...in this typical Catherine Cookson page-turner. The orphaned Emma is brought to live with her reluctant grandmother on a country farm. Life is hard. Emma endures very hard work, the abuse of her employers, and suspicion of her Spanish background.
Emma's great beauty and strenth of personality cause some men to love her and some men to hate and want to punish her for seeing through them. Circumstances force her to accept marriage from a decent enought young farmer Barney but her life is harsh, and she must endure the hatred of her brutal brother-in-law Luke, who eventually punishes both Emma and Barney in a particularly horrific fashion.
Emma must also bear the heartache her selfish, promiscuous daughter brings to the family, but she remains a good woman, working herself to exhaustion on the farm when her husband becomes disabled, and refusing to become bitter. I wish Emma had been allowed to use her Whip in a more dramatic, rescuing fashion, like Ayla and her slingshot in Clan of the Cave Bear, but it tends to serve more as a symbol in this novel.
Emma's relentless hard times depressed me more than usual, I don't think the other Cookson heroines suffer quite this much, except maybe Katie Mullholland or Tilly Trotter.
In any event, this is another superb Catherine Cookson I'd highly recommend.