Heritage of Shame by Meg Hutchinson Coronet $90 In the grand, gritty tradition of Catherine Cookson and Josephine Cox, Meg Hutchinson, the 'mistress of simmering sagas', gives us a story about a woman wronged who rises above adversity to grasp freedom and happiness. Set against the backdrop of the first world war, ravishing young Anne Corby returns to England after living in Russia, to claim her inheritance: the Glebe Metalworks. But fate is against her. Her aunt, who's been running the iron foundry in Anne's father's absence, is determined her son will inherit the business. To add to her woes, Anne is raped while travelling home. But she has a secret: a mysterious talisman, wrapped in a black velvet cloth, in which the peace of nations resides. Packed with drama, tragedy and ripped bodices, this is pure escapism.