Pit Bank Wench by Meg Hutchinson
A compelling tale of good and evil for fans of Josephine Cox.
Emma Price is only a pit bank wench, but her corn-coloured hair and blue eyes win the love of Paul Felton, younger brother of the colliery owner. Carver Felton has no intention of seeing his brother throw away his future on such a humble girl and savagely rapes Emma, leaving her isolated and pregnant with his bastard child.
It looks as though she is destined for the workhouse, but there are kindly folk in Wednesbury: Emma is taken in by butcher Samuel Hollington and his wife and gives birth to her son, Paul, under their care.
But Carver Felton has not forgotten the girl he wronged. Once he has ruthlessly achieved his business ambitions, he turns his attentions to finding an heir to the Felton fortune - and he determines to track down Emma and her child.