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Summary

Leeds, 1914. Sisters Julia and Margaret Wood are struggling to rise above devastating poverty while the threat of war looms large over their community. Angry feelings about foreigners have reached a boiling point; their German-Jewish father's search for work proves hopeless, leaving entrepreneurial Julia to keep the family afloat by hawking homemade pies on the streets of Leeds.

Her beautiful elder sister, Margaret, an apprentice milliner and new member of the suffragette set, seeks a faster way out of the daily grind, pinning her hopes on a rich suffragette's journalist son, Thomas. But as the war rages on, it is left to Julia to discover the true meaning of courage and family as she learns to look forward to the start of the new day - and the promise of a better life ahead.

©2005 Frances McNeil (P)2005 Magna Large Print Books

Critic reviews

"Frances writes strong, believable characters and has a meticulous eye for period detail." (Leah Fleming)
"Frances Brody captures the tragedies and joys of old working-class Leeds in vivid and heartfelt storytelling." (Elizabeth Gill)
"Frances Brody makes every turn of the page a step back into time in her wonderfully sumptuous sagas...storytelling at its very best." (Diane Allen)

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Wonderfully Touching Story

I can hardly begin to say how this story has touched me. The strength of the main character, Julia, to get through all the hard trials life throws up for her, and to get everybody else through, with such a strength and cheerfulness of spirit, is touching and inspiring. Her narration is simple but filled with a strong sense of the time and place. Also it is nuanced with so much that is unsaid - her selflessness, her determination to do the right thing, how she spends most of her time doing things for other people - especially her sister. They all rely on her, yet fail to see this. Her thoughts about people are generally accurate, but she rarely lets on. It would be a mistake to think it a gritty tale of hardship. It's a clever and well written book full of historical detail that rings true, also full of the hope of the human spirit. At times I cried, but thankfully there was a happy ending. It reminds me of the stories my grandparents told me of their childhoods in Lancashire and Manchester. It fills me with regret for their passing - all long dead now. I wish I could sit in front of the fire and listen to them again. I have listened to and enjoyed all of the Kate Shackleton books, and wasn't sure about Frances Brody's other three stories on Audible. I found I loved this book even more and can't recommend it enough. I enjoyed the voice the narrator gave to Julia - tender but also strong. It was well performed and I had to keep listening to find out what happens. Buy it and listen to it - you won't regret it!