Annie Swinburn had killed a man - the killing was timely and well-deserved, for Francis Morton had been evil in every possible way. But Annie knew that however justified her crime, only the rope and the gibbet awaited her if she remained in the slums of Hull. And so she ran - up river, along the wild and secretive paths of the great Humber - a new and unfamiliar territory which was to lead her into a new and unfamiliar life.
It is the late 1850s, and a tired woman holding a baby walks from Hull to one of the big houses in Anlaby - the home of the wealthy Rayners. She knocks at the door and shoves the baby at young James Rayner. The father was 'young Mr Rayner', and the mother is dead. Then she vanishes. The respectable shipping family of Hull are shattered.
"Very Sad 😕"
Sarah Foster's parents have been fighting a constant battle with poverty, disease and crime. When her father, Will, is involved in a terrible accident at work, their lives became even harder. But Will's good deeds of the past pay off as John Rayner decides to rescue the Fosters. John provides them with work and a house on the estate owned by his wealthy family.
When Lucy's parents are killed in a train crash, her kindly uncle steps in to look after the little girl - to the initial apprehension of his wife and her son. However, Lucy's sweet, spirited charm slowly wins over her new family, and as she overcomes the trauma of her childhood, she grows up inspired to become a doctor, just like her father. But studying medicine in London takes Lucy far from her home in Hull and the people she loves, and she has to battle to be accepted in a man's world.
Holderness, 1846.For reliable, thirteen-year-old Bella, life isn’t turning out quite as she’d hoped. She lives at the Woodman Inn – an ancient hostelry run by her family in the Yorkshire countryside – surrounded by two older brothers who never pull their weight and a flighty younger sister. When Bella learns not only that her father is seriously ill, but that her mother is expecting a fifth child, her dreams of leaving home to become a schoolteacher are quickly dashed.
Rosa grew up an orphan in a remote, watery island fastness on the wild East coast of Yorkshire. Taken in as a small child by the motherly Mrs Drew, she realised as she grew up that this large and seemingly close farming family contained many troubled souls: Mr Drew, whose religious fervour held a dark secret; Jim, the eldest son, who was terrified of something from his past; Delia, longing to escape from the island; and tall, handsome, confident Matthew, who wanted only one thing - Rosa herself.
1860: Harriet Miles is trying to take care of her seriously ill mother, and just when she thinks things couldn’t get any worse she is fired from her job at the hostelry. The last thing she expects after her mother dies is a marriage proposal from a man she barely knows, but her only alternative is the workhouse. And so begins her new life with Noah Tuke. But instead of marital bliss, Harriet finds herself in the cramped farmhouse Noah calls home, and in this overcrowded and angry household she meets with hostility and bitterness. The only person who offers her friendship is Noah’s brother, Fletcher.
Can two friends find hope in hard times? Ruby and Grace have grown up in the poorest slums of Hull. Friends since early childhood, they have supported each other in bad times and good. But their families are bound together by more than friendship, and secrets from the past threaten to make their lives even more difficult. The local cotton mill has provided work for Ruby and Grace since they were nine years old, and now, years later, both girls find themselves the objects of attention from the mill owner's sons.
When Polly Anna's mother died when she was just three years old, it seemed the workhouse was the only place for her to go. But with the help of Jonty - a young misfit who soon became her best friend - she managed to escape, running away with the fairground folk. She became a horserider and acrobat, travelling all around the country. Her friends became the circus people, and her home the caravans and travellers' tents.
Scarborough, 1880. Young Jeannie spends her days watching her mother and the other harbour girls sitting at the water's edge - mending nets, gutting herring - and waiting for her friend Ethan Wharton to come in on his father's fishing smack. As she was growing up, Jeannie always expected to marry Ethan, who is loyal and dependable. But then she meets Harry - a stranger who has come to visit from Hull for the day - and she falls for him.
Harriet and Fletcher Tuke have worked hard to raise their children well. Daniel, the eldest son, has always accepted that his birth father died soon after he was born, and Fletcher has raised Daniel as his own. But as Daniel comes of age and begins to fall in love with childhood friend Beatrice Hart, he can’t help but wonder about his heritage – his olive skin and dark eyes reminding him daily of the difference between him and his siblings, and between his and Beatrice’s families.
Margriet grew up as a lonely child in the old town of Hull. Her adored father often travelled by sea to the Netherlands, leaving her with an unaffectionate mother and only her imagination of a little Dutch girl to keep her company. When tragedy struck and her father's ship went down in a storm, devastation ravaged her tiny family. A few years later, Margriet is blossoming into a kind young lady. Keen to escape her mother and strike out on her own, she forms an unlikely friendship with some of the street children.