When Evie Kilgaren takes over the running of the back office at Skinner and Son’s haulage yard, she has no idea she is walking into a hive of blackmail, secrets and lies.
Her fellow co-worker and childhood nemesis, Susie Blackthorn, is outraged at being demoted and is hell-bent on securing the affections of local heartthrob Danny Harris.
Grace Harris, a singer on the prestigious D’Angelo transatlantic ocean liners, is returning home engaged to be married. But Grace is harbouring her own shocking secrets and something valuable her fiancé very desperately wants back.
As we return to the lives and loves of those who live and work in the Mersey Docklands, not everything is as it seems and love and luck are rarely on the same side.
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
The second book in the Reckoner’s Row series is another gripping family saga focusing on the women and their lives in 1950s Liverpool. The story has moved on. Evie has an office job with prospects at the haulage yard where she discovers inconsistencies that need solving. Susie resents Evie and is determined to make trouble. Grace has a more glamorous life as a cruise ship singer, but life is about to get complicated.
The characters are believable and draw you into their story. The plot has a touch of mystery, romance and many poignant moments. There is a good sense of place and time, and the historical details bring the story to life.
This is an enthralling saga, which involves the reader in the characters’ lives and makes what happens matter to the reader.
Extract from The Mersey Girls – Sheila Riley
Another performance ended with a standing ovation and the thunderous applause rang in her ears as, straightening her spine, Grace stood taller, flicked back her abundance of chestnut curls, and dipped a curtsey before leaving the stage. She would take a walk round the deck before turning in for an early night, but first she must feel the balmy breeze waft through her hair, let her thoughts wander…
Grace gave a small gasp of surprise. She hadn’t seen the figure sitting alone at a nearby table. She felt her heart flip when she recognised Bruce D’Angelo, the son and heir of the man who owned the shipping line, was speaking to her.
‘It’s such a wonderful night I thought I’d take in the sights.’ Grace smiled, professionally friendly, like an air hostess, or an assistant in a high-class store.
‘Such a wonderful night for a beautiful lady,’ he said, rising from the chair.
‘I bet you say that to all the girls, you smooth talker,’ she replied, noticing he stood with the aid of a barley-twist walking stick in one hand, and held out his other hand towards her.
‘Bruce D’Angelo,’ he said, as if needing to introduce himself, and Grace realised she was staring when he explained, ‘war wound, shrapnel hit my leg and broke my thigh bone in three places, the doc said I was lucky to walk again.’
‘So, you’re quite determined, then?’ The words slipped effortlessly from her lips and his smile was somewhat apologetic. ‘Why are you sitting here, alone, with just a book for company? Everyone else is having a good time.’
‘I might ask you the same thing,’ Bruce said, as the smile in his voice matched the twinkle in his chocolate-brown eyes. ‘I’m just a guy who likes reading more than partying. What’s your excuse?’
‘I’m just a girl who likes her own company sometimes.’ Realising she may have overstepped the mark, she said, ‘Sorry, my mouth opens without engaging my brain. Sometimes, even I don’t know what’s going to come out of it.’
His laugh was an easy-going rumble that made her glad he hadn’t taken offence.
‘You were terrific tonight, as always.’ His accent was Ivy League with a touch of Southern charm and Grace began to relax. ‘I was here, listening.’ His friendliness gave Grace the confidence to jest.
‘Don’t tell me you’re stuck out here ’cause you’ve got no mates?’ she said in the broad Liverpool dialect that she had trained herself to lose over the years and was amused when his brow furrowed.
‘I have not got the faintest idea what you just said.’ Bruce laughed, and Grace laughed too. ‘Champagne?’ he asked, nodding to summon a waiter, and pulled out a chair for her to join him. The crew would be eager to know what it was like drinking the finest, most expensive champagne with Bruce D’Angelo.
Sheila Riley wrote four #1 bestselling novels under the pseudonym Annie Groves and is now writing a new saga trilogy under her own name. She has set it around the River Mersey and its docklands near to where she spent her early years. She still lives in Liverpool.