All of the books!
Who is Anne Bennett?
British author born in the Horsefair district of Birmingham, Anne Bennett is known for writing historical fiction and romance novels.
Bennett was a teacher when a terrible accident confined her to a wheelchair. She then started to write full time (in 2006, after sixteen years in a wheelchair, Anne was able to walk again).
Anne Bennett Books in Order:
- A Little Learning (1998) – Janet is determined to make something of herself, instead of being chained to a sink with a baby a year like most women of her generation. She passes her eleven-plus and wins a scholarship to go to a good grammar school, but her father refuses to believe that girls have the right to do anything other than look after their husbands and raise children. Struggling to fit in at her new school and picked on by the other girls, Janet befriends, Ruth. But will their friendship survive when Janet falls for Ruth’s brother, Ben.
- Love Me Tender (1999) – For Kathy O’Malley, life has not been easy with her husband, Barry, out of work and with two children to feed. Then when war breaks out in 1939, many of the local men enlist, including Barry, leaving the women to cope as best they can. When she meets Doug, a handsome American GI, she is drawn immediately drawn to him but determined to honour her marriage vows. But after she receives a telegram informing that her husband is missing, presumed dead, she makes a decision that will have consequences…
- A Strong Hand to Hold (1999) – Jenny O’Leary is devastated one morning in 1940 when she receives a telegram giving her the dreadful news that one of her brothers has been killed in action. Linda Prosser is just twelve years old and desperately close to her mother and two tiny brothers. As the bombs drop around them one fateful night, Linda takes a risk which has disastrous consequences. Terrified, and buried beneath a mass of debris after her home takes a direct hit, it is Jenny who crawls through the wreckage of the house to rescue her. So begins a friendship which is last through the years. But when Linda falls in love with a man that Jenny despises, she is faced with sacrificing her future happiness for the friend who has given her everything…
- Pack Up Your Troubles (2000) – Maeve Brannigan is only eighteen when she leaves her rural home in County Donegal and moves to Birmingham, where she falls in love with handsome Brendan Hogan. But married life isn’t as idyllic as she’d imagined, and when Maeve falls pregnant with their first child, she soon realises that Brendan isn’t the man she thought he was. Saddled with a violent husband and with two young’uns needing her protection, Maeve bears her life as best she can. After a particularly vicious attack, she is forced to flee back to Ireland – but her presence is greeted with open hostility by the close-knit catholic community that she was once so eager to escape.
- Walking Back to Happiness (2002) – Hannah Delaney has moved to England to build a better life, and has met and fallen in love with a young soldier. They intend to marry on his next leave, but then comes D Day, and he doesn’t return. Hannah is left alone and pregnant. Surrendering her baby to the nuns is the only option, and Hannah grimly picks up the pieces and goes to work in a Birmingham guesthouse. Common sense tells her to agree to marry sensible Arthur Bradley, but he too has a secret. And secrets will not remain hidden for ever…
- Till the Sun Shines Through (2003) – Bridie McCarthy loves her family’s farm in the remotest part of Donegal, even though she’s forced to work hard when all of her siblings leave home. She can’t bear to let down her beloved parents – until a horrible act of violence gives her no option but to run away. She turns to the one person she can trust – big sister Mary, now settled with a family of her own in Birmingham.
- Danny Boy (2004) – Rosie’s family doesn’t have much money, but she’s rich in other ways: she loves her life on the farm, her sisters, her friends, and even her spoilt baby brother. When Danny Walsh asks her to walk out with him one Sunday, it’s a dream come true. Everyone agrees that they are made for each other and soon they are married. But Danny’s young brother runs away to join in the uprising of Easter 1916. Danny is a man of peace but has no choice; he must find his brother and bring him home. Before he can be released, Danny must swear to take his place.
- Daughter of Mine (2005) – Lizzie is finding that life in the Birmingham blitz is hard. Her husband is away fighting in the Second World War and she has regretfully sent her two young children away to her parents in Galway, knowing that they will be safe there. She’s grateful for her job in munitions but not so happy when that means getting home in the blackout, dodging the bomb damage. Then Lizzie is attacked on one such journey. She comes around battered and bruised, unable to remember the full extent of the attack – but she fears the worst, and is right to. Turning to her family in desperation, she is told she has brought them nothing but disgrace. Yet help is at hand, from the most unlikely place…
- Mother’s Only Child (2005) – Maria is a girl with a great talent for fabric design, and while the world becomes embroiled in war, all she can think of is her scholarship to the prestigious Grafton Academy. But then her father has a dreadful accident and her mother breaks down in guilt and grief. Maria, the only child, must care for them. Her hopes are dashed, not only of her career, but of marrying the one who’s loved her for years. Reluctantly, Maria is driven into the arms of the supposedly reliable Barney. The young couple have to leave their home in a hurry and settle in Birmingham, where Barney grows increasingly difficult and finally goes too far.
- To Have and To Hold (2006) – Carmel Duffy is the eldest child of a brutal and abusive marriage, and she can’t wait to leave home. She’s equally determined to have no husband or children of her own – what she wants more than anything is to be a nurse. As soon as she turns eighteen, she heads for Birmingham and begins her training. Her resolve to concentrate on her career is tested when Dr Paul Connolly comes onto her ward and into her life.
- A Sister’s Promise (2007) – Molly’s life changes forever when her mother is killed in a horrific accident. Although her beloved grandfather wants to keep her and little brother Kevin with him in Birmingham, the authorities decide it’s best for the girl to live with her maternal grandmother, on a farm in Donegal. So Molly is packed off to Biddy Sullivan, who’s a hard, cruel woman who loves to bear a grudge.
- A Daughter’s Secret (2007) – Agnes Sullivan is fifteen when her young brother Tom finds her drunk and crying in the lane near their farm. Her dancing teacher has raped her and abandoned her. Aggie is forced to leave home when she discovers she’s pregnant and Tom, barely a teenager himself, decides the teacher must pay for his actions. Aggie flees to Birmingham, but the safe haven she’s been promised turns out to be too dangerous to stay in.
- A Mother’s Spirit (2008) – Gloria Sullivan can’t quite believe where she has ended up. Growing up with no money worries, she fell head over heels in love with the handsome, hardworking Irishman employed by her father. They were the golden couple – until the Wall Street crash, when everything was lost. Finally she agreed to start again in London with husband Joe and their small son.
- The Child Left Behind (2009) – Bridgette has been hurt many times in her life. Her early years were blighted by her spoilt brother; her marriage ruined by World War Two. Now her mother is dying. And then comes a deathbed revelation – somewhere Bridgette has another family and a father.
- Keep the Home Fires Burning (2010) – The year is 1940 and Bill and Marion Whittaker live happily with their three children in a terraced house on Albert Road, in Birmingham. But when Bill enlists to fight in the Second World War, the family are plunged into poverty. Marion is forced to pawn all her worldly possessions and decides to take on two lodgers, Peggy Wagstaffe and Violet Clooney. These two lively girls bring some light relief to the family and bring with them Peggy’s handsome brother Sam – who catches the eye of Marion’s 16-year-old daughter, Sarah.
- Far From Home (2012) – 1938: Sixteen-year-old Kate Monroe is living in Birmingham, far away from her family in Ireland. Her parents have always doted on her siblings, Sally and James, leaving no time for her. Kate harbours a dark secret, a deep longing for her cousin. Feelings she must suppress in this deeply staunch Irish-Catholic community – even if they are reciprocated. Crazed by her infatuation, Kate is left with no option, other than to up-roots once more and seek out a new life, far away from the temptation of Tim Monroe.
- If You Were the Only Girl (2012) – When Lucy’s father dies and her family is plunged into poverty, she is forced to take a job in service as a housemaid at Windthorpe House, home to the aristocratic Hetherington’s, who lost three of their four sons in the Great War. When their only remaining son, Clive, returns home from university, he and Lucy strike up an immediate bond, which only deepens as Lucy becomes indispensible to the family. Clive, much to his family’s alarm, decides to volunteer in the Spanish Civil War, though when he returns, he is injured and full of rage at the hated Fascists.
- A Girl Can Dream (2014) – When Meg’s mother dies in childbirth, she is determined to keep the promise made on her mother’s deathbed – keep the family together. But when her father returns home one night with a woman called Doris and announces he intends to marry her. When war breaks out, Meg and her friend Joy sign up for the Land Army and go to work on the farm where she meets Stephen, home on leave after fighting the Nazi’s – the attraction is instant and she and Stephen fall in love. But when she returns to the family home for a visit, she is horrified to discover the house in squalor and that worst of all, Little Ruth has been sent to an orphanage.
- Another Man’s Child (2015) – Celia Mulligan is in love with farm hand Andy McCadden, but when Andy asks her to marry him and she accepts, her father is furious – no daughter of his will marry a mere hireling. Celia elopes with Andy and they make their way by ship to England. While on board, Celia meets a demure young woman called Annabel who tells her in confidence that a friend of her father forced himself upon her and she has since fallen pregnant. Annabel plans to throw herself on her brother’s mercy and asks Celia if she will accompany her to Birmingham as her ladies maid. Without a job and with nothing to offer her, Andy encourages Celia to accept.
- Forget-Me-Not Child (2017) – Angela McCluskey comes to Birmingham from Ireland with her family as a young girl to escape the terrible poverty in her homeland. But the dream of a better life is dashed as bad fortune dogs the family. When Angela marries her childhood sweetheart, she has hopes of a brighter future, which are dashed when her husband is called up to fight in the Great War. Tragedy strikes and Angela is left to rear her frail daughter on her own, though the worst is yet to come when Angela suffers another terrible misfortune.
- Child on the Doorstep (2018) – Angela McClusky is haunted by the young baby that she left on the steps of the workhouse. Born out of wedlock and the result of a traumatic assault, the child has grown up away from the loving arms of her mother and only has a locket to remind her of the family she never knew. Angela, meanwhile, has carried the guilt of her actions with her for almost a decade, now widowed and alone, she is courted by a new suitor, Eddie, who seems to offer her the happiness she craves.
- As Time Goes By (2021) – Angela McClusky has known nothing by hardship and heartbreak; losing a husband in The Great War, the threat of ruin whilst raising a daughter alone…as well as hiding a dark secret she’s tried desperately to forget. Kind-hearted Stan, who runs Bell Barn Road’s Grocers shop is the only flicker of light in her life. But Angela knows he could never love her back if her knew the truth about her past… Then, tragedy strikes.