Longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, and shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction Love is a bygone idea, centuries-worn. There are things we can go without, and love is among them; bread and a warm hearth are not. In September 1870 a train leaves Manchester bound for London. On board is Lizzie Burns, a poor worker from the Irish slums, embarking on the journey that will change her forever. Sitting in the first-class carriage beside her lover, the wealthy mill-owner Frederick Engels, the vision of a life of peace and comfort takes shape before her eyes. But as Lizzie soon learns 'the world doesn't happen how you think it will. The secret is to soften to it, and to take its blows.'
Gavin McCrea was born in Dublin in 1978 and has since travelled widely, living in Japan, Italy and Spain, among other places. He holds a BA and an MA from University College Dublin, and an MA and a PhD from the University of East Anglia. He currently divides his time between the UK and Spain.