In working-class Leeds in the 1920s, Jess is starting on her journey through life. Growing up in the aftermath of the Great War, she is torn between her downtrodden father and her cantankerous, ambitious mother. After a disastrous spell as housekeeper to the local priest, she works happily in the office of her uncle's shoe factory and falls in love with her childhood sweetheart, Wilf.
But Wilf is determined to be a successful artist, and Jess can't bring herself to stand in the way of his dreams. She also faces a bigger fight: she is consumed by the desire to save her godchild Leila from an orphanage - a battle that eventually threatens to break her heart.
Frances Brody is the author of ten mysteries featuring Kate Shackleton as well as many stories and plays for BBC Radio, scripts for television and three sagas, one of which won the HarperCollins Elizabeth Elgin Award. A Woman Unknown was short-listed for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. Her stage plays have been toured by several theatre companies and produced at Manchester Library Theatre, the Gate and Nottingham Playhouse. Jehad was nominated for a Time Out Award. Frances lived in New York for a time before studying at Ruskin College, Oxford, and reading English Literature and History at York University. She has taught in colleges, and on writing courses for the Arvon Foundation.