Written by Jane Sanderson
Review by Rachel A Hyde

Eve Williams is a happily married miner’s wife; her husband works in Lord Netherwood’s coal mine. When tragedy occurs, she is forced to find a way to earn her own living and look after her three children. Meanwhile, up at the big house his lordship has his own problems with his rakish son and a wayward daughter who wants to help her father run his mines. The two worlds are about to collide…

I’m not normally a fan of what I call “clog and shawl”, nor did I enjoy Downton Abbey (which it is purported to resemble), but I do have to admit to being entertained by this atypically upbeat tale. I particularly liked the way in which some clichés were neatly sidestepped. For example, Lord Netherwood is a credible character that is neither the invariable cruel mine owner nor an unbelievable philanthropist, while Eve makes for a delightfully headstrong and determined protagonist. Eve is firmly centre-stage throughout, and thus there is more about her and the world of the mineworkers than about what is going on at the hall. I felt that this whole novel had a “Book One” feel about it with much more in the offing concerning other characters. Certainly, many loose ends are left hanging, and many of the other characters’ stories start but are not continued in any meaningful manner. However, throughout the book, there is always plenty of interest going on, and I would certainly eagerly read a second instalment. You certainly do not need to be a fan of Downton Abbey or sagas to enjoy this one; in fact, it probably helps more if you don’t for the reasons given above.