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Not since "Twopence to Cross the Marsey" has there been a novel of such strength, power and emotion dealing with a great city. To the Liverpool of the 1930s came Bridget O'Brien, a young widow with two children, about to be forced into marriage with a man she had never met. Her destination was the infamous Scotland Road, with its noise, its colour, its poverty and humour, where the people lived lives of crime and courage backed by rich tradition and a folk lore they had themselves evolved. For Bridget, straight from Ireland, fleeing from a brutal and bigoted father, Scotland Road was, at first, noisome and terrifying. Her sense of isolation was made worse when she met her bridegroom, Sam Bell, a middle-aged pawnbroker whose twin sons were older than she was. Grimly thankful that at last she and her daughters had a roof over their heads, she settled to make the best of it that she could. It was the rough and vibrant Costigan family who first made her welcome. Diddy, a huge warm-hearted Liverpudlian and Billy, her docker husband did their best to ease the young widow into her new life. Anthony, one of her so-called stepsons too held out the strong hand of friendship, but Liam, the favourite of his father, had the power to terrify her. Liam was cold, compelling, mysterious and antagonistic. He was also a priest. Amidst the turbulence of a culture and people through the depression and the holocaust of a savage war, the story of Bridie, her daughters, and the two men who were to shape her destiny was played out. One of the greatest and most moving novels ever written about a gallant, tough and richly individual people who created a city, and lived in an era now gone forever.
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