Lesley Pearse books in order
Lesley Pearse is a renowned British bestselling author of historical romance, historical fiction, and historical mystery novels.
Her books have done quite well, selling over three million copies in the United Kingdom alone, and more than 10 million copies across the globe.
Truth is stranger than fiction and Lesley's life story is one marred by tragedy and uncertainty.
At the age of three, she lost her mother, who died under terrible circumstances while their father was away at sea.
It was only when a neighbor saw Lesley and her brother playing outside, without wearing their coats, that suspicions grew.
With her mother dead for a while, and her father away, the two kids lived in orphanages for three years before being reunited with their father, who had remarried.
The constant and unpredictable nature of her early years is a theme that is heavily mirrored in Lesley’s books.
Lesley, who has three daughters and a number of grandchildren, currently lives not far away from Bristol.
Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Mystery
- Georgia (1993)
- Tara (1994)
- Charity (1995)
- Ellie (1996)
- Camellia (1997)
- Rosie (1998)
- Charlie (1999)
- Never Look Back (2000)
- Trust Me (2001)
- Father Unknown (2002)
- Till We Meet Again (2002)
- Remember Me (2003)
- Secrets (2004)
- A Lesser Evil (2005)
- Hope (2006)
- Faith (2007)
- Gypsy (2008)
- Stolen (2010)
- Forgive Me (2013)
- Without a Trace (2015)
- Dead to Me (2016)
- The Woman in the Wood (2017)
- The House Across the Street (2018)
- You'll Never See Me Again (2019)
- Liar (2020)
- Suspects (2021)
- Belle (2011)
- The Promise (2012)
- Survivor (2014)
- Great Escapes (2003)
Detailed book overview
When nine-year-old orphan Georgia James is unexpectedly fostered by the kindly Celia and her bank manager husband she can hardly believe her luck. But then - on her fifteenth birthday - she suffers the cruellest betrayal of all at the hands of her foster father and is forced to run away, leaving everything she loves behind her.
Penniless, sleeping rough, Georgia is soon introduced to the sleazy Soho world of brassy strippers, sweat shops, camaraderie and hardship. Fired by a fierce ambition, blessed with an extraordinary voice, her long struggle for fame and fortune begins. But even when she reaches the top she finds that the scars of the past can open up to ruin her...
Steeped in atmosphere and raw emotion, Georgia is the story of a determination to succeed against all the odds and of a burning first love.
In the East End, twelve-year-old Tara witnesses her villain of a father almost kill her mother. She forges a determination then and there to change her life.
This is the story of three beautiful and talented women. Mabel, whose great love for a gambling man has brought her close to insanity; gentle Amy, who marries a man brutalized by war and failure; and Tara, who is hungry for success and life on her own terms.
To have both, she must battle against the legacy these two women have left her, the deep prejudices and dangers of Whitechapel in the 1960s - with its gang leaders, rogues, market traders and dolly birds - and the passionate love she has had since girlhood for the charming wideboy and villain, Harry Collins.
Charity Stratton's bleak childhood is changed for ever when both her parents are killed in a fire. Separated by the authorities from her younger brothers and sister, Charity is sent out to work as a skivvy in a boys' boarding school.
Her loneliness and misery are eased when she falls deeply in love with the dashing but fickle sixth-former, Hugh Mainwaring, but when she discovers she is pregnant with Hugh's baby she soon realizes just how alone she really is.
Determined to be reunited with her siblings and to make something of herself, Charity runs away to London and begins to forge a new life.
Ellie is a sweet-natured brunette, generous of heart with a sparkling smile and an accent which reveals her East End background.
Bonny is beautiful and spoilt, with cascades of blonde hair, the brightest pair of blue eyes and a mouth like Cupid's bow.
The two girls meet in London at the end of the war when, seduced by two American airmen, they pool their wits and resources and set off to make a living on the stage. Set against the hardship and austerity of post-war Britain, and the glamour and ruthlessness of life in variety theatre, their story is one of sacrifice and burning ambition. But most of all of a powerful friendship that lasts against all odds.
Camellia Norton is orphaned at fifteen when her mother's body is fished from a river in rural Sussex. And when she discovers a cache of letters amongst her mother's effects she realizes that the past she has always been so sure of has been built on a tissue of lies.
Devastated, she runs away to London, and loses herself in a metropolis that offers opportunity, temptation and danger, especially to a young girl hungry for love and acceptance.
But her past won't stay buried forever, and eventually Camellia begins the long journey towards uncovering the truth about her background, and also, ultimately, about herself.
Her brutal, violent family will be the death of her . . .
Without a mother, Rosie is at the mercy of her father and thuggish brothers. Then one day a friend comes to the farm in the form of cockney housekeeper Heather Farley.
But soon enough Heather vanishes, abandoning Rosie to her fate. Only when Thomas Farley comes to find his sister several years later, does Rosie learn the terrible truth about Heather - and her family.
Running away from home, she finds herself pursued by the man who brought ruin on her family. Is he out to get her too? Or could he have some other reason for chasing her?
Lesley Pearse, author of the UK and international best-sellers Stolen and Belle, tells a captivating and powerful story of family and secrets in her compelling novel Rosie. If you like Susan Lewis, you'll love Lesley Pearse.
"Her family is threatened and only she can save it."
When sixteen-year-old Charlie witnesses a brutal attack on her mother by two strangers she is shocked and terrified.
But after talking to the police, she realizes that her father's business dealings can't be so innocent...
With her father away, it is left to Charlie to protect her mother. And somehow she must find out who wants to hurt her family - and why - without losing faith in her beloved parents.
Can she unravel the mysteries of the past that haunt her family?
Or will the truth wreck everything she loves?
"One good deed takes her into another world..."
Sixteen-year-old Matilda is a poor Covent Garden flower girl until the day she saves the life of Tabitha, a minister's daughter. Welcomed into Tabitha's family, Matilda is offered the chance of a lifetime.
She leaves behind London's slums and enters the darkest corners of New York. Traveling across the vast plains to the Wild West, she finds herself in San Francisco, a city in the grip of the gold rush.
Streetwise and strong-willed, Matilda forges a new life for herself and Tabitha among pioneers like Captain James Russell - a man to whom she is deeply attracted.
Yet a civil war will soon rip apart this new nation . . .
Can Matilda and those she loves brave separation and carry on, never looking back?
"For one girl, betrayal goes hand in hand with trust..."
When their father tragically kills their mother, Dulcie and her sister are sent to an orphanage. Told that a 'better life' awaits them in another country, they are shipped off to Australia.
But the promises made turn out to be lies.
And it seems to Dulcie that everyone who ever said 'trust me' somehow betrayed that trust. So when she finds a kindred spirit in Ross, another orphanage survivor, hope swells in her heart.
But can she ever get over the past betrayals and learn to trust again?
And can she fight not only for herself, but also for her sister?
"Losing her adopted mother threatens all she's ever had..."
Daisy was adopted. But when her mother dies, she finds her secure existence thrown into turmoil by the discovery of a scrapbook.
Inside it is information about her real mother.
However, when Daisy drops everything to go in search of her roots, she uncovers a harrowing story of greed, misery and corruption. She also risks hurting her adored Dad, the only true family she has left.
Can she cope with the truth about her real parents?
And more importantly, who is the real Daisy?
"She killed two people in cold blood...But why?"
Susan is the woman who walked in a doctor's surgery one day and committed murder.
Beth is the lawyer assigned to defend Susan. But her client is uncooperative.
Until both women realize that twenty-nine years earlier, they were childhood friends . . .
While the evidence mounts up, their friendship starts to regrow.
But for one of them, there can be no happy ending...
"She made one mistake, and now she'll never see home again..."
Mary, a Cornish mariner's daughter, makes the biggest mistake of her short life when she steals a silk hat. Convicted and sentenced to be transported to Australia, she endures horrific conditions aboard ship before landing in a brutal and barbaric country.
It will take all her courage just to survive.
But Mary is also determined to make something of herself in this rugged man's world.
And she dreams that one day she will find a way of crossing the cruel seas that lie between her and home...
Without her mother she is alone in the world . . .
Twelve-year-old Adele is placed in a bleak, cruel children's home after a family tragedy drives her mother to madness. But when trust is betrayed Adele has no choice but to run away . . .
Alone and friendless, she heads for Sussex, to seek out the grandmother she has never known. However, the journey, without food or shelter, leaves her desperately ill.
Surrounded by the beautiful Rye Marshes, Adele is finally nursed back to health.
Can she now dream of a new life?
And what will happen when her mother reappears, bearing shocking family secrets?
She defied her parents and married for love . . .
Following her heart, Fifi moves with Dan to London where they rent a seedy flat in Dale Street, Kennington.
Though Fifi must now become acquainted with squalor, she is soon drawn into the goings on behind the shabby front doors of her new neighbors.
But it is the Muckles, at number 11, who are the street's focus. Rumors of criminal depravity and shocking behavior are rife.
So when Fifi steps in to help their youngest child, she risks the wrath of this frightening family.
Suddenly, not only her marriage and her family, but the lives of all the inhabitants of Dale Street are at the mercy of the immoral Muckles...
Her existence would be the ruin of her mother.
Baby Hope was the unfortunate proof of Lady Harvey's adultery.
Smuggled out of a privileged aristocratic household to a nearby village, her true identity is kept secret as she grows up in the arms of the poor, but loving, Renton family.
When the day comes for Hope to pay her way, what could be more natural than being taken into service by the Harveys?
However, when she sees something she should not, she is blackmailed into leaving her beloved Rentons forever...
Destitute and on the streets of an unfriendly city, Hope's courage and kindness sees her become a nurse destined for the horrific battlefields of the Crimea.
But will Hope ever come home and uncover the true story of her birth?
She was convicted of killing her best friend...
Laura Brannigan has been put away for murder.
She insists that she didn't kill Jackie. But her search for true justice seems futile. Then she receives a letter that takes her back to her youth and the memory of an old love, Stuart...
Twenty years ago was a heady time for Laura: she'd escaped an abusive home, and together with Jackie they had made a fresh start. They had sworn to be sisters forever.
What could have possibly gone so wrong?
And why is Stuart writing to her now?
Does he believe Laura's innocence and can he help free her from prison...and her past?
"Tragedy sent her on a journey far from home..."
Fifteen-year-old Beth's life is shattered when she and her brother Sam are orphaned.
Believing that only in America can they make a fresh start, brother and sister leave Liverpool and embark on the greatest adventure of their lives.
In New York, Beth's talent with the fiddle earns her the friendship of gamblers, chancers and other rogues. Dodging trouble across America, Beth and her friends head for the Klondike river in search of gold.
But how far must Beth go to find happiness?
And will her travels lead this gypsy to a place she can ever call home?
A woman washes up on a Sussex beach, barely alive.
She's wearing an old-fashioned dress and her hair has been hacked off.
There are signs she has been bound by her wrists and ankles.
She doesn't know how she ended up there, or even her own name.
The police are baffled and when the doctors examine her, they make a shocking discovery: She has recently given birth.
Who is she?
And where is her baby?
"Eva's life was secure, until the death of her mother changed everything."
For when Flora leaves Eva a London artist's studio in her will, she finds her mother had a secret past.
In the studio's attic are Flora's paintings and diaries, and Eva learns her mother was a popular artist in the swinging sixties. Eva's hunt for answers uncovers clues to a shocking crime which led Flora to hide her past.
But will discovering the truth destroy Eva's belief in everything she holds dear?
And will this journey lead her and those she loves into danger?
Coronation Day, 1953.
Molly Heywood slips away from the celebrations and makes a shocking discovery: her friend Cassie is dead and her six-year-old daughter Petal has vanished without a trace.
The only clue is a letter from London, where Cassie once lived. Now it is up to Molly to head there and uncover the past that her friend kept so well hidden.
The closer Molly gets to the truth, the more perilous her journey becomes.
She has given up everything - her home, happiness and a chance at love - all to find Petal...
But is she also risking her life?
Spring 1935. Two girls meet by chance on Hampstead Heath. To an outsider, they could not appear more different. Verity is well-mannered and smartly dressed, living with her parents in a beautiful house close to the heath.
Ruby is disheveled and grubby, used to a life of squalor where she is forced to steal to survive. Yet there's an instant affinity between them, and when their fortunes are shockingly reversed, it is the strength of their friendship that keeps them resilient to the challenges and hardships they face.
As Britain prepares for war, Ruby finds herself in Devon with the world at her feet and enjoying her first taste of romance. Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away, Verity is forced to leave behind everything she has ever known and a shadow from the past threatens her chances of a new beginning. But through it all, the girls are always there for each other. Until the day Verity does the one thing that will break Ruby's heart.
In a country torn apart by fighting, will Verity and Ruby survive long enough to find a way back to each other? Or do some betrayals go with you to the grave...?
The lives of teenage twins Maisy and Duncan change for ever the night their mother is sent away.
Sent to live in the New Forest with their cold-hearted grandmother, Mrs Mitcham, they feel unloved and abandoned.
And when one day Duncan doesn't come home from exploring in the forest, no one - least of all his grandmother - appears to care about his disappearance. The police, who've found the bodies of other missing boys, offer little hope of finding Duncan alive.
Yet Maisy refuses to give up.
Though she doesn't know the woods well, she knows someone who does. The strange old woman who lives at their heart . . .
Dare Maisy enlist the help of the woman in the wood?
And what will she find if she does?
"Is there a murderer across the street?"
Twenty-three-year-old Katy Speed is fascinated by glamorous Gloria and the goings-on at her house over the road.
Who are the mysterious women that keep coming and going in the strange black car?
Then one night, Gloria's house burns to the ground. Bodies are found in the wreckage.
And Katy's horror turns to disbelief when her own father is arrested and charged with murder.
Determined to prove his innocence, Katy sets out to uncover the truth about the mysterious house across the street and find the real murderer.
But that means risking her own life . . .
"Betty is running for her life."
When Betty's husband returns from the war broken and haunted, she knows her marriage is doomed.
So she escapes.
On the run and armed with a new identity, Betty becomes penniless and alone, quickly realizing that starting again is much harder than she thought.
And she never imagined it could end in murder...
But sometimes you have to keep running if you want to survive.
"Find the liar. Find the killer..."
Amelia White didn't expect her career as a reporter to start like this: by finding a young woman's body, just around the corner from her Shepherd's Bush bedsit.
With rumors already spreading about this poor murder victim, she seizes her chance to write the true story.
But when more bodies are found, the police are baffled.
Reporting on the story, Amelia meets witnesses as well as suspects. If she can only work out who the liar among them is, she may be able to stop the murders.
Or might she turn herself into the next victim?
"Welcome to Willow Close, where everyone is a suspect..."
On the day Nina and Conrad Best move into their new home in picture-perfect Willow Close, a body is discovered.
Hurrying inside with their belongings, they see horrified neighbors gather around the police cordon - one of the residents has been attacked and brutally killed in the woods.
When police start to interview the residents of the Close, they soon discover each neighbor harbors their own secrets. Because everyone on the Close is far from what they seem.
Nina and Conrad thought they'd found their dream home.
But have they moved into a nightmare...?
Belle is the latest novel from bestselling Lesley Pearse. She witnessed a murder - and now her life is in danger...Fifteen year-old Belle, though raised in a London brothel, is an innocent. But when she witnesses one of the girls brutally strangled by a client, she is cast into a cruel, heartless world.
Snatched from the streets and sold into prostitution, she is made a courtesan in New Orleans. At the mercy of desperate men who crave her beauty and will do anything to keep her, Belle's dreams of home, family and freedom appear futile.
Are Belle's courage and spirit strong enough to help her escape? And what will await her at the end of the long, dangerous journey home?
Belle Reilly finally has the life she's dreamed of thanks to a devoted husband in Jimmy and the hat shop she's wanted to own since she was a child. But as the storm clouds of World War One begin to gather, Belle's already turbulent life is to change in ways she never imagined possible.
When Jimmy enlists in the army and leaves for the battlefields of Ypres, her world is shattered and she realizes she can no longer stand by and watch, she must volunteer to help the wounded. But her work as a Red Cross ambulance driver in France throws her into the path of Etienne, the enigmatic man who played a significant role in her childhood, and Belle finds herself torn agonizingly between forbidden passion and loyalty to a good man.
But the past returns to haunt her present in other - more unpleasant - ways and Belle's character is put to the test like never before. Can she survive this most brutal of wars with her spirit intact? And will destiny finally lead her to lasting happiness even while war rages all around?
It is 1938 and Mariette is a defiant, strong willed and selfish 17-year old. The small, gossipy town of Russell, New Zealand isn’t nearly big enough for Mariette’s ambitions and her devoted parents, Belle and Etienne, fear for her reputation.
With the world on the brink of war, a trip to Europe is risky but the alternatives seem worse and Mari sets sail to visit her Uncle Noah in London. Armed with the freedom she's longed for since childhood, Mari quickly falls for Morgan, the handsome steward on board ship.
But once she reaches London, there are other temptations. Mari loves her new life - caught up in a whirl of dances and parties in the glittering West End. Finally, she is the mistress of her own future. But storm clouds are gathering, the war can no longer be ignored and London is hit terribly by the Blitz.
As London endures constant bombing, Mari's new life is cruelly blown apart. Forced from her loving new home, she ends up alone in the East End; worlds away from the London she knows. In the face of despair, Mari realizes that the only way to survive the war is to fight, with all the strength, selflessness and compassion within her...only then she will find true happiness.
Good Housekeeping magazine presents a brand new series of fiction books, kicking off with 'Great Escapes'. This book includes stories from some of our most popular and widely read award-winning authors. The stories are aimed at the readers of GH magazine - primarily women aged 25 to 55 - and deal with the myriad issues facing women today. Each story is a generous bite size of well-written, self-contained fiction perfectly suited to holiday reading.
Authors include: Rose Tremain, Fay Weldon, Deborah Moggach, Lesley Pearse, Kate Mosse, Helen Simpson, Isabel Wolff, Natasha Cooper, Virginia Ironside, Polly Samson, Pat Ferguson, Nell Leyshon, Amanda Craig, Elizabeth Buchan, Jane Elizabeth Varley, Kathy Lette and Nicci Gerrard.