
Instead, she takes him on at his own game and in the process endangers everything she holds most dear as a revelation about the past rocks the very foundations of her world.
The Favourite Child
Where there’s daring, there’s danger…
Isabella Ashton has always been her father’s favourite, but when she gets involved with the new Birth Control Movement, he is scandalised. A decade has elapsed since the end of the Great War and running a family planning clinic in Salford is challenging but rewarding work.
Bella is grateful for the help of Violet Howarth, a generous-hearted woman who takes her in off the street. Before long, a friendship with Violet’s son, Dan, blossoms into the beginnings of love.
But Bella also crosses paths with handsome ne’er-do-well Billy Quinn, leader of an illegal betting ring, and everything she has worked for is suddenly put at risk.
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