The Sunday Times Bestseller now released in paperback
‘Rosie deserves all her success. She is a talented storyteller and will go all the way to the top.’ Dee Williams
‘Goodwin is a master of her craft; she excels in writing about the complexity of relationships, the hardships of life, the ties of family and the joys of love and friendship. The perfect book for a cold winter's evening.’
Lancashire Evening Post
‘The new Catherine Cookson.’ Coventry Evening Telegraph
Published 9th March 2017, Paperback, £7.99
The riveting and heart-warming new saga from bestselling author Rosie Goodwin.
It's 1884 and 14-year-old Sunday Small has been in the Nuneaton workhouse since she was abandoned at birth. The regime is cruel, and if it were not for the lovely Miss Beau who comes in every week to teach the inmate children their letters, and her dear little friend Daisy, Sunday's life would barely be worth living. And now she's attracted the unwelcome attention of the workhouse master, who will stop at nothing to get her alone and will not take no for an answer.
It's time for Sunday to strike out alone in the world. Leaving behind everything she knows, she must try to make her fortune. She's driven on by the promise she made to come back for Daisy, and her secret dream of one day being reunited with the long-lost mother who gave her away.
But she's about to discover that try to escape as she might, the brutal world of the workhouse will not let her go without a fight ...
Rosie Goodwin is the author of over twenty bestselling novels, selling more than 300k paperbacks. She is the first author in the world to be allowed to follow three of Catherine Cookson's trilogies with her own sequels. Having worked in the social services sector for many years, then fostering a number of children, she is now a full-time novelist. She is one of the top 50 most borrowed authors from UK libraries and regularly appears in the Heatseeker charts.
Treetops Manor, Hartshill Nr. Nuneaton
“Still no news?”
The maid paused to stare coldly at the tall handsome man who was pacing up and down the long landing like a caged animal, before answering, “No, more’s the pity. The poor lamb is havin’ a terrible time of it.”
“It will all be worth it if it is a boy,” he said unfeelingly.
She glared at him making no attempt to hide her dislike. She had never wanted her young mistress to marry him in the first place but the girl had been besotted by him. “She should at least have had a proper doctor to attend her,” she grumbled as she made to pass him.
He caught her arm in a grip that made her wince with pain and his handsome face turned ugly as he ground out, “The midwife I selected is more than capable.”
Aye, of keepin’ her mouth shut, she thought but she didn’t say it aloud.
“And just remember… if it is a girl…”
A shudder ran through her but he went on, “You know what you must do… Otherwise it will be the asylum for your darling and the workhouse for you. A woman who can’t provide me with an heir is no good to me nor any other man.”
She shrugged her arm from his grip and stamped away for more hot water with her heart in her throat. He was a devil, that’s what he was, and God willing one day he would get his comeuppance. But for now all she could do that was pray that the poor mistress would give birth to a male. What she was being ordered to do were it not a boy was just too awful to contemplate.
Minutes later she tramped breathlessly back into her mistress’s bedroom and placed the large jug of water she had just fetched from the kitchen down onto the table that had been placed at the side of the bed. The water and the towels would be used to wash mother and baby when the birth was finally over and she prayed that it would be soon.
The house was like a graveyard. The master had given the rest of the staff the day off immediately the poor mistress had gone into labour. He had told them all it was so that the his wife could have some privacy but her beloved maid knew better. The less that they saw of what was going on the better as far as he was concerned.
Now she took the young woman’s hand and stared down into her feverish face. Strands of her fine blonde hair were sticking to her damp forehead and she looked exhausted.
“Wi… will it be much longer,” she gasped and the midwife who was attending her, a plump hard faced woman with a beaked nose answered shortly.
“Not if yer do as yer told an’ save yer breath.”
The maid gritted her teeth. There was nothing she would have liked to do more than land the woman a clout but instead she plastered a smile on her face and told her mistress softly, “Almost there now, sweet’eart. Just bear down now when the nurse tells yer an’ yer’ll be holdin a fine son in yer arms in no time.”
“B… but what if it’s not a son?”
“Shush now an’ concentrate,” Zillah urged and almost before the words had left her mouth another sharp contraction ripped through the poor soul on the bed and she arched her back as she screamed in agony.
It was almost two hours later when the midwife crowed triumphantly, “Here it comes. The next good push should do it.”
“That’s it, pet. Did yer hear?” her maid asked gently. “Just one more good push now on the next pain an’ it’ll all be over.”
But her beloved girl was barely conscious now so eventually the nurse lifted a wickedly sharp knife and did what had to be done and seconds later the sound of a new borns’ wails echoed around the room.
The child was quite exquisite with eyes the colour of bluebells and a head full of soft, blonde, downy curls exactly the same colour as its mothers but the maid’s heart sank as she saw that it was a girl. And then the door suddenly slammed inwards and the father was standing there, demanding, “Well?”
“It… it’s a little lass,” the maid told him fearfully and watched as his hands clenched into fists of rage.
“Then you know what you must do, and you also know what will happen if you ever speak of this to anyone. It will be the workhouse for you and the asylum for your precious mistress and you will never see her again!” He cast one withering glance at his wife then slammed from the room telling her, “I shall tell Matthews to prepare the grave.”