Thursday 18 April 2019

The Daughters of Ironbridge by Mollie Walton @rebeccamascull @ZaffreBooks BLOG TOUR #DaughtersOfIronbridge @eturns_112

Anny Woodvine's family has worked at the ironworks for as long as she can remember. The brightest child in her road and the first in her family to learn to read, Anny has big dreams. So, when she is asked to run messages for the King family, she grabs the opportunity with both hands.

Margaret King is surrounded by privilege and wealth. But behind closed doors, nothing is what it seems. When Anny arrives, Margaret finds her first ally and friend. Together they plan to change their lives.

But as disaster looms over the ironworks, Margaret and Anny find themselves surrounded by secrets and betrayal. Can they hold true to each other and overcome their fate? Or are they destined to repeat the mistakes of the past?

The Daughters of Ironbridge by Mollie Walton (aka best-selling author Rebecca Mascull) is published in paperback today; 18 April 2019, by Zaffre books. This is the first book in a planned trilogy.
My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and who invited me to take part on this Blog Tour.

It's been a long time since I read a historical saga story. I spent my late teens and early twenties devouring the works of authors such as Catherine Cookson and Josephine Cox - books passed on from my mother and grandmother. They were great stories.  I'm a huge Rebecca Mascull fan and was intrigued when I learned that she was going to write a saga trilogy, and am delighted to have had the opportunity to read this one early.

Set in 1830s Shropshire, with a backdrop of the dirty, dangerous and grimy industry of the steelworks, this story is ultimately about friendship and community. There has always been a large class divide in this country and whilst we have moved on a little as we enter the 21st Century; almost 200 years ago that divide was large and almost impossible to cross.

The ironworks, owned by the King family has loomed over this Shropshire town for many years. The furnace with it's blazing heat is the central point of the town. 

Anny's family, like so many others in the town depend on the ironworks; for money and for food. Anny is an only child, which is unusual amongst the poorer families in the area, and she can read and write; taught by her mother; this in itself makes Anny stand out amongst the other children. When she is sent to the ironworks to take her father's forgotten lunchbox, she includes a note to him. This note changes her life. She is recruited to run messages for the King family; an honour for Anny and also the beginning of a friendship with Margaret, the lonely daughter of Mr King.

The young girls form an strong friendship. Despite their differences in class, they find much to love about each other. Margaret King's mother died in childbirth and her father has never forgiven her. Her older brother is cruel and taunts and bullies her mercilessly.  Anny becomes Margaret's only ally, apart from her grandmother Queenie who although kinder to her than the other members of her family, always put the King name first, before anything else.

Anny advances and gains a job in the King office which again, marks her out from the rest of her community and also brings her to the attention of Margaret's bullish brother Cyril. 
The girls' friendship is sorely tested when Anny rejects the advances of Cyril, and also when both of them fall for the charms of the same man. 

This is a wonderfully written historical story that I completely lost myself in. This author's ability to draw characters who the reader will either love dearly, or hate with a ferocity is excellent. Her sense of place is extremely well done and the scenes in both the ironworks, and later on, in a prison are dramatic and very powerful.

It is clear that the author has carefully researched her subject and her keen eye for detail within relationships; both friendships and family is vivid and absorbing. Her female characters are feisty and memorable and the reader will cheer them along, all of the way.

I really loved this story and I'm looking forward to the next in the series, to see just what's in store for Anny and her friends and family next.

Mollie Walton is the saga pen-name for historical novelist Rebecca Mascull.
 Visit her websites for more information: &

She has always been fascinated by history and on a trip to Shropshire, while gazing down from the iron bridge, found the inspiration for what has become her debut saga novel, part of a trilogy titled THE IRONBRIDGE SAGA, published by Bonnier Zaffre. She is currently hard at work on the three books, with the first novel due for release in April 2019, set in the dangerous world of the iron industry: THE DAUGHTERS OF IRONBRIDGE.

Under the pen-name Rebecca Mascull, she is the author of three historical novels.
Her first novel THE VISITORS (2014) tells the story of Adeliza Golding, a deaf-blind child living on her father’s hop farm in Victorian Kent. Her second novel SONG OF THE SEA MAID (2015) is set in the C18th and concerns an orphan girl who becomes a scientist and makes a remarkable discovery. Her third novel, THE WILD AIR (2017) is about a shy Edwardian girl who learns to fly and becomes a celebrated aviatrix but the shadow of war is looming. All are published by Hodder & Stoughton.

She has also recently completed the final chapters of her friend and fellow novelist Vanessa Lafaye’s final work, a novella called MISS MARLEY, a prequel to Dickens’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL. This novella was published in November 2018 by HarperCollins.

Visit her Facebook page:

Twitter @rebeccamascull

Rebecca has previously worked in education, has a Masters in Writing and lives by the sea in the east of England.

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