Life in West Yorkshire in the early 20th Century
By AnneMarie Brear
For my post in the Life in the Time of, I thought I’d speak about my ancestors, who where the inspiration for my latest release The Market Stall Girl set in West Yorkshire.
The idea for this book came in 2019 when driving in the car with my uncle, Peter Brear, and he was showing me places where my mum and dad had worked and lived before they emigrated to Australia. I already knew of some areas, but when we drove down a dirt lane in Wrenthorpe, which hadn’t changed much since my parents were children and fields lined both sides of the lane, I suddenly wanted to set a book there. The characters marry in the same church as my parents and they walk the same streets. Writing this book was a nod to my parents, grandparents and ancestors that lived and worked in the Wakefield, West Yorkshire area for generations.
Over the years my parents have told me stories of their childhood, but they have both passed away now and their stories only live on in the minds of those left behind. I am terribly worried that soon those stories will be gone, too, when my siblings and I are no longer here. I’m a huge fan of genealogy and spend many hours finding ancestors on ancestry.co.uk and when I do find these generations who ultimately created me, I am always intrigued by their stories, and wished someone had written down what they were like, where they worked, etc.
My ancestors were either farmers or miners. For generations my ancestors work in demanding difficult environments before the use of modern machinery to aid with the hard grafting.
The Market Stall Girl isn’t my family’s story, however, the fictional families could easily have been mine. I wanted to set a story in the area my parents and ancestors would know. My characters walked the same streets, worked the same jobs and lived in a place rapidly changing, but still the same in many ways. For me this was a chance to recreate a time that would be familiar to my grandparents. Both my grandfathers were coal miners, like Noah and his brothers in my story. And like Noah and his brothers my grandfathers went down the pit at the young age of twelve and fourteen like their fathers before them. I’ve heard tales of them working on their knees to dig out coal in inches of water, stripped to the waist. Coal dust filled their chest and lungs, shortening their lives. Pit ponies pulled the tubs of coal along tunnels and the men went into the mines in cages. It was a difficult and tough life and also dangerous. I’m in awe of those men who toiled in the bowels of the earth.
The Market Stall Girl
By AnneMarie Brear
1913 Yorkshire, England
Beth Beaumont enjoys her life as a rhubarb farmer’s daughter in West Yorkshire. Working on the family’s stall selling the fruit and vegetables grown in their own fields gives her a sense of purpose and is healthier than working in a dangerous cotton mill.
Although not thinking of marriage, when Beth meets Noah Jackson, a village miner, she is suddenly very aware of Noah as a man who could change her mind. The summer brings the two closer and their feelings deepen while Noah studies hard to fulfill his dreams of becoming a teacher and securing a better life than his parents endure.
But, a disaster at the coal mine changes lives forever. Noah’s plans are shattered. His love for Beth is put at risk, and he fears they can never find happiness together.
However, another man wants Beth. Louis Melville, the wealthy son of a local gentry family, is acutely aware of Beth’s beauty and he wants her for himself. At first, he is willing to offer marriage, but when Beth turns him down in favour of Noah, Melville, furious to be denied, wreaks revenge with devastating consequences.
Will Beth and Noah find the happiness they wish for or will overwhelming events break them apart?
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The Market Stall Girl
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Award winning & Amazon UK Bestseller AnneMarie Brear has been a life-long reader and started writing in 1997 when her children were small. She has a love of history, of grand old English houses and a fascination of what might have happened beyond their walls. Her interests include reading, travelling, watching movies, spending time with family and eating chocolate - not always in that order! She is the author of historical family saga novels.
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Publication Date: 26th July 2020
Publisher: Thorpe Bowker
Page Length: 359 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction / Historical Romance