Discover my sagas and cosy crimes

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

5 Locations in The Miner's Lass

Would you like to know more about the locations I use in my novels? I hope that if you would like to read my books, or if you've read them already, that these pictures might give some context and background and add depth to the locations I've written about.

The Miner's Lass is available from May 13 2021 in paperback, hardback, e-book and audiobook and you can buy it here.   
It is released in paperback on October 28, 2021.

Here we go with my top 5 favourite locations in The Miner's Lass.

The Queen's Head pub 

The Queen's Head pub in Ryhope is where the heroine of the book, miner's daughter Ruby works as a barmaid. The pub plays a pivotal role in the story and is the scene of many dramatic moments on which the story twists and turns.

The Toll Bar pub

Another pub which features strongly in the story is The Toll Bar pub which was on Ryhope Road between Ryhope and Grangetown. It no longer exists and in its place stands a block of flats. When the flats were being built, and excavations took place to dig for foundations, the remains of a bare-knuckle fighting pit was found. This was nicknamed 'the blood kit' and I've fictionalised this in the book as 'the blood pit' where a bare knuckle fight takes place. Here it is marked on an old ordnance survey map as 'old sand pit' and it's where such fights took place.

Sunderland Borough Lunatic Asylum

Sunderland borough lunatic asylum,  which became known as Cherry Knowle hospital, was based in Ryhope, on the outskirts of the village. It features in the book a lot, as the threat of being sent there and the realities of what this might mean, especially to women in 1919, hang darkly over the characters. The book tackles the theme of mental health and a black dog stalks the back lanes of the coalmining village, just as the 'black dog' of depression stalks the family of our heroine Ruby. But the book isn't all doom and gloom and there's some wonderful characters, especially the women, that I adored writing. There's also some wonderful comic moments too as Ruby makes her way from girl to woman, learning the lessons of life the hard way.

The Miner's Hall

The Miner's Hall in Ryhope features in this book a lot. It's where miners' union meetings are held, meetings that bring good news... and bad. It's where miners go to meet friends, to play cards and dominos, or seek advice from union officials. It's where the soup kitchen is set up during the miners' strike of 1921 when the community comes together to help one another and it's also where Ruby's dad goes in his darkest hour of need.

The miner's kitchen at home

The book centres on the value of home and the importance of the coal fire in everyone's lives. Coal is needed for warmth, for cooking, for heating water to give the miner his bath. And heroine Ruby in the book always seems to have the fire on heating water up for her dad or her brother or for someone else who comes into her life and changes it in all kinds of ways that she never expected. But I won't spoil the story for you, I hope you'll read it and enjoy it as I think Ruby is my most innocent heroine yet.

If you'd like to watch a very short video to promote The Miner's Lass, it's here.

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