Sally Swann thought life couldn't get much worse. Then a single coin changed hands.
A dismal cottage in the heart of Bolton, Lancashire, has been Sally’s prison since Joseph Goden 'bought' her from the workhouse as his wife. A drunkard and bully, Joseph rules her with a rod of iron, using fists and threats to keep her in check.
When Sally gives birth, however, she knows she must do anything to save her child from her husband's clutches. She manages to escape, and taking her baby, flees for the belching chimneys of Manchester, in search of her only relative.
But with the threat of discovery by Joseph, who will stop at nothing to find her, Sally must fight with every ounce of strength she has to protect herself and her son, and finally be with the man who truly loves her. For a fresh start does not come without a price . . .
A SHILLING FOR A WIFE is powerful, absorbing storytelling that is perfect for fans of saga by Dilly Court, Rosie Goodwin and Maggie Hope.
This book is one of those books that makes you realise how much we take for granted nowadays. The idea that someone can just buy somebody from a workhouse and treat her like Joseph treats Sally - unbelievable! Unbelievable for us but for many women in those times harsh reality. Not all men were brutes like Joseph, true, but the lack of rights, the helplessness in case of such an event were always there. Life wasn't easy when you didn't have much and for those who had nothing, life was a nightmare. Especially women and children had almost no chance for a better life once they were down on their luck.
Having read about her worst times with Joseph, I really loved to see how Sally spread her wings and how her life got better with the help of her friends and neighbors when she finally left him. I feared with her and I hoped with her, I was shocked when I learned more about the workhouse - and I must admit that for a while I was really really upset with the author because, well, because. But all is well that ends well and in the end things got much better and Sally and all those others who had suffered at last had a chance to be happy.
The book was well written and the characters well developed, it wasn't always easy to read what happened to Sally and all the others but the story itself and the way it is told kept me reading no matter what happened. As it deals with abuse and violence and their consequences, the book may not be the best choice for people with similar experiences (as we all know that bad things still happen) or who are very sensitive in general but apart from that I can recommend it.