The Word Association

Dilly Court

Dilly Court Dilly Court grew up in the suburbs of north east London, and started writing at a very early age. Her first commercial success was an advertisement for Co-op tea, which she wrote aged 12, receiving a hamper of goodies from the Co-operative Wholesale Society and a nice thank you letter as a token of their appreciation. Having started work as a secretary with Associated Rediffusion, the first London commercial television station, she went on to write advertising copy.

She gave up work in order to bring up her family, but she continued to write in her spare time, and her first novel Mermaids Singing, was published by Arrow Books in 2005. She has since had twelve Cockney sagas published with another coming out at the end of 2011.

Dilly Court also writes under the name of Lily Baxter and her WW2 book, Poppy’s War was published in 2010

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Latest book: A VILLAGE SCANDAL by Dilly Court published by Harper Collins March 2020. Sunday Times No 1 bestseller

Dilly Court - A Village Secret Wedding bells are ringing in Little Creek. After their hasty marriage the Christmas before, Daisy is overjoyed to be finally marrying Jay properly, in front of the whole village. But then, on the evening of the wedding, Jay disappears into the dark and stormy night. Daisy doesn’t know if he is alive or dead, if she’s Jay’s wife orhis widow. And what’s more, without her husband, she has no means of supporting herself or her household. Refusing to give up hope, Daisy must draw on all her strength and courage – after all, she has people who depend on her. But the secret of Jay’s disappearance is more scandalous than she could have ever imagined.

THE CHRISTMAS WEDDING (published by Harper Collins October 2019) the first in the Village Secrets Trilogy.

The first flakes of snow are falling when Daisy Marshall receives a letter from her master’s son, breaking off their secret engagement. Heartbroken she flees to Little Creek, a village on the Essex Coast, to live with her aunt and uncle. Although Daisy receives a warm welcome, the villageis poverty stricken, suffering under a cruel Lord of the Manor, and when cholera strikes, the villagers are truly in dire straits. Determinedto help, Daisy makes friends in earnest doctor Nicholas, and dashing smuggler Jay – but also dangerous new enemies, who threaten to destroy everything she’s built. Can Daisy save the village and find happiness in time for Christmas?

NETTIE'S SECRET published May 2019 by Harper Collins went straight in at number 3

Thanks to her hapless father, Nettie Caroll has had to grow up quickly. While Nettie is sewing day and night to keep food on the table, her gullible father has rusted the wrong man again. Left with virtually nothing but the clothes the stand up in, he’s convince that their only hope lies across the English Channel in France.

Nettie has little but her dreams left to lose. Even far from home trouble follows them, with their enemies quietly drawing closer. But Nettie has a secret, and its one that has the power to save them. Can she find the courage to trust in herself and pave the way for a brighter future?

THE SUMMER MAIDEN (Published June 2018 by HarperCollins) the second book in the River Trilogy. No 3 in the Sunday Times Bestsellers.

When Carrie Manning’s father dies unexpectedly, her family is plunged into mourning. The curtains are drawn, the clocks stopped and with an increasing feeling of dread, Carrie learns that the family’s fortunes have floundered. A life of destitution beckons. Their last ship is lost at sea, and until it finds safe passage, Carrie has no choice but to seek work with the Colvilles, a rival shipping family who reap the rewards from her father’s ruin. Dependent on the Colvilles’ pity, Carrie becomes a companion to Maria, the youngest granddaughter. But on a quest to help Maria, Carrie unearths devastating secrets between the families.

THE CHRISTMAS ROSE (published November 2018 by HarperCollins) the final book in the River Trilogy. No 2 in the Sunday Times Bestsellers.

As Rose Munday steps off the ship that brought her from Australia into the perishing cold of London’s Royal Victoria Dock, she’s full of excitement. Yet, clutching a bundle of love letters from her sweetheart, frozen by the fog and bitter cold, Rose realises she has been abandoned. Lost and penniless Rose stumble into danger, but she is rescued by a woman of the night, who can see Rose’s innocence shining through. Rose makes many unlikely friends in London’s shadowy back streets, but with all hope of her sweetheart’s return fading, she starts to build a new life and a new career. Slowly she finds her heart being healed by the man who makes it his duty to protect her, but when a good deed turns sour, Rose makes a dangerous enemy who threatens to ruin them all.

THE RIVER MAID published by Harper Collins

Hardworking Essie Chapman lives with her boatman father on the banks of the Thames at Limehouse. When an accident leaves him bedridden, with only ale to ease his pain, it is Essie who takes up the oars for the family’s survival, risking her life to ferry passengers across the dangerous waters. One night, Essie transports a mysterious man from a foreign ship to the docks, a man who gives her no more than his name – Raven. And against her will, Essie finds herself on a ship bound for the Australian penal colonies. Spirited away and plunged into terrible danger, Essie embarks on a perilous journey to the other side of the world ...

The Mistletoe Seller published in November 2017 by Harper Collins. First full week in the bestseller charts at number 2.

Christmas Eve and flurries of snow fall on the cobbled streets of Whitechapel. A baby, swaddled in a blanket, is found on a doorstep in Angel Alley. Named after the street on which she was abandoned, Angel Winter was blessed to be taken from the harsh streets into a loving home. But fate deals another cruel blow and she is left destitute, having to fend for herself in the alien world of Covent Garden. With winter closing in, Angel scratches a living selling mistletoe to the City gentlemen who pass through the market. Although struggling to survive, she will never sell the one treasure that she owns, the gold and ruby ring that was hidden in her swaddling. This ring could hold the key to the secrets of her past…

The Button Box Published by Harper Collins, went straight into the Charts at Number 3

There was a time when the Carter sisters’ father was their hero. Now he’s a drunk who’s gambled away everything they have an put them all in peril. It’s on Clara’s shoulders to save the four sisters from destitution. Clutching her precious button box, the only thing of value they have left, Clara dreams of starting a shop that could put a roof over their heads and keep them safe. But in debt to the terrifying Patches Bragg, leader of one of the East End’s roughest gangs, Clara is in fear for her life. When a mysterious benefactor seems to offer an escape, Clara realises too late that it comes at a terrible price. Cheated, abandoned and alone – can Clara save her family and hold on to her dreams?

The Christmas Card Published by Harper Collins, The Christmas Card went straight into the Charts at Number 3

The Christmas Card has gone straight into the Charts at Number 3. When her father dies leaving Alice and her ailing mother with only his debts, the two grieving women are forced to rely on the begrudging charity of cruel Aunt Jane. Determined to rid herself of an expensive responsibility, Jane tries forcing Alice into a monstrous marriage. And when Alice refuses, she is sent to work in a grand house to earn her keep. Finding herself in sole charge of the untameable and spoilt young miss of the house, Alice’s only ally is handsome Uncle Rory, who discovers that Alice has talents beyond those of a mere servant. But when someone sets out to destroy her reputation, Alice can only pray for a little of that Christmas spirit to save her from ruin.


MERMAIDS SINGING (Arrow) 2005, THE DOLLMAKER’S DAUGHTERS. (Arrow) 2006. TILLY TRUE (Arrow) 2007. THE BEST OF SISTERS (Arrow) 2007. THE COCKNEY SPARROW (Arrow) 2008. A MOTHER’S COURAGE (Arrow) 2008. THE CONSTANT HEART (Arrow) 2009). A MOTHER’S PROMISE (Arrow) 2009. THE COCKNEY ANGEL (Arrow) 2009. A MOTHER’S WISH (Arrow) 2010. THE RAGGED HEIRESS (Arrow) 2010. A MOTHER’S SECRET (Arrow) 2011. CINDERELLA SISTER (Arrow) 2011. A MOTHER’S TRUST (Arrow) 2012. THE LADY’S MAID (Arrow) 2012. THE BEST OF DAUGHTERS (Arrow) 2012, THE WORKHOUSE GIRL (Arrow) 2013. A LOVING FAMILY (Arrow) 2013. THE BEGGAR MAID (Arrow) 2014. A PLACE CALLED HOME (Arrow) 2014. THE ORPHAN’S DREAM (Arrow) 2015. RAGGED ROSE (Harper) 2016. THE SWAN MAID (Harper) 2016. THE CHRISTMAS CARD (Harper) 2016. THE BUTTON BOX (Harper) 2017. THE MISTLETOE SELLER (Harper) 2017. THE RIVER MAID (Harper) 2018. THE SUMMER MAIDEN (Harper) 2018. THE CHRISTMAS ROSE (Harper) 2018. NETTIE’S SECRET (Harper) 2019.