Today on the blog I have a taster of the new best seller by Rosie Clarke, ‘The Girls of Mulberry Lane ‘ I do hope you enjoy our time with Rosie. Enjoy, Kelly xoxo
Rosie Clarke was born in Swindon, but moved to Ely in Cambridgeshire at the age of nine. She started writing in 1976, combining this with helping her husband run his antiques shop. In 2004, Rosie was the well-deserved winner of the RNA Romance Award and the Betty Neels Trophy. Rosie also writes as Anne Herries and Cathy Sharp. Find out more at her website: http://www.rosieclarke.co.uk
1938, Mulberry Lane, London. War is looming, but on Mulberry Lane there are different battles being fought… Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries and Cathy Sharp.
Maureen Jackson is a prisoner of her father’s blackmail. Three years earlier, she’d been hoping to marry Rory, the man of her dreams. However, after her mother’s death, she was left to care for her overbearing father. Now Rory is back in London with a pregnant wife in tow to remind Maureen of the life that should have been hers.
As war threatens, Janet Ashley hopes to marry her sweetheart Mike, but her father refuses to grant them his blessing. Defying his wishes, Janet finds herself pregnant and her mother Peggy is determined to hold her family together at all costs. Will the girls of Mulberry Lane manage to snatch happiness before the darkness of World War II descends?
The Girls of Mulberry Lane By Rosie Clarke ~ Extract
Maureen smiled as she left the shop. Peggy was Maureen’s closest friend, but even she didn’t truly understand. Henry Jackson had played on his daughter’s sympathy after her mother died, taking advantage of her grief to manipulate her.
‘I can’t manage without you, Maureen pet,’ he’d said, tears streaming down his cheeks. ‘If you leave me to go off with that feller of yours I’ll just lie in bed and my death will be on your conscience. I need you and your ma would expect you to take care of me…with my chest the way it is.’
‘Oh, Dad, don’t do this to me,’ Maureen had begged. She’d been promised to Rory Mackness, a young man she’d met at Peggy’s pub just a few months before her mother died, and she’d been saving for her wedding, but her father had told her she must break it off for his sake. ‘It isn’t fair…it just isn’t fair…’
‘Do you want your father’s death on your conscience, girl? Maybe if you’d stopped home with your ma a bit more and not gone gadding off to dances every night she wouldn’t have left us.’
Maureen’s throat tightened at the memory. It was so unfair of her father to blame her, to make her feel guilty because she hadn’t been at home when her mother became suddenly and fatally ill. Perhaps if she’d been there to fetch the doctor she might not have died – but her father had been out too. Still he blamed Maureen, not himself, even though he was the one who had bullied her mother time after time, making her life a misery.
In the back of her mind, a little voice told Maureen that her mother was probably better off out of a life with her complaining and, sometimes, brutal husband. When Maureen was a child Ma had explained the bruises on her arms, and once her cheek, as being accidents, but as she grew up Maureen had suspected that they were the result of violent arguments between her parents. If only she’d been stronger three years ago! If she’d married Rory sooner and not bothered about saving for a nice wedding and a few bits for their home, her father couldn’t have forced her to come back and look after the shop or him if she’d been Rory’s wife.
Maureen had known Rory wouldn’t let her go if she’d told him the truth and so she’d said she wasn’t sure about her feelings, that she didn’t want to marry him, and how she’d regretted that mistake, because Rory had tried to change her mind by kissing her and she’d so nearly given in, and then when she didn’t he’d walked off in anger and she hadn’t seen him since.
‘What are you daydreaming for?’ Her father’s voice interrupted her thoughts as he walked through from the back room. ‘Buck up, Maureen. If you’ve no customers to serve you can check on the stock room and make a list of what we need. I’m going to the wholesaler tomorrow and I’ll need to know first thing.’
‘Where are you going?’ Maureen asked as he walked towards the door.
‘None of your business, miss. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll do as I ask or…’
‘Or what?’ Maureen wanted to ask. She was pretty certain her father wouldn’t hit her, because if he did she would walk out on him. Maureen wasn’t her mother; she wasn’t tied to her father other than by ties of duty and compassion. What no one understood was that Maureen genuinely felt sorry for him. Although she knew he feigned sickness whenever she defied him, he did have a weak chest and she believed he did feel remorse and distress over his wife’s death.
‘I’m going to the church social with Peggy and Anne on Friday night,’ Maureen said before he could exit the shop. ‘If you don’t want to be on your own I’ll ask Gran to come round.’
Maureen drew a deep breath as her father’s eyes shot her a sharp glare. If looks could kill she’d be dead; however, a customer entered at that moment and he went out without a word. No doubt he would have something to say when he returned that evening, but Maureen had decided she wasn’t going to back down this time. Peggy was right; it was time she had some say in her own life.
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