Published by Zaffre
Ebook and Paperback (18 April 2019)
My thanks to Ellen of Bonnier Zaffre for the invitation to take part in the tour. It’s no secret that the author of The Daughters of Ironbridge is historical fiction novelist Rebecca Mascull (whose books I have loved and which are reviewed on the blog) and although I haven’t had time to read and review this one yet (my purchased copy only arrived yesterday), I couldn’t say no to taking part in the tour. I have been given an extract to share but first here’s the bit about the book.
About the Book
Perfect for fans of Maggie Hope and Katie Flynn – the first in a heartwarming new series set against an ironworks in 1830s Shropshire, by debut saga author Mollie Walton.
Anny Woodvine’s family has worked at the ironworks for as long as she can remember. The brightest child in her road and the first in her family to learn to read, Anny has big dreams. So, when she is asked to run messages for the King family, she grabs the opportunity with both hands.
Margaret King is surrounded by privilege and wealth. But behind closed doors, nothing is what it seems. When Anny arrives, Margaret finds her first ally and friend. Together they plan to change their lives.
But as disaster looms over the ironworks, Margaret and Anny find themselves surrounded by secrets and betrayal. Can they hold true to each other and overcome their fate? Or are they destined to repeat the mistakes of the past?
The iron bridge glimmered in the moonlight. A woman trudged across it, carrying a precious package. She could barely walk, one foot dragging as she struggled to place it before the other, dry leaves crisping underfoot, her pale face wincing with every step. She peered up at the full moon, took some distant hope from it and looked down at the face of her child, asleep in her arms, wrapped in rags. She tucked the cloth tighter around her tiny baby, trying to protect it as best she could from the autumn chill. She could feel its bones. It was thin, too thin and too quiet. She had given her child every ounce of milk she could but it had dried up. She was too hungry herself to nourish her child. Weak and exhausted, she knew she could not go much further. With all of her will, she reached the centre of the bridge. The centre-piece stated the date it was built: 1779. Fifty-five years ago, just over a half century, since the town itself began to bloom alongside its namesake. Her master had been a boy then, a spoilt boy no doubt; that family always spoiled their children. It was why they all turned out that way, all turned out bad. She looked down at her babe in arms again.
‘Not you, little’un,’ she whispered, her throat hoarse from thirst. ‘You’ll be different. You’ll be sunlight, not moonlight.’
She kissed her child’s head and looked up at the imposing mansion, built on iron money, that loomed above the town, above the bridge, above them all. If only she could keep going. But her legs were now as heavy and immovable as stone. She had come to the limit of her endurance, the final shred of her strength gone. She heard footsteps. She looked up to see a man in a broad hat walking purposefully across the bridge. He was coming towards her and he was talking to her.
‘Good woman,’ he was saying, can I assist ‘ee?’
Good woman, she thought. I was a good girl, once.
Her thighs were shaking. She felt her knees buckle. ‘Will you help me, sir?’ she croaked. ‘Please, hold my baby as I canna stand no longer.’
The man, who she now saw wore the simple, curious clothes of a Quaker, came to her quickly and took the child. The moment the weight of her warm bundle was lifted from her, it was as if her body knew before her mind did that it was time to rest. She felt her legs give way and the bridge came up quickly, the ground smacking her face with a hard, iron slap. She heard her child whimper in the kind man’s arms. It was the last sound she heard.
About the Author
She has always been fascinated by history and on a trip to Shropshire, while gazing down from the iron bridge, found the inspiration for what has become her debut saga novel, part of a trilogy titled THE IRONBRIDGE SAGA, published by Bonnier Zaffre. She is currently hard at work on the three books, with the first novel due for release in April 2019, set in the dangerous world of the iron industry: THE DAUGHTERS OF IRONBRIDGE.
Rebecca has previously worked in education, has a Masters in Writing and lives by the sea in the east of England.