Thursday, March 25, 2021

Girl with Secrets by Carol Rivers - Book Tour

 Girl with Secrets

A coming of age war story and family saga full of romance, mystery and danger in London’s East End. From the Sunday Times and ebook bestselling author of the Lizzie Flowers series and A Wartime Christmas comes a gripping NEW coming-of-age saga about love, loyalties and secrets.


'Surely one of the best saga writers of her time' – Rosie Clarke

1938, East London. Nine year old Daisy Purbright is a country girl at heart and together with beloved brother Bobby, they’ve enjoyed the endless freedoms of rural England.

But when her father gambles the family’s fortunes on a speculative investment in London’s docklands, Daisy and her family are swept up into the intrigue, danger and excitement.Desperately the Purbrights attempt to settle to a new life in the East End, but the whisperings of war grow louder.

Then, one late afternoon in September 1940, Adolf Hitler conducts a paralysing bombardment on London and war tightens its grip. Life changes dramatically and closely guarded secrets threaten the Purbrights’ happiness.

Can Daisy and her family survive one of the most fateful events of the 20th century?

Perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Pam Howes, Rosie Clarke and Dilly Court.


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Does she love him, do you think Mrs Hayes? I mean she should, shouldnt she, if theyre going to be married?Following Mrs Hayess instructions, Daisy idly spooned sugar into the white china bowl. Having escaped to the factory with Pops and Matt, Daisy was now in her element, discussing factory politics. In this instance, Daisy’s attention had been riveted on a young woman operating a small lathe and the much older man who hovered over her.

Whos to tell, ducks?Mrs Hayes raised her voice above the thunder of every cog, wheel and oiled machine racing towards the tea break in fifteen minutes time. As round as a barrel and only a few inches above Daisys own height, the tea-ladys well-worked fingers adjusted the flowered turban squashed over her frizzy grey hair.

Above them, the cavernous factory roof rebounded the roars, grunts and groans of the great mechanical arms and legs - as Daisy often thought of them - that built  electrical apparatus. Fifty men and thirty-seven women worked in this storm of dust, perpetual noise and invisible energy. But it was Mrs Hayess commentary that fascinated her the most; a cocktail of courtings, engagements, marriages, tiffs, trials and domestic tribulations.

Mrs Hayes was the one person in all the world who answered her questions fully. They were answers that Daisy could understand; not wrapped up in long words. Things like who on the factory floor was walking out. Who was suffering heartbreak. Or who had recently had a brother or sister or someone in the family locked away in prison. Or banished to the country for nine months.

Forty years Ive been here, man and boy,Mrs Hayes continued. I worked under old Mr Charles before your Uncle Ed took over five years ago. I know every face on the floor, my ducks, and each of those faces has a story to tell. See, sometimes people dont marry for love. Theres dramas going on youd never suspect from the outside.

But Mrs Hayes, decided Daisy, had guessed all the dramas and was privy to the most intimate of details. Elsie Shiner and Joe Rawlings,’ the tea lady continued, ‘only got engaged last year. Threw a right old shindig at Joe’s house. Stopped by for half an hour and enjoyed a stout.

But Elsies young and pretty and Joe’s old,Daisy protested. ‘They don’t seem to match.’

Takes all sorts, my ducks. But yes, youre right. Must be twenty years her senior.

Elsie likes that other man.Daisy had been watching from the small recess where the tea trolley was stored. Pretty Elsie was certainly not looking at Joe, her intended, but at a handsome young man who worked on the assembly line nearby.

Oh, him,replied Mrs Hayes with a disapproving frown. Micky Wolf.

Micky Wolf looks at Elsie like Matt looks at Amelia.

You mean your brother and his girly friend?

Amelia is young and pretty too.

The older lady smiled knowingly. Dont all depend on looks, no, not at all. Trouble is, when youre young you dont see that.

Im never getting married, Daisy declared firmly.

Hold the jug steady for me, my ducks.

Instead, Im going to catch a ship,’ Daisy confided. ‘How would I get one to stop, do you think, Mrs Hayes?

Thats it, closer or Ill spill the tea.Mrs Hayes licked a drip from the tip of her finger. First, youd need a big cabin trunk for all your clothes. Then something called a passport. And most important of all, your sea legs.

My sea legs?’ Daisy looked down at her feet. Why not the ones Ive got?

Sea legs are different to land ones. No sense in me explaining; you’ll know what sea legs are the minute you find you haven’t got them.

This complicated mystery remained unsolved as Mrs Hayes lumped a firm hand on Daisys shoulder. Now, my ducks, make scarce of yourself while Im on me rounds.

Ill go and visit Aunt Betty.

Remember to knock on her office door first.

Whys that?

Gives the person time to put a smile on their face.

Mrs Hayes disappeared with the clanking trolley and Daisy ran up the stairs towards the covered walkway. It was cold and draughty compared to the stuffy workplace she had just left, so she skipped along the dirty floorboards to keep warm. At the end of the corridor she squeezed through the flimsy partition leading to the offices.

At the door marked Secretary she paused and remembering Mrs Hayes’s warning, was about to knock when she saw it was slightly ajar. Quietly she positioned herself for the best view inside the room. Aunt Bettys tall, slender figure stood at the window. Beside her - very close beside her - stood Mr Calder, whom Daisy knew to be the accounts manager.

Betty, you must think of an excuse to get away from him,he said urgently.

Its not that simple, Neville,replied Aunt Betty. I rarely go out in the evenings without Ed.

Not even to a friends?

Aunt Betty stroked back a curl of her short dark hair as Mr Calder stepped closer. Neville, please dont - not here.’

Daisy held her breath as Mr Calder did - almost - what Matt had done to Amelia. That thing with their lips nearly meeting.

Daisy gave a little choke of surprise. Aunt Betty quickly stepped back and Mr Calder bent down to the desk.

Ill take these papers with me,he said in a formal voice. Thank you Mrs Purbright.

Of course, Mr Calder,replied Aunt Betty. ‘Good morning.’

Daisy scurried away as fast as her feet would take her. Retracing her steps along the walkway she was sure she hadn’t been seen.

When eventually she rejoined Mrs Hayes, she had come to the conclusion that it was very odd to find her aunt and a strange man standing so close to one another. If Mr Calder was not deaf - and surely he was too young to be hard of hearing -  then what excuse was there for his behaviour?

After turning this over in her mind, it became clear to Daisy that she did not care for Mr Calder at all and didnt see how Aunt Betty could like him either!

Author Bio

Mum and Dad were both East Enders who were born on the famous or should I say the then infamous Isle of Dogs. Their family were immigrants who travelled to the UK from Ireland and France, while others emigrated to America.

As a child I would listen to the adults spinning their colourful stories, as my cousins and I drank pop under the table.

I know the seeds of all my stories come from those far off times that feel like only yesterday. So I would like to say a big heartfelt thank you to all my family and ancestors wherever you are now ... UK, Ireland, France or America, as you've handed down to me the magic and love of story telling.

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