Our writers mean business

Annie Murray

Annie Murray was born in Berkshire and read English at St John's College, Oxford.

In 1991 she won a She/Granada TV Short Story competition and in 1992 began writing her first Birmingham novel, Birmingham Rose. This hit the Sunday Times bestseller list when it was published in 1995.

Annie has written a subsequent 16 novels and hit the bestseller lists again with Chocolate Girls, Now The War Is Over and  The Doorstep Child. Her sales worldwide total over 1 million. She is published internationally in Turkey and Portugal. 

Annie Murray now lives in Reading and has four children. To find out more about Annie, click here.
 

More info & rights  

Now the War is Over

Rachel Booker struggled to keep her family together throughout the uncertain war years. Now her husband has returned home safely to her but life couldn’t be more different.

Melly, Rachel’s daughter, is a child of the war. She grew up in the bombed out streets of Birmingham and has never known anything other than the hungry ration years. But times are changing and Melly now has a fresh future ahead of her. She’s determined to make the most of life and her greatest wish is to become a nurse.

As the gloom of the 1940s pass by and the promise of the 1950s dawn, a whole new world of opportunity opens up for
Rachel and Melly but with this comes new challenges and tough choices. They will each have to decide whether their
loyalties still lie with the family and friends they clung to throughout the war years or if it’s time to move on.
 

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
More info & rights  

The Doorstep Child

A tale of hardship and survival, The Doorstep Child is a heart-rending story from bestselling author Annie Murray.

From a tender age little Evie struggled . . .

Evie spent her early years left outside on the step. With a drunk for a father and a neglectful mother, all little Evie has ever craved is a safe home and a normal existence.

Her young eyes had seen so much but this never tainted her spirit. If it wasn't for her best friend Gary, and friendly dog called Whisky - Evie might never have made it to the sixteenth birthday.

At sixteen she meets Ken, a sweet brown-eyed boy, not much older than she is. Perhaps her fortunes have changed? But no sooner does she give over her heart, she is betrayed, not for the first time in her young life...

Will Evie ever find the love and warmth she's always craved? 

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
More info & rights  

War Babies

Rachel Booker has a difficult start in life. When her father dies, deep in gambling debt, her mother must harden herself to make ends meet, but becomes so hard she has little room left for affection or warmth. Mother and daughter work at the open market in Birmingham, selling second-hand clothes or whatever they can find just to put a little food on the table.

But the market has a silver lining: it's there that Rachel makes her first childhood friend, Danny. As they grow older, the friendship grows into something more and their innocent romance gives Rachel the care and comfort she's always craved. But at just sixteen, as World War II breaks out, Rachel falls pregnant. They marry in haste but it isn't long before Danny is called up.

Left on the homefront with a new baby and little else, Rachel must scrape by with the other residents of Sparkbrook. But if Danny ever makes it home, will he be the same boy she loved so fiercely? And if Rachel can sustain the family until then, will she end up as hard-hearted as her own mother?

War Babies is a moving and insightful novel about hardships on the homefront and how the war changed everybody it touched...

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
More info & rights  

Meet Me Under The Clock

Growing up in Birmingham, Sylvia and Audrey Whitehouse have always been like chalk and cheese.

When the Second World War breaks out, Sylvia is still dreaming of her forthcoming marriage to fiancé Ian while Audrey jumps at the career opportunities the WAAF throws her way.

Audrey joins the ranks at RAF Cardington but soon finds that her new freedom also brings temptation. When she goes too far, the consequences ripple through the Whitehouse family.

Meanwhile Sylvia is doing her bit as a railway porter, much to Ian's dismay. Ian thinks the job is unfeminine - unlike Sylvia's new friend Kitty, who is as sweet and pretty as can be.

But Kitty's innocent nature hides a dark secret . . . As the pressures of rationing, bombing raids and sleepless nights grow, the two sisters must decide what they really want from life and if they're brave enough to fight for it.

A heart-breaking yet inspiring novel.

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
More info & rights  

The Women of Lilac Street

Birmingham, almost a decade after the end of the Great War, and the women of Lilac Street have had more than their fair share of troubles . . .

Rose Southgate is trapped in a loveless marriage. Shy and isolated, she makes the best of life, until she meets a man who changes everything. Jen Green is struggling to make ends meet, with a sick husband and five children to support.

Aggie, her eldest daughter, is twelve years old and longs for excitement. But prying into the adult world shows her more than she had bargained for.

And Phyllis Taylor is a widow who has managed to put a dark and traumatic past behind her. But the return of her daughter Dolly threatens all that … These women find strength in friendship, as they discover that the best way to solve their problems is to face them together.

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
More info & rights  

My Daughter, My Mother

In 1984 two young mothers meet at a toddler group in Birmingham. As their friendship grows, they share with each other the difficulties and secrets in their lives: Joanne, a sweet, shy girl, is increasingly afraid of her husband. The lively, promising man she married has become hostile and violent and she is too ashamed to tell anyone.

When her mother, Margaret is suddenly rushed into hospital, the bewildered family find that there are things about their mother of which they had no idea. Margaret was evacuated from Birmingham as a child and has spent years avoiding the pain of her childhood but finds that you cant run from the past forever. Sooky, kind and good-natured, has already been through one disastrous marriage and is back at home living with her parents.

But being disgraced is not easy. Her mother, Meena, refuses to speak to Sooky. At first her silence seems like a punishment, but Sooky gradually realizes it contains emotions which are far more complicated and that her mother may need her help. Meena has spent 20 years trying to fit in with life in Birmingham, and to deal with the conflicts within her between east and west, old ways and new. This is the story of two young women discovering the heartbreak of their mothers lives, and of how mothers create daughters and learn from them

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
India (Marathi) Mehta
Turkey Yediveren
More info & rights  

All The Days Of Our Lives

It is 1946: the war is over and three young women face a new kind of life. But peacetime brings its own pressures . . .

Katie ONeills childhood has been dominated by her temperamental mother and by frightening secrets that she barely understands. Innocent, yet hungry for love, she is easily taken in by male charm and is left outcast and alone with her young son.

Emma Brown has spent the war at home in Birmingham, longing for her husband Norm to return and meet the son he has never seen. But she soon finds that the joy of homecoming only brings a whole new set of problems.

And Molly Fox, after a sad and brutal childhood, found a place to belong during the war, in the womens army, the ATS. Now, the women are no longer wanted and Molly finds peacetime a bleak, difficult challenge. Finding work in guesthouses and holiday camps, she keeps running from herself, in search of a place she can call home.

All the Days of Our Lives is the story of three girls who first met in a Birmingham classroom in the 1930s, each facing life with all its joys, sorrows and surprises.

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
Turkey Yediveren
More info & rights  

Soldier Girl

A sequel to The Hopscotch Summer.

Molly Fox has grown up in the back streets of Birmingham at the mercy of her cruel grandfather and her drunken mother. Though she has grown into a tall, beautiful woman, Molly is haunted by terrible family secrets. When she is found lying drunk in a gutter, Molly reaches a turning point. She decides to escape by joining the army as an ATS girl.

At first her new start seems fated to be a disaster but the army gives her the encouragement she hungers for and soon her life is flourishing. But war brings tragedy as well as triumph, and when Molly receives news from home, it becomes clear that she cant escape her past so easily

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
More info & rights  

A Hopscotch Summer

Emma Brown is a happy-go-lucky child, content to work hard at school, and to play hopscotch with her friends on the pavement outside her house in the run-down Nechells area of Birmingham. As long as everything is alright at home with her Ma and Pa, her little sister Joyce and brother Sid, then life is good. But after Em’s mother Cynthia has her baby she just doesn’t seem to be able to cope. Her life-long friend and neighbour Dot helps as much as she can, but she has children of her own, and no man to hand; Cynthia’s husband Bob, too, does his best, but begins to feel that he’s losing the wife he has loved so much; and little Em just can’t find enough hours in the day to do all the washing and cleaning. Soon, it seems, the only thing is for Cynthia to go and stay across the city with her tyrannical older sister.

With Cynthia away, life only gets harder for Em. Her best friend Kate ostracizes her, leaving only poor, stinky Molly Fox at her side, and when the Board Man comes to call, wanting to know why she’s not at school, things are really bad. When Bob stays out later and later in the evenings, always the worse for wear, and spending too much time with a local very merry widow, Em decides to travel across Birmingham to fetch her mother home, but the mother she discovers is a far cry from the proud, upright and loving figure she has known so well . . .

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
More info & rights  

The Bells Of Bournville Green

Pretty seventeen-year-old Greta has never known a stable family life. With no father, and loathing her mother Ruby's latest boyfriend, Greta finds life hard at home and is happiest at work with her friends at the Cadbury factory in Birmingham where she is popular with the boys.

Life takes a turn for the worse when her missing vixen of a sister Marleen turns up during the freezing winter of 1962. Greta soon decides that her only way out is marriage, but all too soon she discovers that life with her old class mate Trevor is not a ticket to freedom and happiness.

She finds herself on the streets, pregnant and homeless.She is taken in by her mother's old friends, Edie and Anatoli Gruschov. In Anatoli, Greta finds the father she has never had. Kindly Edie loves to mother people and is desperately missing her son David and his family who have settled in Israel.

But the love and security of this haven is soon shattered by appalling tragedy, which affects all the chocolate girls and their children and changes life forever.

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
Portugal ASA
More info & rights  

Where Earth Meets Sky

Beautiful, dark-haired Lily has been abandoned in a Birmingham slum as a tiny child. With few clues as to her identity she endures a childhood of loneliness and loss.

At eighteen she applies for a post as nanny with the family of a Captain Fairford, a soldier in Ambala, north India and his highly strung wife Susan. Lily is drawn into the emotional life of the Fairford family and adores her charge, two year old Cosmo.

When, in 1907, Captain Fairford orders a new Daimler car, it is brought out by a young motor mechanic, Sam Ironside. Sam and Lily fall deeply in love, and it is only later that Lily learns that Sam is married and feels utterly betrayed. When Cosmo is later sent home to school, Lily finds another post with a Dr. McBride and his invalid wife, in a beautiful Himalayan hill station.

The place is idyllic, and Lily settles for a quiet life. However, she is unprepared for the pain and misunderstandings that follow and force her to run from everything she has known ...

Where Earth Meets Sky takes us from Edwardian England and the British Raj, through the darkness of the Great War to the glamour of Brooklands Race Track in the 1920s. Spanning two continents, it is a story of enduring friendships and two hearts which cannot be kept apart.

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
More info & rights  

Family Of Women

1950 - Seven year old Carol Martin lies encased in an iron lung, struck down by the killer disease, polio. Distraught at her side, her mother, Violet, wonders if this is her punishment - for Carol is the love child who should not have been born..."Family of Women" is the story of three generations of women: Bessie: scarred by a childhood of poverty in the slums of Victorian Birmingham and left a young widow with four children, is a hard, bullying woman who will go to disturbing lengths to keep her family under her thumb. Violet: one of Bessie's four children, marries young to escape, into the arms of a man whose life will be broken by war, Linda: grows up on a large housing estate in the 1950s with older sister Joyce and her beloved young sister Carol. Intelligent and energetic, she craves education and something more than the life she sees around her. Torn from her longed for place at the grammar school, she gives up hoping for anything better. It takes a tragic love affair to make her question the limitations of her life and the secrets which haunt her family. Spanning more than half of the last century, "Family of Women" is a story of one family - and of the joys, struggles and changes in women's lives.

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
More info & rights  

Miss Purdy's Class

In the New Year of 1936, Gwen Purdy, aged 21, leaves her home to become a schoolteacher in a poor area of Birmingham. Her parents are horrified, but she has the support of her fiance, a recently ordained clergyman. Her early weeks in Birmingham are an eye-opener: at the school she faces a class of 52 children, some of whose homes are among Birmingham's very poorest. One of the teachers, the elderly Miss Drysdale, proves an inspiration, and Gwen begins to understand the appalling hardships endured by the children as she is drawn into their lives. Little Lucy is a 'cripple' and an epileptic.

Through her, Gwen meets Daniel Fernandez, the elder brother in a fatherless household. The family has roots in a Wales' small Spanish community, and Daniel is a young man as fierce and passionate in his emotions as in his social concerns. Gwen falls in love, and is quickly engaged in his battle to win rights for the working classes. As the Brigades are mobilized to fight the Spanish Civil War, Gwen has to face the fact that Daniel has secrets in his past which she would rather not face up to...

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
More info & rights  

The Water Gypsies

It is 1942, and after a childhood of suffering in Birmingham Maryann Bartholomew has built a life of happiness and saftey with her husban Joel and their children, working the canals on his narrowboat, The Esther Jane. But the backbreaking work and constant childbearing take their toll on Maryann, and the tragic loss of her old friend Nancy, followed by a further pregnancy, leads her to commit a desperate act which nearly costs her life.

The walls of her security are broken down when Joel suffers an accident and, to keep the boats working, Maryann is forced to allow Sylvia and Dot, two wartime volunteers , into the privacy of her life.And when she discovers that someone keeps calling for her at Birmingham's Tysely Wharf, the dark memories of her past begin to overwhelm her.For that someone who seems to be watching her every move, is becomming more dangerous than ever she could imagine...

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
More info & rights  

The Narrowboat Girl

Young Maryann Nelson is devastated at the loss of her beloved father. But worse is to come when her mother, Flo, sees an opportunity to better herself and her family in a marriage to the local undertaker, Norman Griffith. Though on the surface a caring family man, Norman is not all he seems, as Maryann and her sister, Sal, soon discover.

Unable to turn to their sympathetic mother for support, the girls are left alone with their harrowing secret. But for Sal it is too much to bear…

The chance of a new life for Maryann when she befriends Joel Bartholomew. Aboard his narrowboat, The Esther Jane, she finds herself falling in love with life on the canal, as she is swept away from Birmingham and all her worries.

Until Joel’s feelings for Maryann begin to change, awakening all the old nightmares she had thought long buried, and in panic and confusion she takes flight…

“Full of warmth and domestic detail which inspires the reader, Annie Murray brings her characters vividly to life” Denise Robertson

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
More info & rights  

Chocolate Girls

It is 1942, and after a tough childhood in Birmingham, Maryann Bartholomew has built a happy life with her husband and children working the canals on a narrowboat. But hard work and constant child bearing take their toll, and the death of a friend and another pregnancy lead her to a desperate act.

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
Portugal ASA
Turkey Yediveren
More info & rights  

Poppy Day

Jessica Hart’s unhappy childhood as the daughter of a country blacksmith is changed forever by the sudden death of her mother. Her father, absorbed in his own grief, leaves her to cope with her loss alone.

It is her manipulative new stepmother who tries to force her into marrying an older man. To Jess, a bright, pretty girl who dreams of finding true love, the idea of being trapped in a loveless marriage in unthinkable. So she escapes to Birmingham to her Aunt Olive – the last remaining connection to her mother.

Happily settled with her cousins in Birmingham, Jess’s life seems set fair. But it soon becomes apparent that in the shadows of Olive’s family there are haunting secrets of which no one will speak….And Jess’s security is threatened when she meets a friend of the family and falls passionately in love. For handsome Ned Green is not only already married, nut about to become a father any day…

Poppy Day takes us into the warm heart of a Birmingham family as we follow its struggle to come through the Great War intact. Anne Murray’s uplifting saga is a moving love story of loyalty, remembrance and ultimately healing.

"A moving novel, beautifully crafted with a sharply observed historical background" Coventry Evening Telegraph

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
More info & rights  

Orphan Of Angel Street

Almost from the day she is abandoned, half frozen, on the steps of Birmingham’s Home For Poor Girls, little Mercy Hanley shows a fierce determination few others can match. An inner fire shines brightly, even in the cruel conditions of the home.

Here, in the opening years of a new century in the British Empire’s prime industrial city, survival is hard. Those who start with nothing are granted least of all. When her best friend Amy is put into service far away, and Mercy is dispatched to live in the slums of Angel Street with the slovenly Mrs Gaskin, she feels that the orphan in her has been abandoned once again.

But behind Mercy’s pale haunting face there is a mind of steel as Mrs Gaskin and her neighbours soon discover. Beatings, threats and poverty cannot halt Mercy’s efforts to improve herself, or create a new life for Susan, Mrs Gaskin’s crippled daughter. Even in the worst times, it is as if someone is watching over Mercy, willing her to succeed. Through the dark shadow of world war and with the first awakening of passion, Mercy continues her fight for survival on her own terms. She will earn her freedom and security. Then at long last she can give her love.

“Full of nostalgia and emotion" Beverley Guardian

“A tale of passion and empathy that will keep you hooked” Woman’s Own

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
More info & rights  

Birmingham Blitz

Genie Watkins is a Birmingham kid with a sharp tongue, an unflinching sense of loyalty and an uncanny habit of being at the centre of the action. She longs for a proper family like her friend Teresa's, and works hard to try and keep everyone happy. But it's August 1939. As war breaks out Genie has to fight even harder for her family's survival. Her father and brother gone, she takes on responsibility for her mother, who at first finds the war strangely liberating ... Add to this the problems of her uncle Len - 'not quite the full shilling' - and her glamorous songbird auntie Lil, and Genie has her work cut out to hold together the family's already rocky existence.

As the bombing begins over Birmingham, even the happy moments of singing with her Nan or sharing secrets with Teresa are threatened. So is the precious, loving relationship she has begun with Joe, a young pilot. The Blitz seems about to destroy not just the face of the city but all that is familiar. But from amidst the rubble come extraordinary surprises, glimpses of hope - and, above all, powerful resilience.

“A tale of passion and domestic details which inspires the reader. Annie Murray brings her characters and their neighbourhood to vitality to life” Denise Robertson

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
More info & rights  

Birmingham Friends

A REMARKABLE, STIRRING NOVEL

Anne Craven has grown up captivated by stories of her mother's childhood in Birmingham and of Kate's friend, Olivia. Theirs was a magical friendship and Anna has always regretted that with Olivia's tragic death during the War, she will never meet the woman her mother loved so deeply.

But when Kate dies after a long illness, she leaves her daughter a final story, one that this time tells the whole truth of her life with Olivia Kemp. And as Anna reads on, she learns that this particular story is far from finished and is shocked to discover how little she really knows about the mother she felt so close to. Why has Kate kept so much hidden from the people who loved her? Why did she feel that at the last, Anna should hear the truth? With Kate's words of caution ringing in her head, she goes in search of the one woman, very much alive, who can answer the urgent questions she now has about Kate's childhood, and even her own...
The journey takes Anna into the darkest moments of the past before laying her mother's ghosts to rest. It also helps her discover a future that she has only dreamed of and a love she has lost the hope of finding.

"A meaty family saga with just the right mix of mystery and nostalgia" Parents Magazine

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan
More info & rights  

Birmingham Rose

"An exceptional first novel" The Chronicle

For Rose Lucas, a spirited, intelligent girl, born into a large family in the slums of pre-war Birmingham, life is limited and hard. But through her friendship with Diana, daughter of a vicar from middle-class Moseley, she learns to aspire to a different and better existence and vows never to become a child-bearing drudge like her mother.

Life, however, seldom follows the way of dreams. After a childhood marked by tragedy, she eventually finds and loses the love for which she has striven so hard. From Italy, where she has travelled during the Second World War, she is forced to return to Birmingham and an unhappy marriage, her hopes and illusions shattered.

Finally after further struggle, she leaves the beloved city of her childhood, as it rises from the ashes of its bombed devastation, for the powerful spirit of Rose will not be defeated...

A vivid and lyrical first novel by an author whose passion shines through her moving and heart-warming saga.

Territory Publisher/Agent
World Darley Anderson Agency
UK & Commonwealth Pan Macmillan

The most commercially minded agency in London

Our UK literary agents have a long history of producing commercial success for our authors in a broad variety of genres. Many of our writers are among the highest-paid, bestselling authors in the world.