Beautiful, dark-haired Lily has been abandoned in a Birmingham slum as a tiny child. With few clues as to her identity she endures a childhood of loneliness and loss. At eighteen she applies for a post as nanny with the family of a Captain Fairford, a soldier in Ambala, north India and his highly strung wife Susan. Lily is drawn into the emotional life of the Fairford family and adores her charge, two year old Cosmo.
When, in 1907, Captain Fairford orders a new Daimler car, it is brought out by a young motor mechanic, Sam Ironside. Sam and Lily fall deeply in love, and it is only later that Lily learns that Sam is married and feels utterly betrayed. When Cosmo is later sent home to school, Lily finds another post with a Dr. McBride and his invalid wife, in a beautiful Himalayan hill station. The place is idyllic, and Lily settles for a quiet life. However, she is unprepared for the pain and misunderstandings that follow and force her to run from everything she has known...
Where Earth Meets Sky takes us from Edwardian England and the British Raj, through the darkness of the Great War to the glamour of Brooklands Race Track in the 1920s. Spanning two continents, it is a story of enduring friendships and two hearts which cannot be kept apart.
This is a story that I especially enjoyed writing. It has a particular pull for me because the seed idea for the story comes from an experience of my maternal grandfather, though I never met him. In 1905, he was working as a mechanic at the Daimler Motor Company in Coventry, during the early days of car manufacture. When a car was exported in those early times, the company often sent a mechanic along with it to teach its buyer to drive and maintain it, especially as it would be driven on foreign terrain.
My grandfather was sent twice to India with a car, the first time to the northern cantonment town of Ambala, where he stayed for several weeks. This has always fascinated me, and as it links two of my passions - the history and people of the West Midlands and India - I could feel a story growing out of it. So, on July 7th 2005 I set off to Ambala... As I boarded the plane the TV screens were giving the first news of terribly explosions in London and the next day the news was all over the 'Times of India'... Apart from that continuing news, it was a wonderful journey, both to Ambala and to the hillstation of Mussoorie and for me it was the best kind of journey of all - one which is also the making of a story. Where Earth Meets Sky is the result.