Books by Denise Buckley

The White Dress


In 1886, Clara, a young peasant girl and prostitute, steals a baby from a rich family in the hope that Henry, the man she lives with will believe the baby his and marry her. He doesn’t believe her and leaves. Stuck with the stolen child Nellie, Clara has two more children with unknown fathers and spends all her money on drink. One day while Nellie is out looking for food, the police arrest her “mother” because of her neglect of the children, and her “siblings” are taken to the workhouse.

Nellie runs away from her hometown and settles in Ulverston, Cumbria, making a makeshift bed near the canal and boat yards. She eats what she can forage and steals when she must. Nellie meets a rich boy named Charles Nicholson, who left home to become a sailor. Nellie persuades Charles to return home and they become friends. Nellie becomes employed by a farmer who tries to assault her.


5.0 out of 5 starsA compelling mystery in the canonical style

October 30, 2015

Format: Paperback

Epic visions are rare in today’s literary landscape. Too much contemporary writing is cloyingly intimate, limited, and banal— without a sense of journey or adventure or history. The White Dress, however, harks backs to the works of Dickens and Steinbeck, tapping into the sweeping narrative and profound depth of a canonical aesthetic so often lacking in the fiction of our age.
Beginning in 1886 with a destitute prostitute named Clara for our lead, The White Dress explores the desperate plight of this down-and-out heroine as she steals an infant from a wealthy family in the hopes of convincing her lover that the baby is in fact his. The plan fails, and Clara is left alone with the purloined child (called Nellie), as her life falls into further disarray through alcohol and the struggle of supporting two subsequent children of her own— born out of wedlock. In true 19th century literary fashion, The White Dress shifts then to the story of Nellie— who is taken from her ‘mother’ and forced into the workhouse. From there, Nellie runs away and begins a journey as troubled and harrowing as Clara’s— as the plight of the poor is explored in the second generation. However, when Nellie becomes a kitchen maid in a wealthy household, she slowly comes to learn the truth of her parentage— and that the debonair man she has fallen in love with… may in fact be her long, lost brother.
The White Dress is a thrilling and wholly captivating epic which re-imagines the time-tested tropes of poverty, heritage, and mystery in a highly original and gratifying narrative rife with complex characters and unforgettable moments. Ms. Buckley has managed to bring the world of Victorian England to life with striking prose and a nuanced sense of time and place. The White Dress is a joy to read— from the tragic to the uplifting, it runs the whole gamut of human emotion: and captivates its audience with every word.

nominee-award-oct15 (2)The man injures himself on the pitchfork she uses to defend herself and Nellie runs away. The farmer finds her, beats her badly, and leaves her for dead. Charles and his father find Nellie and get her medical attention.

Nellie becomes a kitchen maid in the Warburton household, only to discover that she is the lost baby kidnapped from the Nicholson family so many years before. Could it be that Charles, the man she has come to love, is really her brother?

Yesterday’s Tomorrows, The Dark Secret

What is the terrible secret in the historical novel Yesterday’s Tomorrows: The Dark Secret? This eloquent story describes life in England in the early years of the 1900s, when two young orphans go to live with their aunt and uncle.
Eight-year-old Ruth escapes a house fire with her half-sister, but the rest of the family perishes in the blaze. Ruth later works in the local mill, where she falls in love with Billy. When Billy goes missing in World War I and is presumed dead, Ruth learns that Billy is seriously injured and can no longer father children. She tells him that it doesn’t matter and they marry.

Ruth is brutally raped and becomes pregnant by an unknown assailant.

Although Billy pretends to be the father, it is too much for him to bear. Startling revelations continue into the book’s sequel that continues this sad tale. Is there hope for a happy future?

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Heroes Don’t Cry


In this action-packed World War II novel, Jonathon is eighteen when he enlists in the RAF in 1940 to become a pilot. After finally getting his wings, he is sent on a night raid in a Mosquito aircraft. Jonathan’s plane is shot down over France and he hides in a farmer’s barn.

Then he meets Michelle, a member of the French Resistance. Michelle helps Jonathan escape, but she is captured and taken prisoner by the Germans.

Jonathon leaves the RAF when the war is over and goes in search of Michelle. What he finds is unexpected and will change his life forever. Heroes Don’t Cry is a war story that shakes the lives of all those who were brave enough and lucky enough to survive.

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