Liverpool 1931, where Daisy Gallagher, big, tough and loving, learns to fight competition, laugh with her customers, weep in private. In a Liverpool torn by the Depression, Daisy Gallagher grows to womanhood the hard way. She is the mainstay of her poverty-stricken family and the devoted friend of Nellie O’Brian, who is dying for lack of medical attention. Daisy’s desperation for money leads her into the darkened streets and into the arms of drunken sailors willing to pay.
Through her own strength and suffering, Daisy earns enough to pay for her friend’s much needed medical attention. Her family know nothing of her occupation, but when her stoker husband returns from the sea Daisy realises, terror-stricken, that the moment of truth has finally arrived.
Helen had a special affection for her character, Daisy. Here is how she described the genesis of the book to her publisher.
“I lived for many years within two blocks of Catherine Street, a well-known red light district of Liverpool, and walked through it most evenings for seven years on my way to night school. It was a very harsh introduction to the idea of sex. As a social worker I often came into contact with women like Daisy.
“If I have any expert knowledge of anything, it is of poverty, having lived in it and worked three years to alleviate it amongst others. My wanderings in Liverpool, in India, in Mexico, in New York and even here, in Edmonton, have added to it.
“You will have probably heard Rod Stewart singing his smash hit, “Maggie May”, in praise of the present generation of Liverpool daisies, who specialise in young men. They don’t seem to have changed much.
“I think that Liverpool Daisy will find a readership amongst those who enjoyed Twopence to Cross the Mersey “