Here we are again with another fabulous read from the pen of Mary Wood. The Wronged Daughter is the third in a series of books. Each can be read as standalone stories but it’s good to have the background from the previous two.

This time it’s Mags who steps forward. She and the protagonists from the previous two books, Flors and Ella, met in Belgium when they were VADs during World War I. Flors fatefully introduced Mags to her brother, Harold, a nasty piece of work but one who has bewitched Mags. Despite my pleas, and those of some of the other characters in this book, Mags marries Harold and with that she gives up the independence that her parents had fought hard to give her, including her right to run her family’s cotton mill in Blackburn, something that she had been doing very successfully.

Mary Wood always puts her female characters through the mill (no pun intended) and Mags is no exception. In a time when a woman bowed down to her husband I felt so sad for her. She’s a fabulous creation and I was rooting for her to get through to the other side of her nightmare situation. It’s fair to say that the ending made me very happy indeed.

Mags has some very strong female friends, not only Flors and Ella but also Betsy, a friend from childhood, and another friend she makes through her marriage (whose name I will not share so as not to give anything away). All of these women have children and as I was reading I was thinking that I’d love to know what happens to them next so imagine my delight on reading at the end that there’s a book four on the horizon, The Brave Daughters, all about the children as they grow up.

I can’t imagine not loving a Mary Wood book. They’re so easy to read yet they’re filled with harrowing events. Thankfully, there are always some joyful ones too to balance it out. She writes about hard times in a very relatable way and I always find them gripping and compassionate reads.

Nicola Smith, Short Book and Scribes, 5/5

The Wronged Daughter by Mary Wood
Pan 9781509892587 pbk Nov 2019