This is the second book of a trilogy of books on the life and times of Sarah Valentine. Sarah Valentine was my Great Great Grandmother and I first heard her story, as a little boy, from my Grandmother. She intrigued me so much that in later years, I researched her and was astounded to find her in old London records.
She was born in 1819 in the deprived East End of London and her story is filled with heartache and adversity. This was, of course, in the time of Charles Dickens and he would have known the area well. In later years it would become the haunt of ‘Jack the Ripper’.
She suffered much anguish and sorrow; events that were amplified as her life touched that of other tragic people. The fact that she survived at all is quite remarkable.
She was a rebel and, at only 12 years old, her parents threw her into the Shoreditch Workhouse where she fell foul of a number of feral girls, who were quite happy to inflict serious harm to any who got in their way.
She was raped by a trusted friend and was forced to give up her much loved illegitimate son; it almost drove her to suicide. Her family were decimated in a slum clearance, but she determinedly struggled on.
My objective, in writing her biography is to give a remarkable insight into the daily struggle of a real-life penniless young girl to survive in the early depraved East End of London and readers must bear in mind that this no work of fiction, these events actually happened.
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