Saturday, 7 September 2013
Immigrants arrived laden with sacks, carpet bags, small trunks, rolled-up bundles tucked under their arm or balanced on their head. Luggage would be stowed on the ground floor while they proceeded up the stairs.
Everyone must first walk up the stairs to be inspected. Children over two had to walk unaided to prove they weren’t disabled. Anyone limping or short of breath was hauled out of line for further health checks. Anyone too carefully watching their step was suspected of having an eye problem. Fractious children or sulky teenagers could be pulled out of line and given a test for the feeble-minded. These stairs came to be known as ‘the six second exam.’
When they reached the top they would indeed catch their breath in amazement at what they saw. A huge, grand, high-ceilinged hall divided into railed channels along which they were herded like cattle.
After that came the inspections. There would be a long wait in a queue, often for hours. Some would strike up music on an accordion or banjo, and do a little impromptu dance, while waiting. At the end of each line a doctor, dressed in the blue uniform of the US Health Service, carefully scrutinised every man, woman and child for physical or mental defects. Hair, face, neck and hands were closely examined, including the scalp for ringworm. Coats were unbuttoned to check for a goitre or tumour, or pregnancy.
Rosie Belsfield feels as if her life has ended when she is rejected from Ellis Island and has to return alone to England leaving her family behind. But having boarded the ship with one identity, fate decrees that she leave it with another. The promise of a new life beckons, one of riches and even a title in beautiful Cornwall, but it is also one fraught with danger as she becomes caught up in a web of lies not of her making.
Published by Allison & Busby
Tuesday, 3 September 2013
Moon Cutters – Janet Woods
Severn House UK
Hardcover and electronic.
October 31st 2013
Miranda Jarvis and her younger sister find themselves without means in the middle of winter. In a desperate attempt to steal food from a Dorset country house, they are caught and taken into the care of the owner – unaware that the seemingly respectable middle-aged gentleman is actually the head of the local smuggling industry in the district.
James Fenmore has no scruples, or pity, and when his estranged and (reasonably) honest nephew, Fletcher Taunt, inherits the adjoining property, once part of James’ dealings, he begins to plot to relieve Fletcher of it, along with his legitimate shipping concerns.
When Miranda and Fletcher meet they fall in love . . . but James has other plans for the two innocent girls.
Because of past intrigue Fletcher has been kept in ignorance of his parentage. Since he can’t find any answers, he begins to fear the worst, especially since it seems that his uncle has turned against him.
What Fletcher has been told is completely different to what he discovers – that his father is alive - and with no memory of his past he has been living as part of a monastic colony in France. Two years before, his memory began to return. Adrian Fenmore is brother to Sir James, and his aim is to regain his title, take his revenge and get to know the son he’s never seen. The pair re-unite.
Thes sisters’ relationship with James Fenmore begins to deteriorate, and their curiosity leads them into trouble as well as danger. Lucy is writing a novel from a journal she found – and Miranda discovers that it uncovers some clues to Fletcher’s identity.
James hides the impressionable Lucy - the younger of the two girls - in the church crypt – this to force Miranda into a marriage she doesn’t want. He then sends Miranda into the network of smuggling tunnels to find her. The girls are taken to safety – but not before Fletcher and Miranda wed.
James Fenmore loses his life in a last ditch effort to destroy the estate.