SYNOPSIS Poppy Silk is the eldest daughter of an itinerant navvy, raised among the rough and tumble in an encampment of navvies who are constructing a portion of the Oxford Worcester and Wolverhampton Railway as it passes through the Black Country in the 1850s – a world of violence, wantonness and poverty. Poppy is uneducated but very bright, 'street-wise' and under no illusions about her moral well-being if she stays in the encampment. The sudden loss of her father deprives her of all protection and she is desperate to get away and find a better way of life. But how?Robert Crawford, a handsome engineer she encounters on the construction site, teaches her to read and write, and Poppy falls in love with him. But he is from a different class which prevents Robert from furthering the relationship. Then Poppy discovers that the navvies have other ideas about who her bed partner will be.Passionate, inspirational, and meticulously researched, “Poppy’s Dilemma” is a thought-provoking saga of love, lust, laughter and tears.
THE BLACK COUNTRY CHRONICLES
Poppy Silk is the intelligent young daughter of an itinerant navvy
building the railways of England, and determined to seek a better
way of life.
EXTRACTShe heard the sound of wheels chattering over the road surface and Robert appeared from the top of the hill, riding his machine. Her heart went into her mouth, for she had not the slightest idea what she might say to him. She just wanted to see him, to talk with him, to try and glean whether this unfulfilled love was as painful for him as it was for her. Robert had been on her mind so much these last few days and nights that she was becoming preoccupied. If only he hadn’t told her how he felt. If only he had kept his feelings and his hands – and his kisses – to himself, they could have gone on as they had hitherto, teacher and pupil, friends who merely harboured admiration and respect for each other at arms’ length, who kept their ardour unspoken and under control. But his confession that he was taken with her, and then his frustrating but tantalising self-restraint, had only fuelled her interest and desire the more. She was hooked, yet she understood that hooking her was not what he had intended. What she did not know was that Robert Crawford had also of late adopted the habit of either perambulating or riding – ostensibly in connection with his work – Poppy’s likely routes.As he approached, she thought she detected a blush from him as he drew to a halt, though it could have been the exertion of riding, even if it was downhill. ‘Oh, hello, Robert,’ she said, endeavouring to show a decorous amount of astonishment at finding him in the very place she had come to look for him. ‘Hello, Poppy,’ he greeted with equal surprise, uncertain how he stood now with this perplexing girl.‘Fancy seeing you here. I was just on me way to the tommy shop.’ She ignored the pertinent reality that it took twice as long to get to the tommy shop by way of Shaw Road than her usual route of walking through the cutting.‘And I was just on my way to find my colleague Slingsby Shafto,’ he felt compelled to explain, ignoring the equally pertinent reality that he was travelling in precisely the wrong direction. ‘Are you well?’ he asked awkwardly.‘Oh, yes. I’m very well, thank you. Are you?’
PUBLISHING INFORMATIONAvailable in ebook from 30th March 2015Published by Avon, HarperCollins.Available in paperback1 December 2016ISBN-13: 978-0008146870Please click one of the links to the stores below, which will take you directlyto the page for Poppy’s DilemmaAmazon UK Sainsbury’s UKAmazon USABarnes & Noble USA