Growing up in poverty, one of six siblings, Hannah Armstrong never thought she’d know anything other than her little mining town. But then she falls for Timothy Durkin, a wealthy Oxford student…
Following her heart, Hannah sacrifices everything she holds dear and follows her new husband to Oxford. But will her new life of luxury be everything she expected - or will she find that once a coal miner's daughter, always a coal miner's daughter..?
When we first meet Hannah and her family, she's only a little girl. But hers is not a carefree childhood. She has to take care of household tasks, help out with the younger siblings and make sure the older ones have a bath and meal waiting for them when they get back from a hard days work. And hard work it is. The miner's village is under constant stress of poverty, (failed) union strikes, cuts in hours, jobs and wages.
As the story goes on, we watch Hannah grow into a smart, resourceful woman. Through hard work and determination, she manages to "escape" to the city and find a good job. But with her family at home still struggling very much to make ends meet, nothing is ever sure.
The way Maggie Hope told this story and was able to write a main character from, say, the age of 10-18 is masterful. We saw Hannah as a child, a young girl in her teens and finally a grown up in her own right. But these changes were fluent and she's growing with every chapter you read, without it ever feeling out of tune with the story, or out of character: Hannah stays Hannah. Beautifully done. Very subtle.
I am very sorry for the person or team who designed this cover... but I absolutely hate it. I would probably haven't even looked twice at this wonderful read, just because of it's cover. It makes it look "cheap" and... it doesn't even fit in with the story, where there are 6 Armstrong children, all of them dark haired. The cover simple doesn't do this book justice.
And nor does the blurb actually (which just gets part of the story wrong(!!)). Both cover and blurb missed the mark completely.
I truly enjoyed reading this novel and I would definitely try another one of Maggie Hope's books.