I'm the last stop on the blog tour for The Street Orphans by Mary Wood today and what a fabulous one it's been!
Despite frequently seeing Mary's books on Facebook I hadn't read any so I was delighted to be given the opportunity to read this one and I couldn't wait to get stuck in.
Ruth Dovecote is the oldest of five siblings. Born with a club foot, she is widely feared and ridiculed within the small village community, so when her father is killed and her family is evicted, she is hopeful of a better life in a new area. Fate, however, has other ideas and on their way to the Blackburn cotton mills, the family is dealt another blow when they have a chance encounter with the Earl of Harrogate and it's one that could tear the family apart.
It's not just the poor that has their troubles though, the rich and aristocratic have problems of their own. They have their reputations to consider and when it comes to marriage it can be a potential minefield. Do they marry for love, position in society or wealth? These struggles are all too apparent for Katrina and her younger sister, Marica, who is jealous beyond belief of her older sibling.
I absolutely loved this book and I was sucked into the story right from the start. Following Ruth on her journey was at times heart-wrenching, whilst at others full of joy and hope and I'm not ashamed to admit that I did shed a few tears for her along the way. As much as I loved Ruth's character the manipulative Marcia, Katrina's sister had me seething. Only ever thinking of herself, she would go to any lengths to get what she wanted, regardless of the pain and suffering she caused others and I loathed her with a passion, desperate for her to get her comeuppance.
This is a book that is written with such passion I could imagine myself travelling across the Bowland Hills and the description of them was so vivid in my head. The research that Mary has done for this book is clearly evident and it adds to the realism of the book.
For me, The Street Orphans, is a master-class in the art of writing historical saga fiction and I can't wait to lose myself in many more of Mary's books in the future.
|Photo courtesy of Mary Wood|
Born in Maidstone, Kent, in 1945, the thirteenth child of fifteen children, Mary's family settled in Leicestershire after the war ended.
Mary married young and now, after 54 years of happy marriage, four children, 12 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren, Mary and her husband live in Blackpool during the summer and Spain during the winter - a place that Mary calls, 'her writing retreat'.
After many jobs from cleaning to catering, all chosen to fit in with bringing up her family, and boost the family money-pot, Mary ended her 9 - 5 working days as a Probation Service Officer, a job that showed her another side to life, and which influences her writing, bringing a realism and grittiness to her novels.
Mary first put pen to paper, in 1989, but it wasn't until 2010 that she finally found some success by self-publishing on kindle.
Being spotted by an editor at Pan Macmillan in 2013, finally saw Mary reach her publishing dream.
When not writing, Mary enjoys family time, reading, eating out, and gardening.
One of her favourite pastimes is interacting with her readers on her Facebook page and on her website. She is also on Twitter.
Mary welcomes all contact with her readers and feedback on her work.
Although I'm the last stop on the blog tour that doesn't mean you can't go back and visit all the fabulous blogs that have taken part before me, in fact I would highly recommend that you do.
With kind thanks to the very lovely, and hugely talented author Mary Wood and also to Kate Green at Pan Macmillan for my gorgeous review copy.