This is the second book in a series of three and follows Paradise Lane. It's best to read them in order because the characters from the first book, Ned and Annabel, appear largely in this book which tells the story of a poor girl who lives with her aunt in a little pit village where they repair hats and how she comes into an inheritance, the lovely Snow Hall near Durham City. There Lorna meets her unscrupulous cousin, Ralph, who expected to inherit the hall and now seeks to take it by other means.
This story stands alone and is of a family tragedy. During the second world war my father's sister, who lived in London, died when the house was hit by a bomb. She was in the kitchen and died, her husband, two children and the dog were in the living room and survived. I badly wanted to write about this because her two children came to the live in the north with their grandparents and I wanted to find out what that was like for them and for the family. I couldn't write the book at first, I couldn't get it to work so I changed it around so that the man died and the woman and her two children came back to their roots and what happened after that. I do like the young people in the story.
This is the third of the Black family series, which was set around a steelworks in Durham City. The steelworks was actually in Tow Law and was owned and run by my father. The books revolve around his wife in Swan Island, his sister in Silver Street and his secretary which is the final story. I took the name from a farm in Weardale where the girl lives. My father's secretary actually lived in Stanhope and was well ahead of her time. She would trundle down the dale every day to run my father's office. She was the only woman in the works. Obviously the stories are at least half fictitious and this one especially. I called the little town Sweet Wells and like to think that when I drive up the dale to my caravan the town and the story are waiting there for me.