Best Alrene Hughes books

Martha's Girls

Alrene Hughes

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Belfast, 1939, and Martha's daughters are beginning to make their way in the world. Irene, the eldest, is on the lookout for a new job and romance. She is torn between Sean O'Hara - wanted by the police for something he didn't do - and RAF radio engineer Sandy, serving in India. Pat is sensitive and thoughtful, and dreams of life beyond the Ulster Linen Works. When she is introduced to a dashing tenor, the possibility of a new life seems ever more real ...Peggy, hot-headed and glamorous, loves her job in Mr Goldstein's music shop on Royal Avenue, where she catches the eye of a Humphrey Bogart lookalike, but he isn't all he appears ...Sheila, the youngest, wants to stay on at school, but her family desperately need another wage. Above all, she longs to be treated like a grown up. Although they lead very different lives, the sisters share a passion for singing and when they are asked to join a new troupe of entertainers, Martha fears this will put them in temptation's way. Can she hold her family together and keep her girls safe, even when the bombs begin to fall? The Golden Sisters, the fabulous sequel to Martha's Girls, is out now!

Golden Sisters: The sequel to the bestselling Martha’s Girls (Martha's Girls)

Alrene Hughes

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Martha’s girls return in a poignant wartime story of love lost … and found. A moving saga that takes the reader to the very heart of a close-knit, fiery, loving family – perfect for fans of Maureen Lee, Mary Larkin and Pam Weaver.


It’s 1941 and German bombs are falling on Belfast. Martha’s girls face danger, hardship and difficult decisions.


Irene, the eldest of the sisters, is struggling with the constraints of married life, until a chance meeting forces her to choose between romance and reality.


Pat, intelligent and sensitive, is working in Stormont alongside William Kennedy. As their relationship deepens, she feels that real happiness could be within her grasp.


Peggy, impulsive and glamorous, is thrilled when the charismatic Devlin offers her a job with the dance band at the Plaza Ballroom. But she soon sees his darker side...


Sheila, the youngest, is blossoming into a young woman, though her family seem intent on treating her like a child. When will they accept her for the grown-up she is?


Together, they are the Golden Sisters, singing their way to victory in concert halls and army camps. But the war is taking their lives in unexpected directions and Martha will need all her strength to help her girls find their way through these turbulent times.


A Song in My Heart: The Final Part in the Best Selling Martha's Girls Trilogy

Alrene Hughes

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Irene loves her job at the aircraft factory but her pregnancy is making the work increasingly difficult. She feels her job and her independence slipping away. How will she cope when the baby arrives? Peggy falls under the spell of a dashing Guards officer. Much older than her and a sophisticated man of the world, he persuades Peggy to keep their relationship quiet. But does the major have other secrets too? Pat has overcome tragedy and found love again. But then her fiance, US Army captain Tony Farrelly, is posted to North Africa, and Pat teeters on the edge of heartbreak once more. Sheila, the youngest of the girls, has met a teacher who seems the perfect match - but she still longs for excitement. A chance encounter with a recruiting sergeant for the WAAF takes her away from home - and towards danger and romance. If you've read Martha's Girls and The Golden Sisters, then you'll love the final instalment of this bestselling family saga - perfect for fans of Nadine Dorries, Anne Bennett and Ellie Dean.

The Girl in the Pink Raincoat

Alrene Hughes

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With whispers of war across Europe, many are uncertain of what the future will bring. For Gracie Earnshaw, who works in German-Jewish owned Rosenberg's raincoat factory, life is turned upside down when she meets the boss's charismatic nephew, Jacob.

Through Jacob, with his ambitions to be a writer, Gracie glimpses another world: theatre, music and prejudice. But their hidden romance is tested when war finally erupts and tragedy unfolds.

Gracie struggles with heartbreak, danger and old family secrets. But, eventually, the love of her first sweetheart comes back to her in an unexpected way, giving her the strength to carry on and find happiness again.

Changing Skies: Manchester Irish Writers

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Changing Skies - Stories of Irish immigration
These characters speak from the heart – the pain and excitement of leaving, the struggle to find work and raise a family and always the longing for home that never goes away.
A Cork man drawn into the gangs of 19th century Manchester finds an unlikely escape from his criminal life. A navvy, ‘Sure, didn’t we build England for them,’ is moved by tragedy to make something of himself. A young woman arrives in England expecting the excitement she’s read about in magazines, but her matchmaker cousin has other ideas . . .
Those who crossed the sea carried not only their dreams of a better life, but the strength and good humour to adapt and survive.
These fifteen stories portray with precision and honesty the experience of Irish immigrants–focusing on moments of passion, stark reality, and that eternal conflict between where they belong and where they live.

Full Circle: All families have their secrets … – an enthralling Belfast family saga, the sequel to THE WASTED YEARS

Mary Larkin

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Annie and Sean Devlin have been happily married for several years when a telegram arrives to say that Annie’s sister, Rosaleen, is making a flying visit home to Belfast from Canada, where she now lives.


This news strikes fear into Annie’s heart for Rosaleen and Sean once had a brief affair. Annie’s concerns are well founded – the flame between Rosaleen and Sean burns as brightly as ever. Surely they couldn’t betray her again? And can Annie trust Rosaleen to keep the secret that the sisters swore never to reveal?


The gripping sequel to The Wasted Years from Belfast’s leading saga writer. Perfect for fans of Katie Flynn, Maureen Lee and Pam Weaver.

Martha's Girls by Alrene Hughes (10-Oct-2013) Paperback

Alrene Hughes

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The Wasted Years: Will Rosaleen risk everything for love? – an enthralling Belfast family saga

Mary Larkin

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Rosaleen Magee has it all – a loving family, good looks and a handsome fiancé


with his own thriving business. But then Sean Devlin turns up at the Falls Flax Factory, where Rosaleen works, and everything changes.


She knows she should leave well alone, but what harm is there in one date before she settles down for good?


That one date will set in motion a train of events that will shake Rosaleen’s family to its core. And as the war throws everyone’s lives into turmoil, will Rosaleen risk everything for love?


A new edition of the bestselling novel from Belfast’s leading saga writer. Perfect for fans of Katie Flynn, Maureen Lee, Pam Weaver and Alrene Hughes.


Also available: FULL CIRCLE, the next part of this enthralling saga.