Elaine Everest

A Mother Forever

Ruby Castleton may only be 25 years old but she already has the weight of the world on her shoulders. Heavily pregnant with her second child, penniless and exhausted, she is moving her family into a new home. The Castletons left their last place when they couldn’t pay the rent but Ruby’s husband Eddie has promised this will be a fresh start for them all. And Ruby desperately hopes that this time he will keep his word.

With five-year-old George at her feet and her mother having a cross word for everyone and every thing, life is never dull at number 13 Alexandra Road. It doesn’t take long before Eddie loses another job and once again hits the bottle. It’s up to Ruby to hold them all together, through thick and thin. She remembers the kind, caring man Eddie once was and just can’t give up on him entirely. What she doesn’t know is that Eddie has a secret, one so dark that he can’t bear to tell even Ruby…

Through Ruby’s grit and determination, she keeps food on the table and finds herself a community on neighbours on Alexandra Road. Stella, the matriarch from across the way, soon becomes a friend and confidant to Ruby. She even dreams that Ruby will ditch the useless Eddie and take up with her eldest son Frank. But when war breaks out in 1914, the heartbreaks and losses that follow will fracture their community, driving both Stella and Ruby to breaking point. Will their men ever return to them?

A Mother Forever is the moving story of one woman’s journey through the worst trials of her life – poverty, grief, betrayal – but through it all is the love and comfort she finds in family. The family we’re connected to through blood but also the family we make for ourselves with neighbours and friends.
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Pan Macmillan


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