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Breach of Promise to Marry
Welcome to my website, where you can find information about my books and links to my articles and reviews. The What's New page provides updates about forthcoming projects, talks and events as well as new discoveries about my specialist interests. Details of how to get in touch are included on the Contact Me page.
I was born in Sheffield. I studied Modern History at St Anne's College, Oxford, where I specialised in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, exploring topics such as the Industrial Revolution and its legacy, the growth of a distinctive identity amongst working people and the social influence of literature and art. A few years as a Chartered Accountant followed, until I swapped paid employment for bringing up a family, plunging into a range of community roles in the process. I began to write features on subjects including child welfare, school governance and IT for children, for a number of publications, and reviewed books and software. When I returned to work it was to roles with charitable organisations.
Discovering our family trees rekindled my passion for history. When an opportunity arose to research and write about the hidden world of the women who used to work underground in coal mines I decided to take it. Pit Lasses challenged a century of misconceptions about these hardy women and their lives.
Breach of Promise to Marry explores what sort of women were the real Miss Havishams and what suing for damages after a broken engagement reveals about the social values of the time. It was inspired by reading about two very different breach of promise cases in a Victorian newspaper.
I now research and write books and articles and give talks. My key areas of interest are social history as experienced by individuals and how society is represented in fiction and in the media, past and present.