Nadine Dorries draws on her Liverpool roots as inspiration for her third novel in The Angels of Lovely Lane series.

July 1954

It was three weeks since the day of the accident that had rocked St Angelus and everyone who worked there to the core. Teddy Davenport, the most popular junior doctor at the hospital, boyfriend and true love of one of the most popular student nurses, Dana Brogan, had almost lost his life in a car accident. He’d been racing down to the Pier Head to collect Dana, who had just returned from a visit back to her family farm in the west of Ireland. From absolutely nowhere and without a second’s warning, a young pregnant woman had stepped straight out into the path of his speeding car. Dana, sitting on her suitcase nearby as she waited for Teddy to arrive, had witnessed the whole thing.

In the days since the accident, Teddy had spent many hours in surgery, with patients and staff alike holding their collective breath, willing him to survive. He almost died a number of times. What saved his life was a resuscitation technique that had been newly discovered in America and was being pioneered at St Angelus by Dr Anthony Mackintosh. Every time Teddy almost succumbed to the shock of his injuries, Dr Mackintosh brought him back, only for Teddy to leave them again within minutes. It was down to Dr Mackintosh and the heroic efforts of the orthopaedic surgeon, Mr Mabbutt, that Teddy eventually pulled through, and everyone knew it.

Through these darkest of days Dana was supported by her closest friends and housemates from the Lovely Lane nurses’ home: Pammy Tanner, Victoria Baker and little Beth Harper. With Teddy now beginning his long recuperation on the male orthopaedic ward, she was beside him for as much time as she could manage. After nine hours on her ward shift, she routinely spent a further four hours at Teddy’s bedside, with the permission of Matron, nursing him through the worst.

The accident and Teddy’s near death had stunned everyone who worked with him or knew him. It even made the front page of the Liverpool Echo. There wasn’t a nurse, porter or domestic at St Angelus who did not see the day of Teddy’s accident as a turning point in the life of the hospital. It was like a catalyst that forced everyone to accept that it was now time to embrace the post-war world and the new NHS and all it brought with it. Taking the path of resistance, as Matron and some members of the hospital board had, was no longer an option.

Bestselling author Nadine Dorries draws on her Liverpool roots and her early experiences as a student nurse in the third novel starring the Angels of Lovely Lane.

Noleen Delaney is one of an army of night cleaners at St Angelus Hospital. Son Bryan has a good job as one of the hospital’s porters’ boys, but Finn has done something unheard-of and passed his Eleven Plus exam. How on earth will they pay for his books, his grammar school uniform and shoes?

Bronia Ryan has battled depression since her husband died. Even in that poor neighbourhood her house is a byword for chaotic squalor. And now one son is in prison. Her youngest, Lorcan, wants no part of a life of crime, but how can he ever escape? Or protect his mother from her vicious eldest son?

As usual, St Angelus is at the heart of things. Life and death, love and loss, jealousies, rivalries and betrayals are woven into a rich tapestry – the latest instalment in Nadine’s great series about poverty, sacrifice and community spirit in post-war Liverpool and the early days of the NHS.

Nadine Dorries grew up in a working-class family in Liverpool and spent a great deal of time in Mayo with her Irish grandmother. She trained as a nurse and has been the MP for Mid-Bedfordshire since 2005. She has three daughters.

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