Spirited and independent, lady's maid Nan Smithen has ambitions far beyond her station. Marriage to a wealthy businessman enchanted by her youth brings her position, children and a comfortable union. Until her doting husband is killed on an ill-fated trip to revolutionary France. Alone with three young children, Nan faces a bleak future, for there is no money left. But the strength of will that brought her this far drives her on. A newswalk in Mayfair is her first step towards establishing a business empire that will soon stretch throughout London and beyond.
Ellen Murphy was born to a world of rotting slums and starving children. Determined to escape from poverty and her drunken Irish father, she takes a job as a shop girl on Shoreditch High Street. David Cheifitz is the only son of devout Jewish parents, David has grown up with his future mapped out. But he is an artist and a rebel. When he falls in love with Ellen Murphy, he turns his back on the old ways. But as time passes, life starts to get in the way: religious differences, rejection by David's parents and domestic strife throw up barriers between the newlyweds.
Johnnie Easter takes his family by surprise when he falls in love with Harriet Sowervy. For all his business talent Johnnie is a shy lad, awkward at social events. But when he meets gentle Harriet, beaten into submission by her brutal parents, Johnnie reveals hidden strengths, rescuing his love from her prison-like life and making her his bride. Harriet's love for her rescuer, her hero, her husband, knows no bounds. Surely theirs is a marriage made in heaven?
Unhappy in her life and relationship, Francesca is inspired by her sighting of a mermaid swimming away to freedom to leave her lover and uproot her life. She moves to Lewes to stay with Agnes Potts, her loving, eccentric friend. Francesca begins to paint again with Agnes' encouragement, and when her painting of the mermaid is seen by Henry, a local potter, he takes her into his employment. When Agnes suffers an accident, Francesca must become nurse, chef and companion to her friend.
A big, poignant and heartwarming story of war, flight, a divided family... and the power of love to change lives. In 1926 the Holborn twins, Ginny and her blind sister Emily, disappear from their comfortable home in Wolverhampton. Why? No one knew. Ten years later, aspiring solicitor Charlie Commoner is dispatched to France to track them down. What he finds instead is a mystery, a tragedy and a love affair.
As England basks in the golden years of Queen Victoria's reign, the Easter empire that began half a decade before with Nan Easter's newspaper walk, is growing from strength to strength. But then tragedy strikes, threatening to take all of Nan's hard-earned achievements away. Nan's son and heir, John, is killed an accident, so Nan has to entrust the vital task of running the business to someone else within the family. The natural choice is John's daughter, Caroline.
Born in 1800, George Hudson was raised from farmer’s son to the rich and powerful Lord Mayor of York - friend to royalty and owner of half of the railways in the kingdom. But Hudson was driven by greed as well as ambition and a dark secret lurked within his past - a youthful indiscretion…and an illegitimate child. That child, Milly, has been brought up, quietly and lovingly, by her mother, Jane, who dreams of taking revenge on her careless begetter. By a quirk of fate, both Jane and Milly work in the Hudson household. Will Jane’s revenge be sweet?