The Mersey Orphan
170 pages

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170 pages

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'A thoroughly enjoyable, powerful novel' Lyn Andrews

'An enchanting, warm and deeply touching story' Cathy Sharp

Winter, Liverpool 1947.

Evie Kilgaren is a fighter. Abandoned by her mother and with her father long gone, she is left to raise her siblings in dockside Liverpool, as they battle against the coldest winter on record. But she is determined to make a life for herself and create a happy home for what's left of her family.

Desperate for work, Evie takes a job at the Tram Tavern under the kindly watch of pub landlady, and pillar of the community, Connie Sharp. But Connie has problems of her own when her quiet life of spinsterhood is upturned with the arrival of a mysterious undercover detective from out of town.

When melting ice reveals a body in the canal, things take a turn for the worst for the residents of Reckoner's Row. Who could be responsible for such a brutal attack? And can Evie keep her family safe before they strike again?

A gritty, historical family drama full of laughter and tears from the author of Annie Groves' bestsellers including Child of the Mersey and Christmas on the Mersey. Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Katie Flynn and Dilly Court.

'I found The Orphan Daughter a thoroughly enjoyable, powerful novel set against the background of a war-battered city still struggling against austerity, rationing, the black market and poverty. A fast paced story-line and believable characters added to the authenticity of what I am sure will be the beginning of a series of successful books for Sheila Riley.' Lyn Andrews

'An enchanting, warm and deeply touching story about a brave young girl fighting against injustice. Loved it and look forward to her next book.' Cathy Sharp, author of the best-selling Orphans of Halfpenny Street.

What readers are saying about The Mersey Orphan:
'Oh what a wonderful story this is. I enjoyed every bit of Evies story suffering lots of traumas and struggles in her life. This book will definitely keep you reading on chapter after chapter I really enjoyed it, and looking forward to more from this author. A beautiful family saga.'

'Excellent story with characters that pull at your heartstrings.'

'Powerful, emotional and intense, The Orphan Daughter has at its heart a fantastic heroine readers will root for and a cast of brilliantly nuanced characters it is impossible not to care about. Written straight from the heart, The Orphan Daughter is a must-read for saga fans everywhere!'

'A really heart warming read for the winter months. Lovely characters, richly drawn and well rounded.'

'From the first page I was hooked. I've loved reading this fabulous story.'



Publié par
Date de parution 05 septembre 2019
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781838893217
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0100€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


The Mersey Orphan

Sheila Riley
This book is dedicated to that stoic generation who survived the dark days of war and its immediate aftermath. Heroes one and all.

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

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36


More from Sheila Riley

About the Author

About Boldwood Books
Summer 1946

Nineteen-year-old Evie Kilgaren gathered her mane of honey-coloured hair into a loop of knicker elastic before taking a vase of heavy-scented lilies and freesias into the kitchen. The flowers were barely faded when she rescued them from the churchyard bin that morning.
Placing them in the centre of the table, she hoped their heady scent would mask the smell of damp that riddled every dwelling in the row of terraced houses opposite the canal and add a bit of joy to the place.
‘Who’s dead?’ her mother, Rene, asked. Her scornful retort was proof she had already been at the gin and Evie’s heart sank. She had wanted today to be special. Surely her dead father’s birthday warranted a few flowers. Even if they were knock-offs from the church – at least she had made an effort, which was more than her mother had.
‘I got them for Dad’s…’ Evie was silenced by the warning flash in her mother’s dark eyes. A warning she had seen many times before. Rene gave a hefty sniff, her eyes squinting to focus, her brow wrinkled, and her olive skin flushed. Evie knew that when her mother had drunk enough ‘mother’s ruin’, she could be the life and soul of any party or, by contrast, one over could make her contrary and argumentative.
‘I thought they’d look nice on the table,’ Evie answered lightly, quickly changing her answer to try and keep the peace. She should have known better than to mention her father in front of Leo Darnel, who’d moved in as their lodger six months ago and taken no time at all getting his feet under her mother’s eiderdown. ‘I found a vase in…’ Her voice trailed off. Her mother wasn’t listening. As usual, she’d disappeared into the parlour to darken her finely shaped eyebrows with soot from the unlit grate – make-up was still on ration – dolling herself up for her shift behind the bar of the Tram Tavern. The tavern was barely a stone’s throw away on the other side of the narrow alleyway running alongside their house, so why her mother felt the need to dress to the nines was anybody’s guess.
Out of the corner of her eye, Evie noticed a sudden movement from their lodger, who was standing near the range, which she had black-leaded that morning. Leo Darnel didn’t like her and that was fine, because she didn’t like him either.
He was a jumped-up spiv who tried to pass himself off as a respectable businessman. Respectable? He didn’t know the meaning of the word, she thought, her eyes taking in the polished leather Chesterfield suite that cluttered the room and seemed out of place in a small backstreet terraced house.
‘None of your utility stuff,’ he’d said, pushing out his blubbery chest like a strutting pigeon. All the time he had a wonky eye on the bedroom door. He would do anything to keep her mother sweet and made it obvious every chance he got to show Evie she was in the way.
He’d been very quiet for the last few minutes, Evie realised. That wasn’t like Darnel. He was up to something, she could tell. He hadn’t interrupted with a sarcastic comment as he usually did when she and her mother were having a tit-for-tat. His self-satisfied smirk stretched mean across thin lips as he hunched inside a crisp white shirt and peered at her.
His beady eyes looked her up and down as he chewed a spent matchstick at the corner of his mouth before turning back to the grate. His piggy eyes were engrossed in the rising flames of something he had thrown onto the fire. Her attention darted to the blaze casting dancing flares of light across the room.
‘No!’ Evie heard the gasp of horror and disbelief coming from her own lips. How could he be so callous? How could he? As he stepped back with arms outstretched like he was showing off a new sofa, Evie could see exactly what he had done.
‘You burned them!’ Evie cried, hurrying over to the range, pushing Darnel out of her way and grabbing the brass fire tongs from the companion set on the hearth, desperate to save at least some of the valuable night-school work.
Two years of concentrated learning to prove she was just as good as all the rest – reduced to ashes in moments. Thrusting the tongs into the flames again and again was hopeless Her valuable notes disintegrated.
‘Mam, look! Look what he’s done!’ Her blue eyes blazed as hotly as the flames licking up the chimney.
‘You are not the only one who can crawl out of the gutter? Mr High-and-mighty!’ Evie was breathless when her burst of anger erupted, watching the flames envelope her books, turning the curling pages to ash. She balled her work-worn hands, roughly red through cleaning up after other people and pummelled his chest. Why? She caught his mocking eyes turn to flint before being dealt a quick backhander that made her head spin.
Her nostrils, which only moments before had been filled with the sweet fragrance of summer freesias and Mansion polish, were now congested with blood as traitorous tears rolled down her cheek. Evie dashed them away with the pad of her hand, ashamed and angry because he was privy to her vulnerability. Her pale blue eyes dashed from the range to her mother, who was now standing in the doorway shaking painted nails.
‘That evil bastard burned my exercise books. They had all my notes in them – two years’ work gone up in smoke!’ She had scrimped and saved every penny for the books from her measly wages, earned from skivvying in the offices of Beamers Electricals.
‘Who’re you calling a bastard?’ Darnel was not the biggest or strongest man she had come across, but was no less intimidating. Leaning into her face, his carefully enunciated words through nicotine-stained teeth dared her to retaliate. ‘You had better watch your mouth, my girl.’
‘I am not your girl. ’ Evie spat the words. ‘ My father would’ve made ten of you!’ If his ship hadn’t impeded a German torpedo back in 1943 , she thought. ‘If he was here now there’d be no need for a jumped-up racketeering lodger.’
‘I pay the rent in this house,’ Darnel’s voice was low and menacing. ‘An’ if you don’t watch that attitude, you’ll be out on your ear!’
‘And you reckon you’ll be the one to do it?’ Evie knew she was skating on thin ice challenging Darnel. He had no compunction about hitting her, although never when her mother was around and always with the threat that if she opened her mouth, he would make life very difficult for them. But he had slipped up this time. Her mother could see what a snake he really was and would throw him out for sure.
‘Don’t backchat Leo,’ her mother said. ‘He’s been very generous to us.’
Surely her mother wasn’t going to side with this so-called businessman, who was as slippery as a wet fish and operated his crooked empire under the radar of the local constabulary from their front parlour. ‘Oh, well, in that case,’ Evie answered with a withering sarcasm that could match her mother’s. Rarely stooping to the lowest level of communication, she felt this occasion called for it.
Her mother coveted the money he brought in, blinded by the gifts he plied her with, no questions asked. It became apparent to Evie her mother would not allow anybody to spoil their cosy set-up. Not even her own daughter.
‘He’s good to you. That’s all that counts, isn’t it, Ma?’ Evie detected a flinch in her mother’s posture. Rene liked to think she was still vibrant and desirable, there was no room in her life for words like Ma . ‘I’ve studied hard to get qualifications that could get me out of this bombed-out dump – I’m doing my final exam tomorrow.’
‘Surely your friends will lend you their notes if you ask. What about Susie?’ her mother said, blowing her nails dry while Darnel hovered in the background. Evie let out a snort of derision, recalling the taunts of her lifelong nemesis, Susie Blackthorn. Evie trusted her own sound knowledge, before she would ask that scatterbrain.
‘I don’t have friends.’ Evie shot her mother a meaningful glance. She had been discouraged from making friends to look after her young brother and sister before they were evacuated

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