It’s in that moment, I realise – I have nowhere to turn. If my precious daughters and I are going to have a roof over our heads, we have to return to my childhood home. The one I’ve not felt welcome in since my father died. The one where the woman who destroyed our family still lives…
Today marks the end of my life as I know it. I have absolutely nowhere to go, no-one to turn to. My husband’s lies have ruined our family and wrecked our marriage. And now he’s disappeared, leaving just a promise to make it all right.
My daughters, Olivia and Alice, need me like never before. I will do whatever it takes to stay strong, to keep them safe and loved. So I turn to the one place I hoped never to return to. When my dad died, he left me his house, with one proviso. His second wife, my stepmother, was to be allowed to live there for as long as she wanted. She hasn’t welcomed me there, or shown a single sign of leaving, since.
But I have no choice. I need to ask for her help.
Little do I know that everything I thought I knew about the woman who destroyed my life when I was a child is about to come crashing down. Living together now, the secrets that have kept us apart for all these years are finally revealing themselves. Will our fragile bond break completely, or could it be the only thing that saves me and my daughters…?
All I’ve ever wanted is to be a mother. And since I married David, it’s gone from being a dream of mine, to a dream of ours. And I want it for him too – it’s the happy-ever-after he deserves after the tragic loss of his first wife, Katherine.
We have tried and we’ve hoped. But today I’ve just found out it’s impossible. That I’m unable to become a mother. My heart breaking into thousands of pieces, I beg the doctor to tell me there’s another way.
But it’s David who speaks. Telling me that just before Katherine died, she had gone through fertility treatment. Now her eggs legally belong to David. To us.
It could be my only chance to be the mother I’ve always longed to be… But can I really carry his first wife’s baby?
I look at my lovely girl. The child I always promised to keep safe, the child I know I’d love no matter what. I look at her and in that moment, my heart breaks into pieces. Because right now, I am not sure I know her at all…
Julia’s daughter Grace is her whole world. To Julia, she’ll always be the little girl who would put her tiny hand in hers, who she could heal with the smallest kiss, who would trust her mother with everything.
But Grace has changed since becoming a teenager. She’s fallen out with her childhood best friend and has become quiet and distanced. Julia wants more than anything to find a way reach her only daughter. Even if some days it seems impossible, Julia knows her lovely, sunny girl is still in there.
Until today when Grace came home after school, covered in blood, and she’s refusing to speak, except to acknowledge that her former best friend is lying in a coma in hospital.
Julia is forced to ask herself: what could Grace be hiding? She can’t believe her little girl could have done something terrible. But her instincts tell her that Grace is keeping a secret. And if it’s what Julia fears it might be, she could lose her fragile, gentle daughter forever.
And – as another mother’s daughter fights for her life – Julia will have to ask herself, how far would she go as a mother to protect the child she loves with her whole heart?
‘I would do anything for you to get well again, baby girl.’ It’s a promise. Even though it means asking her father for help, going back there, risking everything. Whatever the cost, there’s no hesitation in my mind. Because that’s what you do when you’re a mother.
Single mother Anna’s six-year-old daughter Libby is her whole world. Having escaped a marriage that was threatening to destroy her, Anna has managed to get their lives back on track. Looking at Libby’s sweet, heart-shaped face, Anna is filled with hope for the future. They have each other and nothing else matters.
But then Libby gets ill, with a rare disorder that means she needs a transplant from a relative if she’s going to survive. And when Anna discovers she herself isn’t a match, there’s only one person she can turn to.
So she picks up the phone, and dials a number she hoped she’d never have to call again. The man she once ran from. Her daughter’s father. She knows he’ll want to be part of their lives again and that the fear she felt for years will come flooding back. But deep down Anna knows what she has to do, what any mother would.
Because if there’s a chance to save your daughter’s life, wouldn’t you do whatever it takes?
When Emily’s husband dies in a terrible accident, she’s not the only wife he leaves behind.
Because, before their whirlwind romance and Emily’s discovery she was pregnant, Pete had been married to Caroline for more than twenty years. A devastating tragedy had torn them apart. But there was a part of Pete that had never fully left his first wife and a secret that would bind them together, forever.
Finding herself lonely, heartbroken, and forced to face life and motherhood alone – Emily is surprised that Caroline offers her support. But Emily knows she needs someone she can trust and rely on. Even if it’s the woman her husband loved before her.
A tentative friendship develops and their lives become entwined. Their bond grows ever stronger as Caroline steps in to help when Emily’s baby arrives unexpectedly early. But it’s not just Caroline hiding a secret. Both of the women who once loved Pete have things they can never admit, without risking a friendship that might be the only thing keeping them both afloat.
When grief begins to take its toll on Emily, she feels sure that Caroline is the only person who can save her and baby Dylan… But should she trust the woman he loved before her – with her life… Or her child’s?
It is just past ten o’clock on a cold Friday evening when Rebecca and her husband Jack’s doorbell rings. Outside is a woman who introduces herself as Jack’s ex-girlfriend Cara. And she’s holding the hand of a shivering, blue-eyed, four-year-old girl. Who she claims is Jack’s daughter.
Rebecca is shocked to discover he has a child from his last relationship – even one he hadn’t known about. Because becoming parents isn’t part of their life plan. They like children, but they also love their freedom and spending time together uninterrupted; the way that, if they wanted to, they could travel the world at a moment’s notice.
But Cara needs them. Because Cara has a devastating secret that she can’t tell anyone yet. Not even her daughter. A secret with the power to change all of their lives.
A secret that will ultimately mean Rebecca has to ask herself – could she find it in herself to welcome her husband’s child into her home, and into her heart?
There’s room in her house where Shelley has shut away a heartbreakingly-soft, never-used baby blanket. In a box, under a bed, behind a door that she never opens. If it’s there, she can forget about it. Just like she has her memories. Of a marriage that hadn’t been perfect. Of a life that didn’t go the way she had hoped.
Every day she acts like everything is normal. Going to work and following a routine helps her pretend the bad stuff never happened. Until one day, everything changes.
She sees the couple moving in next door, laughing sweetly as they walk up the path to their new home. The woman is pregnant. It’s like she has everything that Shelley has lost. But when Shelley properly meets Lara, she soon discovers Lara is actually carrying a heartache to match her own.
As her friendship with Lara deepens, Shelley starts to wonder what might happen if she opens the box she’s hidden away, with the tiny, beautiful blanket in it. Will the secrets from her past – about what she lost, what she’s hiding from, and what she has been doing her best to forget – destroy her? Or will opening it up finally give her a chance to live again?
Ever since Ruby was tiny, she has been unique. Her smiles are magically rare, her building blocks are always colour-coded, and she communicates only in gestures. Sometimes being Ruby’s mother is hard, but the way she sees the world makes it new for Sara every day. And she and her husband work hard to give their daughter the happy family life she deserves.
So when Sara’s husband walks out on them without any warning, Sara’s world falls apart. She can’t imagine life without him. He was the only other person who could calm Ruby down, and who Sara could rely on to hold her in his arms and listen after a long, exhausting day of pleading with Ruby to eat, calm down, explain why she’s crying.
Without other family of her own, her mother-in-law, Barbara, is the only person Sara can turn to for help. But Barbara thinks Ruby’s problems are all in Sara’s head; that she just doesn’t know how to raise a child right.
Alongside dealing with her difficult mother-in-law, Sara is also juggling a new job and the emotional wrench of Ruby starting pre-school, all alone while her heart is breaking. It feels like a struggle to give Ruby the warm, stable home she deserves and Sara just can’t see how she will cope alone. But then Ruby surprises them. Can a little girl who doesn’t speak show both women the way?
When I was a kid and I’d lost something, my dad always said ‘Go back to the place you last had it’. The problem is that what I’ve lost is… me.
Kate loves her family more than anything, but recently she has started to feel invisible. Lying awake at three a.m. as her husband snores, panicking about shopping lists, birthday parties, and the school bake sale…
She finds herself in the kitchen, gulping water, staring at a postcard of the Eiffel Tower from Shannon, her best friend.
Paris, with its red wine, slippery cobbles and curly lamp posts. Where the scent of freshly-baked croissants hangs in the air, and Kate last remembers feeling like herself.
The postcard is a year old. It has just one line on it: When are you coming?
She closed her eyes. Think with your head. Your heart can’t be trusted. Life is not a fairytale…
Single mum Rory doesn’t believe in love. She’s got far too many real problems to deal with.
She’s just bought a tumbledown house. Her mother is generally behaving like a wicked witch, insisting on calling her Aurora, and generally interfering in her (admittedly pitiful lack of) love life. And her 16-year-old daughter has finally grown out of Disney princesses and discovered dating…
But Rory’s adamant that she doesn’t need saving. In fact, the only thing she’s wishing on a star for is a bit of practical help. However, when she meets a builder whose name is John Prince and who seems to be in the habit of rescuing her (right down to finding her lost shoe one evening) she might have to face a truth as uncomfortable as hobbling home barefoot – that maybe there’s something enchanted in the air.
Her mother, daughter and friends are convinced her prince has come, but Rory just wishes everyone could let it go. Especially when she hears a story that makes her question whether he is really the hero everyone thinks he is…
Jenny has too much on her plate: literally – she’s only expecting one child but she’s eating for at least three. Not to mention trying to juggle her nightmare boss, a know-it-all sister, and an infuriatingly laid-back husband.
She used to be known for her ‘Single Girl About Town’ column. But when her boss gives her job to a younger colleague, Jenny panics and proposes she blogs instead about being a clueless new mum. Surely people will find her new friendship group fascinating? (Even if the only thing they seem to have in common is that they all had sex around the same time 9 months ago...)
And if her readers aren’t quite hooked yet, maybe Jenny will just have to be more liberal with the truth. After all, none of the other mums will read it… will they?