Growing up in a 1950s mining village in the English midlands is hard for someone like Joey, who’s known he was different since he was a kid. All he wants to do is run wild on the hills, watching nature and indulging his love of art. All his parents want is for him to settle down. But that doesn't appeal to him.

Everything changes the summer he turns eighteen, when the gypsies come to town. They’re here for the beet harvest, but the villagers resent them and Joe’s Mam won’t even let him speak to them. But when Joe meets Billy on the hill behind the village, the man is good-looking, good-humoured and surprisingly kind. Best of all, Billy shares his love of the natural world.

Unbeknown to his family the two become friends, and then more than friends. But when the farmer’s barn burns down and Joe’s brother Rob puts the blame on Billy, Joe must decide whether to stay loyal to his family, or grow up fast and risk everything he’s familiar with to help the man he’s come to love.

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In which Joey first catches sight of the gypsies and can't understand why his mother disapproves of them...

He was in the village with Mam a few days later when he saw the gypsies. A small group of them, brightly clad, exotic and somehow alien compared to the local villagers, clustered outside the Fox & Hounds one lunchtime, supping ale and laughing amongst themselves. Joey thought they looked like fun, and wanted to go and meet them. But when he mentioned it, Mam did her impression of a kettle coming to the boil.

“You’re not to speak to them, Joe Cooper,” she hissed. “Do you hear me? You mustn’t go anywhere near them. Dirty, good for nothing layabouts the lot of them. Look at them, drinking during the day like they haven’t a care.”

“Well Dad drinks cider with his lunch on Sundays.”

Her mouth turned down at the corners, giving her a mulish look. “That’s not the same at all and you know it. Anyway, you’re not to speak to them and that’s my final word. You’ll catch all sorts of nasty things from the likes of them.”

He couldn’t understand why Dad’s cider and the gypsies’ beer were so different, but the strength of her tone startled him and put him off pursuing the argument. He wondered what the gypsies had ever done to her to make her so cross. “What things?”

Mam and Mrs Pritchett from the village store rolled their eyes at one another. “Never you mind, you just stay away from them.”

“All right, Mam.” It wasn’t worth upsetting her. She’d been more tired than usual lately and when he took the time to think about it, he worried about her. But it was hard. He’d never taken much notice of the gypsies before, although they came every year at harvest time to help in the local farmers’ fields. This year, for some reason, it was different. His eyes were drawn to the men, their cheery faces and vibrant clothes, and to one man in particular, a sturdy dark-haired fellow who seemed to drink more and laugh louder than the rest. I’d like him to be my friend, Joey thought, and then he wondered why.


"Fiona Glass packed it with lots of emotions and so many things to think about. Well worth the read!" - Maryann Kafka on Bookbub

"Charming gentle tale of two of society’s outcasts..." - Vin George, author of Tending His Heart

"I relished this gorgeously evocative story that conjured up a small-minded, small mining town in 1950s England." - Ellie Thomas, author of the Twelve Letters series

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While you're here, why not check out some of Fiona's other books, including paranormal romances December Roses, Ghosts Galore and Trench Warfare, and vampire romance Echoes of Blood.

You can find details of them here:

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