Gerry Thorley’s wife Rachel has left him for another man. His son Callum, who works for a PR company by day and deals drugs at night, hardly ever visits him. Now Gerry, divorced and approaching fifty, wants a second chance at love.
On the other side of the world, on the infamous Payatas dump in Manila, nineteen-year-old Maria and her family live a life of abject poverty and desperation. Picking through the filth, they earn just enough to stay alive. There seems no chance for change, until one day a young man appears with a proposition.
As Gerry combs web site after web site searching for the perfect mail-order bride, Maria and her family come to terms with the possibility that she might marry a foreigner to escape the miserable cycle of poverty in which they live. But he must be just the right man, a kind, respectful man, and a man with the means to give her a better life.
Will Maria’s future husband turn out to be an Englishman more than twice her age? Will Gerry’s new wife satisfy his needs for companionship and warmth? And what might his ex-wife and son think of Gerry’s new bride?
As French émigré Roman Catholics, Lizette Molyneux and her brother Robert are used to an existence on the edge of their Regency Nottingham community. But when Robert is arrested for a crime he insists he did not commit, Lizzie must draw on all her strength and courage to help him. Overcoming poverty, prejudice and the unwanted advances of her employer’s son, she unites with the frame-breaking Luddites to free her brother and to rectify social injustice.
With all the excitement of Sharpe (Bernard Cornwell), as well as the social commentary of Elizabeth Gaskell and Victor Hugo, Framed dramatises the issues of a turbulent time and champions the resistance of poverty-stricken workers. If you liked Les Miserables, then you’ll love Framed!
It is exactly one week until sixteen-year-old Mercy Swimmer is to play out a dream scenario: to spend an entire week with movie star Fiona Wonder, the prize awarded to the winner of a contest staged by a teen magazine.
Mercy is kind and compassionate and always tries to see the best in everybody, even when those around her do not respond similarly. For example, her mother’s snippy, hot-tempered friend Nikki is a kleptomaniac who constantly belittles her boyfriend. Her best friend Valerie has anger issues and a weight problem. Beautiful but cold Lady Redding, Valerie’s mother, feels entitled to everything even as others go without. And Mercy’s mother, a severe asthmatic who works two menial jobs in a “dead mall”, seems to care more about Fiona Wonder and Mercy’s upcoming week with her than the pressing issues in their own lives.
Everything is on track for Mercy’s upcoming week with Fiona Wonder, but when her mother’s asthma flairs up, Mercy’s world turns upside down and she is faced with a decision that will ultimately challenge her own capacity for compassion.
A Week with Fiona Wonder shines an intense light upon the dire consequences of social exclusivity and suggests the alternatives of inclusion, empathy and, indeed, mercy.
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