In this latest instalment of Martha Long's real-life account of abuse, deprivation and cruelty at the hands of her mother's partner and the establishment, Martha is now 16 and her time at the convent school is up. In Ma, It's a Cold Aul Night an I'm Lookin for a Bed, she leads us through her first months of freedom. With no home to go to, Martha leaves the convent carrying her suitcase and a burning ambition to shake off her impoverished past. Hungry to become a person who will blend in with the middle classes, Martha yearns to be accepted as someone who can be loved, respected, and one day have a home of her own where she will be safe. But this is 1960s Dublin, where poverty is rife and the Church works together with the Irish government to keep the poor and the ignorant in their place. Martha first finds work as a home help with a loving, lively family, which leads her to a job in a shop, an Italian fish and chip café, then as a skivvy in a miserable household where she is reminded of the terror Jackser brought into her life. Chance meetings with brothers and old friends from the convent lift Martha's spirits, but soon she is back on the streets searching for work and a warm bed to call her own. Martha is not often deterred when fate deals her a blow. 'Life is a bowl of cherries!' she reasons. But heartache awaits as people turn her away and predators lurk in the shadows.
Lilly and Ceily Carney are only seven and twelve when their mother is cruelly taken from them, leaving them at the mercy of the Church and the authorities. This is a terrifying prospect in 1950s Dublin, where it is likely that the girls will end up in one of Ireland’s notorious Magdalen laundries – a fate they are determined to escape. When Father Flitters and the ‘Cruelty’ people arrive to take the children into care, Lilly and Ceily resist, and a riot breaks out. The girls are helped by kind Mister Mullins and his daughter Delia, but events lead to further tragedy and Lilly is left to fend for herself on the dangerous streets. Heartbroken, hungry and vulnerable, she looks like easy prey and it seems there will be no safe haven for her to find.
After a failed suicide attempt and recovery in the mad house, Martha is heading for France to be reunited with the one true love of her life. Father Ralph Fitzgerald rescued her from the streets when she was sixteen and was the first person to show Martha true love and affection. But their relationship threatened his vocation and he eventually fled to Africa to take up missionary work. Martha never got over losing him and now, after nearly twenty years, he has made contact again. She sets off on a mission to find him and uncover his motives for getting in touch. Does he still love her? Has he left the priesthood? Is he now free to marry her? She needs to know what the future is going to hold.
In 2003 I was given the opportunity to go to China to teach English. I had a contract for one year. I realized that life in China was more interesting than anything I had experienced before so I stayed. This book contains many antidotes and stories about what happened to me, around me and in China generally. This is a first-hand view of everyday life in China.
IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO GROW UP... This is the story of SCOTT, who finds his belongings outside in a bin bag one day and realises he may have made a Big Mistake GAIL, who wishes her husband were under guarantee so she could send him back and get a refund NAT, who discovers that growing up isn't all it's cracked up to be ROSIE, who just wants her Dad back - or if not, then at least some new glitter nail polish. Four lives, one story: love, loss and learning to be a grown-up.
Set in Belfast after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 2000, this is a novel about the intertwined relationship between the establishment and street criminals during this periodDonny Campbell is an infamous paramilitary figure, who is a reflection of a violent society. He is sexually repressed and vents his anger and sexual frustration in a cocktail of violence and warped depravity, ultimately hidden in a world where murder and immorality are almost considered normal. Donny finds a kindred spirit in Lord Roddy Harding, a man working in the highest echelons of Ulster and London society. Their relationship fractures when Donny becomes a liability as he becomes increasingly unstable and reckless. The British state assassinate Campbell, and by dispatching one of its prolific foot soldiers maintain a fragile peace, save Harding's reputation and that of the Government.
There was a new family in Browning Street, Walworth - the Harrisons. Respectable and well-behaved, the only thing unusual about them was that Mr Harrison was never there. He was a sailor, said Ma Harrison, away fighting pirates in the China Seas. Actually, 'Knocker' Harrison was in Marsham Gaol - he had unfortunately burgled a lady's suite when she happened to be there. Pa wasn't really a very good burglar. When young Nick Harrison, eldest son and heir of Ma and Knocker, met Annabelle Somers he found himself in a very difficult situation. For seventeen-year-old Annabelle was a peach of a girl, was related to the highly respectable Adams family, and was really quite keen on Nick, very interested in him and in his family. What with keeping Annabelle at arm's length in case she found out about Pa, and with the problems of running the Browning Street Rovers football team (the ball was owned by Chrissie Evans who laid down her own rules about the team) Nick sometimes wondered if his life would ever be sorted out.