The Little Runaways

The Little Runaways
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A gritty drama that will appeal to fans of The Throwaway Children and authors Nadine Dorries and Kitty Neale.When little Terry and Nancy arrive at the door of St Saviour’s Children’s Home, they seem shellshocked after being orphaned in the fire that killed their parents. Terry is terribly damaged by his experiences, though the concerned staff, especially Angela Morton, suspect that there is something more sinister behind his disturbing behaviour.Angela shares her anxieties with Mark Adderbury, a psychiatrist volunteering at the home. They’ve grown closer recently but Angela, still grieving the loss of her husband, feels that Mark needs more from her than she can give. Then why does she feel so jealous at the arrival of Staff Nurse Carole, who seems to have captured Mark’s attention?They must all pull together to get to the bottom of what really happened to Terry and Nancy, but the truth may be harder to take than they realise . . .


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An imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd

The News Building

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF

First published in Great Britain by Harper 2016

Copyright © HarperCollinsPublishers 2016

Cover layout design © HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 2016

Cover photographs © Henry Steadman (children); Mary Evans Picture Library (East End background)

Cathy Sharp asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

A catalogue copy of this book is available from the British Library.

This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins.

Source ISBN: 9780008118471

Ebook Edition © March 2016 ISBN: 9780008118488

Version: 2016-01-13



Title Page


Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

Chapter Thirty-Two

Chapter Thirty-Three

Chapter Thirty-Four

Chapter Thirty-Five

Chapter Thirty-Six

Chapter Thirty-Seven

Chapter Thirty-Eight

Chapter Thirty-Nine

Chapter Forty

Chapter Forty-One

Chapter Forty-Two

Chapter Forty-Three

Chapter Forty-Four

Chapter Forty-Five

Chapter Forty-Six

Chapter Forty-Seven

Chapter Forty-Eight

Chapter Forty-Nine

Chapter Fifty

Chapter Fifty-One

Chapter Fifty-Two

Chapter Fifty-Three

Chapter Fifty-Four

Chapter Fifty-Five

Chapter Fifty-Six

Chapter Fifty-Seven

Chapter Fifty-Eight

Chapter Fifty-Nine

Extract from The Christmas Orphans

About the Author

Also by Cathy Sharp

About the Publisher

Nancy stared out of the kitchen window at the piles of rubble across the street, where six houses had once stood. The space was due to be developed soon, and weeds grew between the cracks in the concrete, giving it a desolate air that echoed the feeling in her young heart. Every one of those terraced houses had been bombed during the terrible Blitz that had decimated the area round her home. Poplar and Bethnal Green had caught it as much as anywhere, because of their close proximity to the Docks. Other people said it was a miracle that the houses this side of the street had escaped the bombs, but Nancy wished that hers had been demolished that same night. Perhaps then she wouldn’t be here, living in fear and misery, waiting for Pa to return from his job in the machinery works down by the Docks.

It was the 23rd of December 1947. Soon it would be the special, holy day that families looked forward to spending together – not that it would make any difference in this house. Nancy knew she would receive no presents from her parents and the only small gift her brother had was the colouring book and crayons she’d bought with what she’d taken from the housekeeping pot. Nancy felt no guilt for spending the few pennies on a gift and some sweets. If she hadn’t walked all over the market to save money buying their Christmas dinner of scrag end of lamb, which she’d make into a tasty casserole with carrots, onions and potatoes, there would have been nothing left – and if she hadn’t spent it on Terry, her mother would have taken it for drink.

Tears stung her eyes but she rubbed them away with the backs of her hands, which were red and stung from the soda she’d put in the water to soak Terry’s sheets. He’d wet the bed again and if Pa came home and smelled stale urine he’d belt Terry, Ma and her – no, he’d reserve a different kind of punishment for her; one that turned her stomach sour and made her burn with resentment. What Pa did to her wasn’t right, for all he claimed it was his due for feeding and housing them all.

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