The Mersey Angels
177 pages
English

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177 pages
English

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Description

The thrilling new book from Sheila Riley in her Liverpool Saga series

1916 LIVERPOOL

Following the death of her father, Ruby Swift, and husband Archie finally move back into Ashland Hall.

As the Great War rages, fathers and sons take the King's Shilling and head off to fight the unknown enemy, not knowing what horrors lie ahead.

With Ned Kincaid in the Navy, Archie signs up to the volunteer constabulary and nurses Anna Cassidy and Ellie Harrington enlist to do their bit for King and Country.

Soon the true casualties of war are being brought home in droves, Ruby converts Ashland Hall into an auxiliary hospital for wounded servicemen.

It’s not long before the true cost of war is brought closer to home and Anna and Ellie enlist in the British Military Nursing Corp and soon find themselves in the battlefields of France in search of the truth.

But they soon discover more than they bargained for...


Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 10 août 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781800485846
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0850€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

The Mersey Angels


Sheila Riley
To the brave men and women who willingly gave their future for our tomorrows
Contents




Part I


Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24


Part II


Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37


Acknowledgments

More from Sheila Riley

About the Author

About Boldwood Books
Part I
Prologue
May 1915

Jerky Woods sauntered along the dock road towards Great Homer Street, heading for Saint Martin’s dance hall near the open-air marketplace. Unlike many Liverpool people who were in the doldrums about the sinking of RMS Lusitania, affectionately known by the people of Liverpool as ‘The Lusy’ because so many of her sons were serving on board, Jerky was in the mood for a good time.
RMS Lusitania had been sunk by an imperial German Navy U-boat off the south-west coast of Ireland, killing one thousand one hundred and ninety-eight civilians travelling from New York to Liverpool. The headlines in the local newspaper caused outrage. Not only in Liverpool, but elsewhere in Britain, but there was a strong maritime community in this part of Liverpool who were directly affected, when their son or husband had been caught up in the tragedy and killed.
What’s the use of worrying? He whistled the tune of the popular new song knowing the words had never been more appropriate. He had no intentions of worrying about anything. Why should he? Nobody had ever worried about him.
Unless he counted Lottie Blythe, who was so clingy since her mother died, and no mistake. She didn’t give him a minute to himself. Always wanting to go for nice long walks. Hands in pockets, he could think of nothing more depressing than wasting valuable alehouse drinking time to walk hand in hand with a soppy, doe-eyed girl who wittered endlessly about mundane things like weddings and how many kids she would like, her only interest was getting him down the aisle. She had even started coming to his lodgings to ‘tidy up’. Telling him he needed a woman about the place. But she was scandalised when he asked her to move in with him. And why she kept insisting on calling him Jerry , he would never know.
Not without a ring on my finger, Jerry, she said. Well, he was having none of that marriage lark, they had been courting for just over a year, on and off, and she was always wanting to know where he was going and who with? What’s it got to do with her? Jerky Woods knew if he wed her, he would be responsible for her upkeep. And he didn’t like the sound of that. Paying good ale money for her food and board? Not likely!
Lottie even had the cheek to hint that he might want to take the King’s shilling and join the khaki glory-hunters at the Front. No fear of that happening either, he thought. Look what happened to those poor innocent blighters on The Lusy .
The war had been raging for nine months, even though it was supposed to be over by last Christmas. Jerky Woods believed men had been conned into fighting a war for a country they had no interest in, and the thought chunnered away in his head. He had no beef with the Germans. Furthermore, if he fancied a bit of fisticuffs, he didn’t need to join the army or navy to have a fight.
He intended to get what he could out of this war, though, by fair means or foul, and had no intention of becoming a name on the Town Hall List, like those poor buggers on the ship.
Twenty minutes. That was all it took to sink that fine liner. Twenty minutes.
You wouldn’t credit such a thing was possible on a balmy night like this, he thought, as scarcely a ripple of a breeze was strong enough to cause the chip paper he had just discarded to stir from its resting place in the gutter. He was restless, on the lookout for a nice bit of skirt who wanted a good time and no ties. Even in these prim-and-proper times, being so close to the docks a man could still find a good-time girl for a quick canoodle in the moonlight. He would tell the unsuspecting female he was serving on board a warship, or awaiting orders to set off for Flanders battlefields, and the girls went weak in his arms. Easy-peasy after that.
Walking with a rolling gait, so familiar in this North Liverpool area of seamen, Jerky meandered past the market stalls that were closing for the night. He was more than ready to wet his lips with a pint or two. It was a good thing he had his eyes to business when he’d spied Lottie’s rent money behind the clock on her mantlepiece. He could not stomach another night of her yapping and the money was quickly dispatched to his pocket.
A sudden outcry from the side street caught his attention, and before he managed to get to the dance, he could hear the heart-rending wail of women whose husbands had gone down with The Lusy.
It were a crying shame what the Hun did to that ship, he contradicted his earlier belief that the enemy had done nothing wrong to him or his community, and his footsteps slowed. She weren’t even a warship, he thought. She was merchant class.
‘You come out of there, Kruger, before we drag you out!’ A rowdy crowd gathered outside the pork butcher shop and shouted up to the window above. Vicious threats were being directed against Germany, and anybody with a German name.
‘It’s a bleedin’ shame it is,’ Woods said to nobody in particular. ‘I knew a few good lads on The Lusy,’ he lied to a black-clad woman crying into her handkerchief who had just come out of Blackwall Street, where nearly every blind was drawn as a symbol of a death.
But when she threw her arms round him and sobbed into his freshly laundered jacket that only came out of pawn this morning, Jerky Woods stood like petrified stone, baffled. He did not know how to comfort the stricken woman. All he hoped was that her snotty tears didn’t mark his clean lapel.
‘Me son and me husband, both gone,’ the woman sobbed. ‘Most of the terraced houses round here were occupied by Irish coal-trimmers, firemen, and many of them were sailors who had been on the Lusitania…’
‘Shame, that…’ His words were superfluous, but she wouldn’t notice. She was too lost in her grief. Although his blood rose when he noticed a gang congregating on the corner, and already drunk, they were fighting furious. Trouble was so thick in the air he could smell it. ‘Never you mind, Ma, I’ll make sure the Hun pay for what they’ve done to our boys.’ It had been a long time since he had been involved in a good scramble. And as the adrenaline pumped through his veins, he was eager to be part of this one.
The dance was forgotten as he picked up his pace, impatient to be part of the action in any disturbance when he heard the loud crash coming from the pork butcher’s shop near Great Howard Street, followed by a deafening shatter of glass and a volley of angry voices.
Hurrying up the road, he saw Kruger’s butcher shop being ransacked. It didn’t seem to matter to the baying crowd that the butcher was not a German immigrant, but Polish, when the front window had been knocked in with bricks and batons, and the pavement was littered with glistening shards of glass.
Jerky Woods saw a crowd of men and women demolishing the place, and he decided they needed his assistance when he picked up a discarded house brick and a wooden baton from a broken sash window. Joining in with much fervour, Woods was not satisfied until everything of foreign origin was smashed to smithereens, and as a finale he threw a lit rag into the devastated shop before stuffing his pockets with pork chops and sausages that had spilled out onto the street.
Women were filling their aprons with loins of pork, trotters and pigs’ tails, obviously not too fastidious in nicking Mr Kruger’s profits before heading home prior to the police vans turning up. But the night was yet young. When the police did arrive, Woods made sure he was nowhere to be seen.
Although, his luck had run out when he encountered a mob outside the jeweller’s shop in Commutation Row, and as he filled his pockets full of sparklers, the bobbies snapped him in their own type of bracelet and bundled him into the back of a police van for an overnight stay in Cheapside before an early appointment with local magistrates the following morning.
1
May 1916

The first thing Ruby Swift noticed was the clean front door, complete with gleaming brass furnishings polished to a high shine, and a spotless doorstep buffed white with a donkey stone. Izzy, on her knees, was scrubbing the doorstep until it was immaculately clean. The ground-floor windowsills had already received the same treatment, Ruby noticed. And through the sparkling front parlour window the pristine, heavy cotton lace, complemented the bright curtains.
‘You look surprised, Mrs Swift,’ Izzy Woods, on her knees, said in a more assured tone than the one she adopted five years earlier, when she cowed in the pawnshop doorway. Mother of Jerky Woods and her younger son Nipper, Izzy was married to the laziest drunk it had ever been Ruby’s misfortune to encounter. And Izzy was no stranger to the pawnshop. She was on her uppers on that cold Christmas Eve back in 1910 when Ruby gave her a ten-shilling note to stave off the hunger and shame of having nothing for her family at Christmas. It changed her life. And she had never forgotten Ruby’s kindness.
‘Not surprised at all,’ Ruby said, taking in the red, work-worn hands and short stubby nails that never had time to grow, and was not surprised by the untethered strands of prematurely silver-streaked hair that had escaped its turtleshell comb.
‘Not everybod

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