From the moment Bill Bailey arrived to take up residence at Fiona Nelson’s home in the Tyneside town of Fellburn, he made his presence felt in no uncertain terms. As a young widow left badly off, and with three children to bring up, Fiona had come to know all the problems of trying to make ends meet. So despite the inevitably disapproving comments of her own mother, reckoned locally to be an interfering woman, she advertised for a lodger to help pay for some of the bills. The result was Bill, somewhat rough around the edges perhaps, but nobody’s fool and doing very nicely with his own business as a builder.
Bill often described himself as a middle-of-the-road man, valuing his freedom where personal matters were concerned, but it was not long before Fiona found she was wondering just what her world had been before he came into it. He might be outwardly an ordinary enough bloke, but he appeared to possess some pretty extraordinary qualities, which proved to have a great and lasting effect on the future lives of Fiona and her young family.
Catherine Cookson’s novel is a richly entertaining tale of human relationships which are warm-hearted, full of humour and powerfully dramatic.