Valerie Wood is very good at what she does, with a specific style which permeates all her books.
Nobody’s Child is again set in Yorkshire, Ms Wood’s home county. Holderness is in the East Riding where in the 19th century there was a continuing battle with the sea. Land was being reclaimed for farming, the manor houses were moated in defiance of the impertinent waves which wanted to take back what they had lost.
Laura Page comes to the remote village of Welwick attempting to discover the mystery surrounding her mother’s past. Now an adult, she has been recalling events from her childhood which identify how little she knows; and her grandmother is only a name, Mary-Ellen.
The author meticulously describes the downtrodden women of the newly industrialised nation, mostly misused by their men folk, living in poverty, dressed in inadequate clothing for the harsh northern winters and burdened by too many children. Slavery came in many forms and not all victims lived in constant sunshine.
This is a story of passion, adversity, heartbreak and enduring love. The Yorkshire dialect is well written; there is a waft of the history book when the town of Hedon is being described, but otherwise this novel touches the reader in the right places.