January 1843: Liddy Landser, heroine of The Surgeon’s Apprentice, has returned to Bromsgrove in disgrace, to take up a position as schoolmistress at the local workhouse.
The position has been engineered for her by George Harcourt, Liddy’s father’s creditor. Harcourt is a man entirely lacking moral fibre, and has one ambition only: to possess Liddy, in body and spirit, and to see her family ruined.
In the harsh environment of the Bromsgrove Workhouse, ruled over by the unscrupulous Melens, there is little to comfort Liddy. But she takes pleasure in her relationships with some of the children, and she resolves to see their wretched lot improve. Then there are the regular visits of the workhouse doctor, handsome James Kerr, who seems to Liddy to embody all that is decent, honourable and kind in a cruel and unforgiving world.
Sara Fraser is a pseudonym for Roy Clews, a one-time Marine Commando and Foreign Legionnaire who has travelled and worked all over the world.