There are some things which even the closest friendship cannot survive.... Neighbours Edie Kelsey and Lil Horton have been friends for more than twenty years, sharing the joys and sorrows of tough lives as the wives of fishermen in Grimsby. So it was no surprise that their children were close and that Edie's son, Frank, and Lil's daughter, Irene, would fall in love and marry at a young age. But the declaration of war in 1939 changes everything.
Emily Ryan has gone up in the world since her arrival in Sheffield. Brought there by her mother's ambitious schemes for her brother, Josh, she had found work as a buffer girl polishing cutlery for the city's famous trade. With the help of a friend, Nell, Emily eventually set up her own buffing business, employing those with whom she had once worked. Married to Thomas Trippet - Trip to his friends - they plan to build a life together, but when Lucy, Nell's daughter, disappears, it seems that the menace from the past is never very far away.
When Florrie Maltby defies her father by refusing to marry Gervase Richards, she sets off a chain of events that will alter her life. Instead she goes to London and becomes involved with the suffragette movement. She's imprisoned for her militant actions, and goes on hunger strike. With her health deteriorating, there is one person who can save her - Gervase. After a brief stay in the countryside to recuperate, Florrie returns to London to continue her fight for women's rights. Only the outbreak of the Great War puts a halt to her activities....
A young girl stands alone in the cobbled market place of a small Lincolnshire town, bedraggled, soaked through and very afraid. Who is she? Where has she come from and from whom is she running away? No one knows or cares. Only kindly farmer, Eddie Appleyard, recognises something in the girl that touches his heart. In a drunken haze and scarcely realising what he is doing, Eddie takes her home even though his wife is a tyrant, who will believe the worst.
Hannah Francis has been forced to leave her beloved mother and the life she knows in the silk mill town of Macclesfield and is set to become an apprentice at a cotton mill in the Derbyshire dales. It is a cruel blow for such a young girl, but her three travelling companions are even younger than she is, and Hannah is determined to keep their spirits up and remain in good cheer.
Charlotte is an only child, reared by a brutal father who cannot forgive her for not being the son he desires. Loved by most that she meets, Charlotte has a gift for friendship, and it is her work as a Sunday School teacher that gives her hope - and an escape from home. When Charlotte meets Miles Thornton, she is instantly drawn to him. He is new to the area and a widower, with three lovely young sons to look after but the one thing he has longed for is a daughter. As they grow to understand each other, it seems that Miles and Charlotte have more in common that meets the eye.…
Rose and Myrtle Sylvester look up to their older sister, Peggy. She is the sensible, reliable one in the household of women headed by their grandmother, Grace Booth, and their mother, Mary Sylvester. When war is declared in 1939 they must face the hardships together and huge changes in their lives are inevitable. For Rose, there is the chance to fulfil her dream of becoming a clippie on Sheffield's trams like Peggy. But for Myrtle, the studious, clever one in the family, war may shatter her ambitions.
Fleur Bosley didn't believe in love at first sight, at least not until she bumped into Robbie Rodwell on a railway station in the blackout of wartime Britain. Posted to a newly built Lincolnshire airfield, Robbie as a wireless operator on bombers and Fleur as an R/T operator in the watch office, their only escape is to the little cottage in the nearby village where Fleur is billeted with another WAAF, Ruth. The two girls become good friends, but Ruth, already hurt by the loss of one of the pilots, does not approve of wartime romances.
A matter of honour. A sense of duty. A time for courage. Ruthlessly ambitious Ambrose Constantine is determined that his daughter, Annabel, shall marry into the nobility. A self-made trawler owner and fish merchant, he has only his wealth to buy his way into Society. When Annabel’s secret meetings with a young man employed at her father’s offices stop suddenly, she finds that Gilbert has mysteriously disappeared.
It's 1919 in Ashford-in-the-Water, Derbyshire. The Ryan family are adjusting to life in the aftermath of the First World War. Walter has returned home a broken man, and so it falls to his son, Josh, and daughter, Emily, to do their best to keep their family business as the village candle makers going. Josh and Emily are great friends with Thomas 'Trip' Trippet, whose father owns a cutlery manufacturing company in Sheffield, and Amy Clark, daughter of the local blacksmith.
Abandoned outside an orphanage as a newborn baby, spirited Maddie March has had to fight her way through life. So when she finds a home at Few Farm with Frank Brackenbury and his household, she welcomes the chance for a fresh start. Work on the farm is hard, but believing herself truly loved for the first time in her young life by the farmer's son, Michael, even the animosity of the housekeeper Mrs Trowbridge cannot mar Maddie's newfound happiness.
For twelve-year-old Mary Ann Clark life has always been tough. The pretty daughter of a wife-beating drunk, it is no surprise that she has grown up afraid of her own shadow. That is until 'Battling Bessie Ruddick' takes the young girl under her wing and into the heart of her bustling family. Growing into an attractive young woman, Mary Ann yearns to be loved and when her affection for Bessie's son, Dan, is finally returned and she becomes a skipper's wife.
For Eveleen Hardcastle life gets no better than growing up on Pear Tree Farm in the Lincolnshire countryside. Her family works hard for the Dunsmore estate and Eveleen finds it impossible to resist the charms of their employer's son, Stephen Dunsmore. But Jimmy, ever quick to antagonize, ensures that his sister's clandestine trysts do not remain so for long. Mary Hardcastle reacts to the news of her daughter's affair with a shocking ferocity, which seems to be borm more of bitterness than maternal protectiveness.
It is 1914, and Eveleen Hardcastle, now in in her early thirties, has married Richard. As the First World War breaks out, Eveleen, a sophisticated young woman, is left to manage the factory while Richard goes off to fight for his country. Eveleen's mother Mary has found happiness at last in her marriage to Josh. Her young granddaughter, Bridie, still lives at home, and is beautiful, but has a spirited, strong will which her grandmother finds hard to control.
Kathy Burton longs to escape the drudgery of her life as an unpaid labourer on her father's farm. With only the local church choir and the occasional dance at the village hall for amusement, she yearns for the bright lights. Spurning Morry Robinson's proposal of marriage, Kathy goes to live in the city with his aunt, Jemima Robinson. In turn, she finds employment for Kathy in a department store, but is anxious when Kathy is captivated by the sophisticated and handsome floor manager, Tony Kendall.
Polly Longden's china-doll looks belie a strong and fiery personality. When typhoid strikes her home city of Lincoln, she needs every ounce of that strength in order to cope. With the death of her mother, thirteen-year-old Polly has to give up her ambition of becoming a teacher to care for her family. When their father, too, falls victim to the typhoid, his only hope is to go to hospital, leaving Polly to cope alone. Thankfully she has the support of her neighbours: Bertha Halliday and her son, Leo, a young policeman.
Is it possible for a 10-year-old girl to fall in love? Jenny Mercer thinks so. Evacuated to Lincolnshire from the East End of London at the outbreak of war, she is frightened of the wide-open spaces and the huge skies. But the kindly Thornton family soon makes her feel welcome. And no one more so than Georgie, the handsome RAF fighter pilot who is caught up in the battle for Britain's survival. When Georgie is posted missing, presumed dead, Jenny is devastated.
Kathy Burton longs to escape the drudgery of her life as an unpaid labourer on her father's farm. With only the local church choir and the occasional dance at the village hall for amusement, she yearns for the bright lights.
For 12-year-old Mary Ann Clark life has always been tough. The pretty daughter of a wife-beating drunk, it is no surprise that she has grown up afraid of her own shadow. That is until "Battling Bessie Ruddick" takes the young girl under her wing and into the heart of her bustling family.
Abandoned outside an orphanage as a newborn baby, spirited Maddie Marsh has had to fight her way through life. So when she finds a home at Few Farm with Frank Brackenbury and his household, she welcomes the chance for a fresh start.