Polly Anna never knew her father, and when her mother died, in poverty, when Polly Anna was just three, the workhouse was the only place for her. Helped by Jonty, a misfit and a cripple who became her best friend, she ran away with the fairground folk and travelled around as a horserider and acrobat - to Appleby Horse Fair, Nottingham Goose Fair and Hull Fair. Her friends became the circus people and the gypsies, and her home the caravans and tents of the travellers. Meanwhile, in a great house in the Yorkshire Wolds, old Mrs Winthrop had never given up hope of finding her daughter, who ran away with a handsome Romany and was never seen again. Young Richard Crossley from the neighbouring estate set out to find the missing daughter, and discovered the colourful world of the fairs and the gypsies. He also discovered Polly Anna - once the waif from the workhouse, and now a fully-fledged Romani Chi - the Romany girl.
Valerie Wood was born in Yorkshire, where she still lives. Her first novel, The Hungry Tide, was the first winner of the Catherine Cookson Prize for Fiction. She is the author of twelve novels, all of which are available in Corgi paperback. Find out more about Valerie Wood's novels by visiting her website on www.valeriewood.co.uk