When Jessica Price was a little girl, her father, a shoemender, gave her a beautiful new pair of shoes with a sixpence hidden in the toe of one. From the fairies, he explained: 'For luck, and to say you have far to go in life.' But in this captivating novel set in working-class Leeds in the 1920s, it is Jess who, with her generous heart, makes her own luck. Growing up in the aftermath of the Great War, Jess is torn between her hen-pecked father and cantankerous, ambitious mother. For amusement she creates alternative fairy-tales - mixing glass slippers, seven league boots and red dancing shoes - while submitting to her mother's strict Catholic upbringing. Following a disastrous spell as housekeeper to the local priest, she then works happily in the office of her uncle's shoe factory and falls in love with her childhood soul-mate and adopted cousin, Wilf, who dreams of being a great artist and sculptor. But it is only when she has to rescue her godchild, Leila, from an orphanage that Jess's path is truly set, allowing her to step into an enchanted future. A story of courage, loyalty and enduring love, SIXPENCE IN HER SHOE is told with wonderful humour and verve.Frances McNeil's great gift is to show us that every life is magical - not just those in fairy-tales - and that at the heart of every person is a search for home.
Frances McNeil was born and brought up in Leeds. She worked as a shorthand typist in New York and London, and read English and History at York University. She returned to Leeds where she works as a lecturer. She has also written for radio, theatre and television.