About the book
1941 Mulberry Lane, London. War rages but new life brings new hope. Perfect for fans of Katie Flynn and Cathy Sharp.
Times are hard for all on Mulberry Lane as the war rages into yet another year. Desperate times push people into dangerous situations, and the residents of Mulberry Lane are not exempt.
Menacing shadows lurk on dark street corners, threatening the safety of those who are alone and vulnerable. When Peggy’s twins are born early Maureen and Nellie are there to lend a helping hand.
The mothers of Mulberry Lane stick together despite the grim conditions of war torn London and a shadowy fear that stalks their lives. Neighbours and friends look out for each other and new life brings hope and joy to the Lane.
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Anne was smiling to herself when she left Peggy half an hour later. They’d had a laugh and a chat and Anne had left believing life was at last taking a turn for the better. She’d been feeling listless and bored for ages after her affair with a married man had come to an end, and then she’d been shifted about all over the country for her job. It was good to be settled in London again and living near to friends.
Peggy was always ready with the teapot and a piece of cake, even though she had her own troubles with her husband estranged and living somewhere in Scotland. Anne thought of her almost as a sister and admired her. Peggy was in her early forties and heavily pregnant; already a grandmother to her daughter Janet’s child, Maggie, she seemed to make nothing of having another child, although her son and daughter were now adults.
Maureen Hart, another of Anne’s close friends, lived just round the corner in her grandmother’s house now. She’d been married for just over a month and seemed very happy with her nursing and looking after her new husband’s daughter, Shirley, because he was away serving in the army – and of course, she was pregnant herself, rather more than a month. She’d told Anne the truth, asking her to keep it private, because she and Gordon wanted people to think the baby was his when it came. Gordon was a decent man and Anne had never seen Maureen as happy as she was when she married him. He’d been patient, carrying a torch for her when she’d thought the father of her baby, Rory Mackness, was the man she loved, and when he’d let her down again, Gordon had asked her to marry him, promising to care for the new baby as his own.
Maureen was really lucky to have found love, Anne thought and sighed. She suspected it was pretty much the same for Peggy. She’d never told Anne about her affair with the young American, but working in the bar Anne had seen the way Able looked at Peggy and envied his adoration. It must be wonderful to be loved so much.
Poor Able Ronoscki had gone missing when the light plane he’d been travelling in had disappeared over the British Channel. Peggy had been recorded as his next of kin and that told Anne of his love for her. Although Peggy hadn’t chosen to talk about it, Anne understood the temptation that her friend must have felt to snatch at the chance for love and happiness when any of them could die at any moment. After the devastation of the Blitz, when London had been bombed night after night, the shortages of all the small luxuries they’d once taken for granted and the strict rationing, life was precious and everyone must take what they could when the opportunity arose.
Anne wished she might have the chance to find love again. In her heart, she’d known that the affair with the headmaster of her old school wouldn’t last. She’d been foolish to listen to his stories of loneliness and needing her. If he’d truly been willing to leave his wife, it might have been different – but he wasn’t, when it came to it, and since then Anne hadn’t really met anyone she cared for. She’d thought she might have earlier in the year, but in the end, it hadn’t worked out. It meant she was on her own again with no one to take her dancing or buy her flowers for her birthday, and despite a job she loved and lots of friends, she was often lonely. With most of the younger men away fighting this awful war, there wasn’t much chance of her finding anyone young and single.
Sighing, Anne walked into the house at the end of the lane. Mavis Basset was putting the kettle on and smiled at her as she entered the kitchen. She was a woman in her sixties, grey-haired, small and slightly bent over; she had on a blue and white pinafore over her dress and blue slippers on her feet. She wore a fine grey hairnet over tight curls and a pair of pink-rimmed glasses on the end of her nose, and she smelled of lavender water.
‘Here you are then, Miss Riley,’ she said. ‘I’m making a cup of tea if you’d care for one – and I could cook you a couple of veggie sausages and some mashed potato, if you would like it. I’m going to have some myself.’
‘Thank you very much for the offer, but I’m not hungry,’ Anne said. ‘I ate my lunch at school and I have some marking to do before I go to Peggy’s this evening.’
‘Oh, well, if you’re busy,’ Mavis Basset said and looked disappointed. ‘You’ll have a cup of tea?’
Anne felt obliged. She’d just had one with Peggy, and she would have something light to eat at the pub later with a drink, but she couldn’t refuse the elderly lady, who, she suspected, had been rather lonely for quite some time. ‘Yes, I’d love a cup of tea,’ she said. ‘I’ll buy a packet of tea leaves and some sugar tomorrow and that will make it more fair. I usually just have toast and marmalade or a muffin in the mornings, if I can get them, so I shan’t be much trouble to you, Mrs Basset.’
‘No…’ Mavis looked regretful. ‘Well, you must do just as you like, Miss Riley – or may I call you Anne?’
‘Of course you may, and I’ll call you Mavis,’ Anne said and sat down at the table. ‘After all, we’re going to be friends, aren’t we?’
About the author
Rosie is happily married and lives in a quiet village in East Anglia. Writing books is a passion for Rosie, she also likes to read, watch good films and enjoys holidays in the sunshine. She loves shoes and adores animals, especially squirrels and dogs.