Coming up sixteen, Tilly Trotter is different from the other girls in her village. Tall for her age and coltish, she is not afraid of taking on ‘man’s work’ to help out the grandparents who raised her in a cottage at the edge of the Sopwith Estate, only a few miles from the bustling Tyneside towns of County Durham.
Testing times lay ahead for Tilly, often hard to endure and even bringing her the undeserved taint of being suspected of witchcraft. Tilly, with her unusual beauty, envied by the local women and lusted after by the men, only loves one man – farmer Simon Bentwood. She is heartbroken to discover he is betrothed to another. A spurned suitor takes a terrible revenge, and a betrayal forces her into the cruel drudgery of the local mine and puts her life in danger.
But Tilly refuses to let her spirit be broken – determined that all this will only serve to make her stronger – and she grows to become a young woman of innate courage and fortitude. Set at the beginning of the Victorian era, this is a compelling story that follows the shaping of a young woman’s life and destiny.