The Mersey Girls
183 pages

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183 pages
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The latest instalment in Sheila Riley's brilliant Reckoner's Row series

Liverpool 1950...

When Evie Kilgaren takes over the running of the back office at Skinner and Son's haulage yard, she has no idea she is walking into a hive of blackmail, secrets and lies.

Her fellow co-worker and childhood nemesis, Susie Blackthorn, is outraged at being demoted and is hell-bent on securing the affections of local heartthrob Danny Harris.

Grace Harris, a singer on the prestigious D’Angelo transatlantic ocean liners, is returning home engaged to be married. But Grace is harbouring her own shocking secrets and something valuable her fiancé very desperately wants back.

As we return to the lives and loves of those who live and work in the Mersey Docklands, not everything is as it seems and love and luck are rarely on the same side.

What readers are saying about The Mersey Girls:

’I totally loved everything about this book’

’It's gripping and engrossing, full of twists and turns.’

’The Mersey Girls by Sheila Riley is a perfectly written story which I read in a day.’

’This is definitely a five star read’

’This is such a feel good book’

’Family saga at its best’

’With never a dull moment, this mixes everything together to make a really interesting, period perfect, read.'

Praise for Sheila Riley:

'A powerful and totally absorbing family saga that is not to be missed. I turned the pages almost faster than I could read.' Carol Rivers

'A fabulous story of twists and turns - a totally unputdownable, page turner that had me cheering on the characters. I loved it!' Rosie Hendry

'A thoroughly enjoyable, powerful novel' Lyn Andrews

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

'Vivid, compelling and full of heart. Sheila is a natural-born storyteller.' Kate Thompson

'This author knows the Liverpool she writes about; masterly storytelling from a true Mersey Mistress.' Lizzie Lane



Publié par
Date de parution 18 août 2020
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781838893255
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,2050€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


The Mersey Girls

Sheila Riley



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


More from Sheila Riley

About the Author

About Boldwood Books
I dedicate this book to my agent Felicity Trew, my rock.
The Boldwood team, so supportive and understanding. Special thanks to Caroline Ridding, editor extraordinaire, who keeps me on my toes, to Jade and Nia and all the team who work so hard to bring our stories to you, dear reader.
But, in these uncertain times, I also want to thank the nurses who have attended my son morning and night, rain, hail, snow and sunshine:
There are more in this heroic band of caregivers, and I apologise if your name has slipped my mind, but I will never forget your face or the professional care, dedication and support you have given Alan. Thank you for all that you have done and all you continue to do.
Sheila xx
New Year’s Eve: 1949

‘Ten… Nine… Eight…’
Twenty-five-year-old Grace Harris lifted her finely sculptured chin, allowing her dark curls to caress her sun-kissed shoulders as her outstretched arm took in the audience of first-class passengers, before striding with ultimate confidence across the spot lit stage prominently situated in the chandelier-lit state ballroom of the Marine Spirit. The D’Angelo line’s newest cruise ship was embarking on a cruise that left Grace’s hometown of Liverpool on the first day of December, heading to tropical waters and visiting islands off the Caribbean before docking in New York on Valentine’s Day.
A far cry from her hometown – the dockside streets of her beloved Liverpool, where the legacy of the Second World War was still visible in the vacant bombsites, broken houses, temporary prefabs and gardens turned into allotments for those lucky enough to have a garden, Although back in Reckoner’s Row there were no such things as gardens.
‘Three… Two… One…! Happy New Decade!’
The elite passengers on board were either famous, royal, or incredibly wealthy. Celebrity guests such as Queen Elizabeth and Walt Disney cruised among many of Hollywood’s top stars.
From her lofty perch on stage, Grace watched the party people rise as one and join hands to make a huge circle, merging together for a rousing chorus of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ to welcome the new decade of 1950, and a sea of emotional faces sang out a decade of war, destruction, austerity and want, which she had been lucky enough to avoid, since joining the ship two years ago and mixing with the richest of the rich.
Grace knew her singing afforded her a luxurious lifestyle that others envied, especially now she had reached the coveted position of headlining act. But her smile froze when she caught sight of something that made her heart skip a beat and caused the stirring words of the old song to stick in her throat. Clifford, the entertainment director, was bringing in his New Year locked in a passionate clinch with one of the dancing girls. And Grace realised the onboard gossip could be true after all.
She had reached the dizzy height of headline performer through hard work, determination and talent and had not slept her way to the top like some. So when Clifford had said he loved her at the start of the trip, and proved it by asking her to marry him on Christmas Eve, she felt like the luckiest woman in the world.
However, aware of scurrilous rumours regarding Clifford from some on-board staff, she put their gossip down to jealousy. A handsome man, he schmoozed the rich and famous clientele as part of his job, so speculation, like meat and drink to some crew members, had been rife.
Although Grace tried to ignore it, letting nobody see the hearsay hurt her, reassuring herself that his dashing good looks and devastating charm was bound to feed the gossip. Part of England’s social elite, Clifford had served with distinction in the Royal Air Force during the war and blended perfectly with the high society passenger list.
She was thrilled even though he swore her to secrecy regarding their engagement. Apart from the ruling that fraternising between the staff was not allowed, Clifford told her that being engaged to marry may harm his standing with the well-to-do big tippers, and they needed all the money they could get to save for a place of their own. Grace believed him, knowing every female on board had their eye on Clifford.
From this height, she could clearly see Clifford and the girl moving to the area behind ‘the staff bar’. Hidden away from the passengers, the small room had walls of optics containing every alcohol, where the waiters fulfilled the table orders without having to queue with passengers. Making sure the coast was clear, Clifford locked the door behind them.
Every muscle in her body was taut and Grace wanted to storm off the stage and interrupt their fun. But to make a scene would be tantamount to career suicide for both of them.
When Clifford had asked her to marry him on Christmas Eve, slipping a pink diamond ring onto her finger, she marvelled at the perfect fit, thrilled. And he told her she must only wear the ring when she was performing, that way there would be no embarrassing questions to answer.
Her throat tightened and Grace felt crushed. The betrayal was as sharp as a slap in the face, making her realise she could be replaced by any of the on-board hopefuls hungry for the limelight, or any of the frustrated women with rich husbands who were willing to give more than she had been prepared to part with.
Her brain scrambled to find a logical solution. A brand-new decade dawned. The horrors of war were behind them. The whole world looked with renewed hope to a better future. But none of those things excused Clifford’s scandalous behaviour.
As the singing ebbed, Grace caught the dazzle of her engagement ring in the spotlight and when she left the stage with applause still ringing in her ears, she eased the ring from her finger and vowed never to wear it again.
The glittering diamond had been a symbol of their love for each other. But like the sparkling stone, she knew her relationship with Clifford was phony. It looked fabulous, but as far as she was concerned, neither had any worth whatsoever.
February 1950

Grace Harris believed she was going to be a star without Clifford Brack’s help. His promise to marry her a month ago was meaningless when she discovered he had been cheating on her with a host of women. The betrayal steeling her determination to succeed without him.
Thank God only her family knew she and Clifford had been engaged. She would never have been able to hold her head up again if the crew had got wind of it.
Her soulful voice had taken on a gutsy edge after a week in sickbay, feigning laryngitis. Her stunning smile dazzled the elite audience on her first show of the New Year, and hid her inner humiliation of Clifford’s sleazy assignations with any woman to whom he snapped his fingers.
The truth came out after a blazing row, when the New Year show ended, and was the real reason for her sore throat on New Year’s Day. Fortunately for her, the on-board doctor said she must rest her voice; the ensuing days in sickbay gave her plenty of time to contemplate.
When Grace tried to give Clifford back his engagement ring, he said with a sneer, ‘Keep the damn thing. After all, it’s only sparkle and has no worth. I can always get another if I want one.’ Grace believed he wasn’t just talking about the ring.
Her climb from the chorus line had been a long one; she had learned her craft from the bottom rung before Clifford noticed her, unlike chorus girls who hung on to every flattering lie he uttered, and offered themselves up to him so readily. Although, she too had been ensnared by his fine words and empty promises when he told her he had contacts who would put her name in lights. But he never introduced her to any of them.
‘ You’re going to be a star . You are not just a girl from the backstreets of Liverpool ! Everybody is going to love you .’ Eager for the limelight, she believed every flattering word he uttered, which was a far cry from the stinging putdown that brought their fleeting engagement to a sudden halt. ‘You came from the gutter and I can put you back there,’ he sneered. ‘Don’t ever forget that.’ His throwaway remark was branded on her heart and grew over the sickbay days into an invisible shell of armour that made her determined to be the woman she wanted to be. Not the tramp he expected her to be.
Onstage, she felt naked, imagining everybody could see her self-loathing, but night after night she forced herself to go and sing her heart out, and become someone she no longer recognised. Cli

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