A breathtaking tale set in 1920s Preston of one girl's determination to trace her roots, find true love and succeed in a world where obstacles lurk at every corner. Hettie is an orphan, taken in by Ellie Pride and her husband to their Preston home and treated as one of the family. But she has always harboured a lust for adventure and excitement, plus the desire to trace her roots. On the cusp of womanhood, and in love with John who she is not considered good enough for, her mind is finally made up: she will run away to the bright lights of Liverpool to find her fortune. There, she gets a rude awakening and must take on a job working in the kitchens tof a restaurant o make ends meet. Until, by chance, she is heard singing by the owner and propelled into a life she could only have dreamed of...Hettie is spotted by a sort of talent scout and goes to work in London, where she is feted for her beauty and extraordinary voice by rich young men but where she also sees the dark side of life - a fellow dancer dies after an abortion, the rich young men and many of the other singers/dancers drink hard liqour and take cocaine.
It is a mad, dizzy, dangerous world and Hettie increasingly feels ills at ease. She still loves John and misses Ellie but knows she cannot return to the fold after all she has done. Then tragedy strikes, and Hettie must decide between her heart and her head, her duty and her desire...
Annie Groves lives in the North-West and has done so of all her life. This is the second in a series of novels about the adventures of the Pride family of Preston, which take place in the tumultuous years leading up to, during, and after the First World War, and for which she has drawn upon her own family's history, picked up from listening to her grandmother's stories when she was a child. Her grandmother's great pride in her hometown - Preston - inspired Annie when naming her fictional family.