Tilly Trotter has devotedly served Mark Sopwith at Highfield Manor for twelve years. His wife in all but name, theirs is a scandalous yet happy arrangement. But when Mark dies Tilly is left pregnant with his illegitimate child. Cast out of the manor house by Mark's spiteful grown-up daughter, Tilly is forced to face the prejudices of the local village. No stranger to hardship, she makes do as best she can but when a villager's vicious attack leaves her baby son, Willy, half blind she knows that it's time to leave her native Tyneside. A new love seems to offer an escape and so she follows her heart to America, sure that this will be the beginning of a better life. But new perils await Tilly across the ocean!.
Dame Catherine Cookson began writing novels when she was forty and has had nearly one hundred books published. In her twenties she moved to Hastings where, after the tragic loss of four babies and a mental breakdown, she began to use her experiences in the North East as the inspiration for novels which have sold over one hundred million copies around the world. In 1976 she returned to Northumberland with her husband Tom and continued to write almost up to her death in 1998.