WHEN she inherited a 174-year-old mourning brooch from her godmother, Jean Renwick was intrigued.

Researching the distinctive brooch, she discovered that its story began in 1849, when a young farmer’s wife, Elizabeth Addy, died, leaving two little girls. Her grieving husband, Joseph Addy, commissioned a gold brooch and placed a lock of Elizabeth’s hair, interwoven with his, in it.

The brooch was bequeathed to Jean in 1989. Her quest to find out what happened to Elizabeth and Joseph’s daughters and their descendants led to a novel, The Mourning Brooch. Now The Mourning Brooch Book Two - Moving On chronicles more of the family. Based on real people who lived in Bradford and Doncaster at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the story covers Manningham, Little Germany and East Bierley, as well as Europe and America.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Mourning Brooch returns to the family sagaThe Mourning Brooch returns to the family saga (Image: Jean Renwick)

With the help of Bradford Family History Society, Jean discovered Addy family links to wealthy wool merchants. Her book draws on significant events from the city’s past, including newsreel footage of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee procession projected onto the Bradford Daily Argus building, watched by crowds of thousands; the 1882 Newlands Mill disaster, when a West Bowling mill chimney collapsed, killing 54 people, including 32 children, working there; and the Manningham Mills strike of 1890-91.

Book Two follows Elizabeth’s daughters, Mary-Ann and Frannie, whose lives as young women lead them on different paths. Marrying into a family of Bradford wool merchants, Mary-Ann and her husband settle in Philadelphia, textile capital of America. Frannie marries a farmer and, facing hard times, the family leaves Yorkshire for locations including Portugal and Constantinople. The book, spanning 1876-1913, introduces characters Jean identified through archives and online research. “Because these were real people, I have treated them with respect - until research proved them otherwise,” says Jean. “Newspapers carried detailed articles of court cases revealing key players. One scandal, in Halifax, concerns a charge of theft against a housemaid who complained her master had propositioned her. Despite a petition signed by a staggering 20,000 supporters, the poor woman was sentenced to four months hard labour.

“I spent hours in Bradford archives and have been helped by many generous researchers. Half-way through writing the book, Sue Barry of Bradford Family History Society, discovered a surprise marriage which meant I had to back-track to the first chapter.

“Originally, I thought descendants of Elizabeth Addy had died out but last year I discovered one strand of the family remaining. Sarah Halswell, great-great-great-granddaughter, has provided stories and photographs to help build Book Three, covering 1913 through two world wars to 1943.”

The Mourning Brooch Book Two is available from Amazon and Kindle. Visit jeanrenwickauthor.co.uk

* IF you can’t get enough of Yorkshire family sagas, there’s more in Shibden Love & Money by LA Greenan. Set in the Calder Valley, the novel follows the ripple effects of an affair.

Hannah Burnside has it all - adoring husband, cherished daughter, a home overlooking the valley. Then her husband, Dylan, breaks her heart, leaving her oldest friend and business partner Ruth to help pick up the pieces.

Family life is complicated, especially with a controlling matriarch watching every move. Nothing in the valley gets past her. When a funeral opens up old wounds, there’s also chance for new love to grow.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The family story is set in CalderdaleThe family story is set in Calderdale (Image: LA Greenan)

Shibden Love & Money (Amazon and Kindle), is by Lindsey Armet-Greenan, who started writing in the pandemic. “I decided, when I turned 40 in lockdown, to do everything I believed I could - act, write and play piano. Piano lessons still pending,” says Lindsey.

* THE pandemic was particularly grim for pubs, and Simon Jenkins chronicles their resilience in The Yorkshire Beer Bible (third edition). Simon, winner of the British Guild of Beer Writers Adnams Award for his first book, The Great Leeds Pub Crawl, has trawled Yorkshire, “seeking out brewers old and new, large and small, which between them have created an astonishing beer scene”.

From fiercely traditional brewers producing time-honoured beers in slate squares to new-wave craft brewers embracing a variety of imported hops and a brewery founded in a garden shed in lockdown, Simon found them all. His updated guide lists every brewery he could find - more than 180 - and reveals how they coped with the pandemic.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Yorkshire Beer Bible features many local breweries and barsThe Yorkshire Beer Bible features many local breweries and bars (Image: Simon Jenkins)

Says Simon: “That so many came through, albeit on a wing and a prayer, is huge testament to their ingenuity and determination. Even so, of the 200 or so Yorkshire brewers featured in the 2019 edition, only 150 were still trading four years later. But remarkably, through this period of attrition for our industry a trickle of new contenders have emerged. More than 30 breweries are making their first appearance in the book. Somehow, miraculously, the Yorkshire brewing scene seems as diverse and exciting as ever.”

The Yorkshire Beer Bible, 3rd Edition, Great Northern Books, is released on September 14. Call (01274) 735056 or visit gnbooks.co.uk

* WHEN his mum walked out, Oliver Sykes’ dad quit his factory job to look after his six children. Growing up in poverty in rural Derbyshire, the siblings were instilled with a love of boxing and reading. Oliver was coached as an amateur boxer by his dad but his quest to make it in the ring ended when he was assaulted as a teenager, causing permanent damage to one of his hands. Graduating with a first class degree in theatre studies, Oliver worked as a theatre and creative project producer and wrote an award-winning children’s book - which inspired Alfie’s First Fight, a one-man family show about love, loss, family and boxing, heading to Otley Courthouse on Saturday, October 14, 2pm. It’s the story of 12-year-old Alfie who, when his older brother goes missing moments before the biggest boxing match of his life, investigates.

Says Oliver: “It’s the kind of tale you don’t often see on stage - a working-class story about a loving, supportive non-traditional family who love boxing. It’s about coming of age, fighting our fears and being who we always wanted to be.” Visit otleycourthouse.org.uk or call (01943) 467466.