The Coal Miner’s Daughter

Written by Maggie Hope
Review by Julie Parker

This novel was first published in 1994 as Come the Day and is set in the 1910s and 1920s. It begins in the coalmining village of Winton in northeast England and is the story of Hannah Armstrong, who was born into a mining family with six children. She is twelve years old when the story begins. Almost by accident, she meets Timothy Durkin, the son of the local land agent who works for the estate owner Lord Akers. They become friends and continue to meet when Timothy joins the local chapel choir, unbeknown to his father. At the start of the book, Hannah’s father is injured during a rock fall in the mine and the family’s future hangs in the balance. One of Hannah’s brothers moves to Cowley in Oxford to take a job in the car industry and Hannah follows him there where she finds a job working for a newsagent. Hannah and Timothy’s paths cross again when he goes into the newsagents by chance, now an Oxford student.

This historical romance has as a theme the difficulties of relationships between the social classes. It is well told and has an echo of the novels of Catherine Cookson, which were also set in the north east at about the same time.