The Girl on the Doorstep: from the bestselling author of The Workhouse Children (A Black Country Novel) by Lindsey Hutchinson

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Rosie was afraid, she’d heard about gypsies taking off with young children.

Maria Valesco is a ‘dreaded’ gypsy, the sort that Rosie has been warned to fear, but as she is crying on the steps of her cottage, with a mother who ‘won’t get up’ and no father at all, Maria is her salvation. It’s either trust in the gentle, kind Gypsy or be sent to the workhouse, the harsh reality for poor orphans in the late 1800’s, England. Rosie and Maria become like mother and child, befriending the ‘cut-rats’ (people who work on canal) and are treated just as lowly as the Romany.  Coming of age, learning the traditions of the Maria’s people, traveling in a caravan has been a life of love, but all that ends with a loss and Rosie finds herself dependant on the kindness of Margy and Abner Mitchell. Soon, she is living on their boat, until she can figure out what to do with her future.

Rosie has the gift of second sight, and before long word spreads and she has clients. Not everyone likes what they hear about their future, and Rosie has uncomfortable predictions for Margy too, involving a woman and her own beloved son and grandchildren. Rosie’s own love is uncertain, falling for a much older and very married man. Then there is the  Jake Harding, a Romany bandolier who wants her desperately as his monashay (wife), despite discovering that she wasn’t Maria’s biological daughter, hence not a true Romany. He is dangerous, and won’t give up. The man she has fallen in love with has complications of his own, and the future of his sons are utmost in his mind, despite his growing feelings for Rosie.

The Mitchell’s daughter in law has caused them nothing but untold grief, kept them from being around their grandchildren and son with her devious lies and manipulations. I actually thought Sarah was needed in this novel, with her flaring temper. Every family seems to have that one difficult person, pulling everyone’s strings, making a mess.

With every step Rosie takes, and despite her gift of sight, things keep going wrong. While she has brought hope and friendship to the Mitchell’s, her own life seems to be under a dark cloud. Is it truly darkest before the dawn? Will Rosie have the happy ending she desperately longs for? beginning with the devastating grief of a child losing her mother and growing into a strong young woman raised by an incredible selfless gypsy, Rosie’s future couldn’t possibly end without genuine love. This is a delightful, historical fiction with characters whose lives have a lot of difficulties besides making a living. Most of them caused by other family members. What’s a love story without obstacles?

August 7, 2018

Aria

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