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On sale

9th May 2024

Price: £16.99

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Selected: Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781802794762

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‘The most authentic new voice in crime fiction’ Martina Cole

Wakefield, 1964.

Life is hardly rosy for Annie Wills – an unhappy upbringing and then married too young with husband Gary soon proving a lazy coward unable to hold down a job, his fists always ready to vent his anger on the world. The one shining star in Annie’s life is her perfect little girl, Maria.

When Gary foolishly ends up in debt to local crime family, the Waltons, the only way for Annie to keep a roof over their heads is to work at one of the Waltons’ drinking clubs. There, for the sake of Maria, Annie does the unthinkable and keeps men happy, night after night.

Maria grows into a stunning teenager who catches the eye of Fred Walton, volatile son of family boss, Ted. Despite Annie’s desperate efforts to protect Maria from this seedy world, the young couple fall into a relationship and inevitably Maria falls pregnant. Fred is furious at the news, lashing out again and again with his hand, his ring with its secret razor tip leaving Maria with deep, livid scars criss-crossing one side of her beautiful face. Annie knows the marks on her daughter’s face will never fade but they will be nothing compared to the trauma Maria will hold deep inside. Annie and Maria simply cannot stay in town.

With Maria’s face wrapped in bandages, they flee to London. Joyce, a fellow prostitute from the Walton’s bar who has recently moved to Stepney, shows mother and daughter the only generosity and kindness they’ve ever known and helps them find a new life in the East End.

But the secrets left behind in Wakefield fester. And while Annie and Maria may be finished with their hometown, the Waltons are far from finished with them.