Handsome Frank Rossi took Matty Gilbie away from her working class roots in East London, promising her fame and fortune. As his wife, she would be half of a power couple. But the Wall Street Crash puts paid to all that, and as Frank becomes more violent, Matty flees in the dead of night. Once home in Bermondsey, she goes into hiding, but Frank is on the move, determined to find her and get her back.
Three sisters in 1920s struggle to make ends meet and protect their mother from their violent father. Milly works in Southwells jam factory. Elsie dreams of a career on the stage, while little Amy runs wild with her friends. All three of the girls fear the unforgiving temper of their father and their courageous attempts to protect their defenseless mother will have dramatic, disastrous consequences for them all.
The year is 1906, and on the shores of Lake Michigan 12-year-old Violet Blake unearths an ancient talisman - a copper hand. Violet's touch warms the copper hand and it begins to reveal glimpses of another time. Violet is certain that the copper hand is magic - and if anyone is in need of its powers, it's Violet. Her mother and adored baby brother are gone, perhaps never to return. Her heartbroken father can't seem to sustain the failing farm on the outskirts of Pigeon Harbor, on the shores of Lake Michigan.
"Delightful storytelling at its best"
They call them the custard tarts - the girls who work at Pearce Duff's custard powder factory in Bermondsey before the First World War. Conditions are hard but nothing can quench the spirit of humour and friendship. But the shadow of the coming war looms over them; it will pull London's East End together as never before - even while it tears the world apart.
As London goes up in flames during the Blitz, two sisters from Bermondsey find their lives changed out of all recognition.... When a bombing raid destroys nearly everything she holds dear, May joins the ATS and becomes a gunner girl. Peggy, May's elder sister, is trapped in a stifling marriage, yet amid the chaos of war, a route to freedom beckons. From war will come hardship and tragedy as well as new, unexpected friendships and love affairs.