A Sequel to ‘The Last Ballad’
Now available for Kindle here
Driven from Weardale by poverty and idealism, young lead miner Tommy Emerson takes work at Hetton-le-Hole colliery. Expecting to be welcomed among his fellow Primitive Methodists, he is dismayed to meet with anger and hatred. For the work he has so eagerly taken is strike-breaking, and they are the dispossessed union leaders.
Only collier’s daughter Matty Grey brightens Tommy’s lonely life in hostile, grimy Hetton, so far from the green hills of Weardale. But if Matty, fiercely loyal to the union, ever learns the truth about Tommy, she will abandon him – or worse.
Trapped in a vicious cycle of distrust, deception and disease, anguished by the irreconcilable gulf between himself and Matty, Tommy faces the utmost test of his faith, endurance – and love…
A taster from this book:
Matty seized the bread from the oven and clutched it to her all the way back to the house, where she flung it on the table before her startled mother and then ran without stopping to the brow of the hill. From there she could see the road winding down into the valley and up again, and the men marching on it. Along the roadside, from every house and alley, women and children came running to wave and cheer, their voices mingling with the high brassy notes of the band and the joyous singing of the men.
Overhead the silken banners shimmered and rippled in the brisk March wind, blue and red and gold against a sky paling with the evening. Silver gulls wheeled far above the golden specks of celandines, bright on the new green of the roadside grass. Even this late in the day the sun was warm.
The winter was over, the long months of darkness and cold, the fear and suffering, the stench of disease and death. Pride and hope had returned to them with the spring. Matty stood on tiptoe, watching the column of men come steadily nearer, and felt her breath catch in her throat.