As a lover of historical ficction, I’m delighted to be part of the launch celebrations for The Lost Daughter of Liverpool by Pam Howes. The Lost Daughter of Liverpool is the first in The Mersey Trilogy. It was published on 3rd February 2017 by Bookouture and is available for purchase in e-book on Amazon UK and Amazon US.
To celebrate The Lost Daughter of Liverpool I have a lovely extract for you to read and then an opportunity, open internationally, for you to win an e-copy of this wonderful book.
The Lost Daughter of Liverpool
Can she save herself, her marriage – and her daughter?
It’s 1946 and the war is over. In Liverpool, the blackout blinds may be coming down, but one family is about to face devastating misfortune…
Dora Evans is finally marrying the love of her life, Joe Rodgers, and her dreams of opening a dressmaking business look as if they might come true. With twin daughters on the way, Dora has everything she’s ever wanted.
But then tragedy strikes: one of Dora’s babies dies in infancy, and a catastrophic fire changes their lives forever. Dora is consumed with grief, struggling to get through each day and Joe is suddenly distant, finding solace in his colleague, Ivy.
With Ivy watching and scheming, and Dora battling against her own demons, can she keep her family together?
The Lost Daughter of Liverpool is a heartbreaking and gripping story of love, loss and hope. Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Diney Costeloe and Kitty Neale. Discover Pam’s new series, The Mersey Trilogy, today.
An Extract from The Lost Daughter of Liverpool
THE LOST DAUGHTER OF LIVERPOOL
Knowsley, Liverpool, July 1946
Dora Evans breathed a sigh of relief when the dinner-break bell rang out, gloriously loud and clear. Peace descended as the hum from twenty machines ceased, punctuated only by the loud voices of the factory girls as they dithered between eating in the canteen, or sitting outside on the grassy knoll at the back of Palmer’s factory with their pack-ups.
Dora and her friend Joanie Lees brought their dinner from home each day, except for Fridays, when it was their favourite Spam fritters and chips in the canteen. They hurried outside into the bright sunshine and sat down on the wall that skirted Old Mill Lane, just under the now-faded factory sign that boasted Palmer’s Ladies Fashions of Distinction. The decorative black and gold cast-iron railings that had previously graced the top of the sandstone wall had been removed a few years ago to be melted down to help the war effort. Now, wild flowers grew in their place, cascading down to the ground, giving the wall colour and a place for butterflies and bees to frequent.
These days, there were no distinctive fashions made at Palmer’s. At the beginning of the war, the factory had been commissioned to make uniforms for the troops and nurses. But since the war had ended and old Gerald Palmer had passed away, to be succeeded by his son-in-law, George Kane who, according to the loyal workforce, hadn’t a clue about the rag-trade, the company had struggled to make ends meet. The only contracts so far this year were for men’s shirts that were sold in Littlewoods stores and catalogues.
Dora and Joanie had been classmates all through school and were best pals. Joanie was the only girl in her family and with four younger brothers who drove her mad with their brawling and noisy games, had spent most of her childhood playing at Dora’s house, where they’d spend hours making dolly clothes from scraps of material that Dora’s mam had given them. The pair were as close as sisters and shared a special bond and all their secrets.
They’d joined Palmer’s in 1941 when they left school, just after their fifteenth birthdays. Both enjoyed working in the business, though they daydreamed about making pretty dresses and skirts, rather than spending all day stitching collars and cuffs onto shirts. The nearest they’d come to making any dresses at all had been the plain cotton ones that were sent out to the nurses serving abroad. Still, they’d been helping the war effort and it was a decent enough job. They were grateful for the training they’d received, and their supervisor said they were exceptional seamstresses.
‘What you got in your sarnies today?’ Dora asked taking a greaseproof-wrapped package from her bag and smiling at the jam and margarine filling. She had two ginger nuts for afters too.
‘Dripping on toast, again.’ Joanie pulled a face.
‘Here, swap for half of mine, and give me half of yours.’
‘Thanks,’ Joanie said. Dora’s mam’s home-made bread and jam was always delicious.
The pair tucked in, enjoying the welcome warmth of the sun after being cooped up all morning. After they finished their dinner and shared a bottle of lukewarm corporation pop Dora had dug out of her bag, they dropped down onto the patch of grass below the wall to sunbathe. Dora hitched up her faded wrap-over pinny, exposing her bare legs slightly, and Joanie did likewise.
‘Look at my legs! What if Frank can’t get me any stockings for the wedding? We need to spend time on the beach at New Brighton to get some more sun on them,’ Dora said. ‘Might ask Joe if he’ll take me across on the ferry at the weekend.’
Dora was excited about marrying her fiancé, Joe Rodgers. They were teenage sweethearts and had always been inseparable at school, but then the war had forced them apart. After years of anxious days and nights, and love-letters that took months to arrive, Joe returned safely home. He’d immediately proposed, and Dora, who’d dreamed and hoped for that moment the whole time he’d been away, had accepted.
She knew she was lucky that her Joe had come home safe and sound from the war, and apart from being a lot skinnier, he hadn’t changed too much in his years away with the army. Several members of his platoon were never coming home, including young men from their village, who’d left behind heartbroken wives and girlfriends. For some, it wasn’t all Vera Lynn, bunting, and finger sandwiches on VE Day, as Dora’s mam reminded her whenever Dora got too carried away with her fancy plans for the big day.
For your chance to win an e-copy of The Lost Daughter of Liverpool, click here. The giveaway is open internationally and closes at UK midnight on Sunday 12th February 2017.
About Pam Howes
Pam is a retired interior designer, mum to three daughters, grandma to seven assorted grandchildren and roadie to her musician partner.
The inspiration for Pam’s first novel came from her teenage years, working in a record store, and hanging around with musicians who frequented the business. The first novel evolved into a series about a fictional band The Raiders. She is a fan of sixties music and it’s this love that compelled her to begin writing.
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