Authors: Carol Rivers
Carol Rivers, whose family comes from the Isle of Dogs, East London, now lives in Dorset. Visit www.carolrivers.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @carol_rivers
Also by Carol Rivers
Lizzie of Langley Street
Bella of Bow Street
Lily of Love Lane
Eve of the Isle
East End Angel
In the Bleak Midwinter
East End Jubilee (
Rose of Ruby Street)
A Sister’s Shame
Cockney Orphan (
Connie of Kettle Street)
A Wartime Christmas
Together for Christmas
First published in Great Britain by Simon & Schuster UK Ltd, 2015
A CBS COMPANY
Copyright © Carol Rivers, 2015
This book is copyright under the Berne Convention.
No reproduction without permission.
® and © 1997 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved.
The right of Carol Rivers to be identified as author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.
Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
222 Gray’s Inn Road
London WC1X 8HB
Simon & Schuster Australia, Sydney
Simon & Schuster India, New Delhi
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-4711-3132-5
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4711-3134-9
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual people living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Typeset by Hewer Text UK Limited, Edinburgh
Printed and bound in Great Britain by CPI Group (UK) Ltd, Croydon, CR0 4YY
The Fight for Lizzie Flowers
was written for
, my readers.
Once again, my thanks go to Simon & Schuster for whom I’m currently writing my thirteenth book. I still can’t believe it! To Jo Dickinson, my awesome editor,
and to the editorial, art and production teams, whose skill and ingenuity bring to life the very small germ of an idea in my head. To Judith Murdoch, agent extraordinaire, who has encouraged me to
dig deep from the very start. With her help and support I’ve gained a new insight into my writing goals.
Finally, my thanks go to all the friends I have made on social media and Amazon, to those who have read the books, both in paperback, electronic and audio, and to those who have reviewed. I was
able to reach more readers than ever this year, and felt honoured to learn about your lives and families in a very special way. In return, I published my first newsletter in 2015, expressing my
thoughts on a more personal level. A big thank-you here to the talented Rik Ubhi, who made my newsletter possible.
Lastly, a nod to him indoors – Chris, who, a bit like a police artist, creates sketches of my characters as I describe them, until suddenly they jump off the canvas and into my arms. Well,
So, thank you everyone. I am truly grateful.
It was a sunny winter’s morning and ladders of gold streamed in through the registry office windows. It was also the last Wednesday before Christmas and Lizzie rejoiced
in the fact that, at last, in her twenty-seventh year, she would be married to the love of her life, Danny Flowers.
The scene was set – low-key, no frills, just as she had wanted. Beside Danny stood Bert, her brother and best man. The ring was poised carefully between his great clumsy fingers, ready to
pass to the groom. Bert’s towering six-foot-four frame strained every stitch of his ill-fitting wedding suit, his presence giving her a feeling of reassurance. As did her good friends Lil and
Doug Sharpe, seated in the row behind, the only witnesses to today’s brief civil ceremony.
Lizzie looked into Danny’s clear blue eyes, spaced evenly in his handsome, weather-beaten face. A jagged scar on his forehead was still visible, the handiwork of her late husband, Frank,
Danny’s older brother. Thankfully, nature had healed the vertical slash of smooth, pale skin and Danny’s blond hair fell lightly across it, disguising any unsightliness. But the thought
of Frank and the violence he had been capable of still made her shiver.
Uncannily, a door ground open at the back of the room and her mother’s words flashed into mind. ‘
Someone’s just walked over my grave, Lizzie, girl. The hairs on my neck are
standing on end
But why had she thought of that now? Lizzie wondered as Danny took her hand in his. Frank was dead and buried; a swollen, almost unrecognizable corpse dragged from the River Thames seven months
ago, now laid to rest in East London Cemetery.
She and Danny were to be man and wife today. Nothing could spoil this moment. Not even those painful memories she had buried, sealed and locked away, and hoped would fade completely as the years
Danny moved closer. His tall, powerful figure was dressed impeccably in a hand-finished black suit and silk tie. Thick blond waves parted on his crown and a smile curved over his even white
Lizzie’s heart lifted in anticipation. This was the moment she had dreamed of since Danny had sailed out of her life to seek his fortune in Australia almost twelve years ago. She had loved
him then. She loved him now. It was as if she had never lost him, never taken his brother for her husband.
And lived to regret it.
‘I love you,’ Danny whispered, tracing his thumb gently over her fingers. ‘Always and forever this time.’
Her heart raced, missing yet another beat. ‘Always and forever,’ she repeated, her voice lost as the registrar, pasty-faced and squat, cleared his throat noisily.
The door rattled again.
Danny held her gaze, as though forbidding her to turn round. She saw Bert pass Danny the ring and the golden band gleamed, poised to glide effortlessly over her finger.
But it was as if her eyes couldn’t help themselves. As if in slow motion, she turned, the minute details of the room imprinting themselves on her mind. The shabby wallpaper, the
well-thumbed reference books on the shelves, a vase of white chrysanthemums placed on a small table and a sprig of holly pinned precariously above the handwritten notice wishing the public at large
a Festive Christmas and Happy New Year.
‘Oh Christ, it can’t be,’ she heard Lil gasp behind her.
In that moment, Lizzie’s world began to crumble. The feeling of unreality she had been trying so hard to suppress all day now fully encompassed her. The man – the
– was walking towards them. A dark fedora shaded his eyes. A camel-coloured coat was buttoned over his chest. But it was the two-tone brown-and-white brogues that sent real fear throughout
her body. Shoes that were her late husband’s trademark in life.
And so – Danny had told her – in death.
Lizzie shook her head, refusing to believe what she saw. If this was a ghost, then everyone else was seeing it too. Lil and Doug stood open-mouthed, staring at the figure in the aisle. The
registrar frowned, a look of annoyance on his face at the interruption. But it was Danny who stepped forward and squared his shoulders, confronting the apparition. ‘Frank? But you’re
supposed to be—’
‘Brown bread,’ Frank acknowledged, his pale blue eyes moving uncertainly in their red-rimmed sockets.
Lizzie felt fingers of ice on her neck. Frank, her dead husband, was here, in this room. The same man Danny had identified in Limehouse morgue, back in May.
‘But it can’t be you,’ Danny said. ‘I saw you. Fished out of the river—’
‘Not me,’ Frank replied softly. ‘Sorry to disappoint.’
‘Is this some sick joke?’ Danny demanded. ‘What are you playing at, Frank?’