SOUTHERN IRELAND, 1860 Michael Rafferty, a nineteen year old collector, falls madly in love with Siobhan Doherty, a fifteen year old potato-picker
Fearing her drunkard father would abuse her as he had her siblings, Michael takes her to England, hoping to reach London and the streets paved with gold. He passes Siobhan off as his sister. Money is short, but saving the life of Reverend Parker gives them temporary work at the vicarage. Sally, the servant, falls madly in love with Michael, and finds Siobhan a job as house-maid to a local retired schoolteacher. Michael never abandons his dream to go to London and taking Siobhan with him. All would have gone to plan had Siobhan not enjoyed her job, and the evil Lord Bromley not become obsessed with her. The events that followed entwined the lives of Siobhan, Michael, Sally and the Lord with disastrous consequences. June Pettitt became interested in writing after the sudden death of her only son, Mitchell, aged 29. She joined a writing class to help divert her mind from her inner sadness. ''Last of the Strawberries'' was her first venture, but was put aside until she met her new husband, James. He encouraged her to complete the book. After several drafts it eventually took on its present form. June is an antiques dealer, and has written many poems and short stories, some of which have been published. Trained as an artist at the Wolverhampton College of Art she has exhibited her work, most of which has sold. The sequel to ''Last of the Strawberries'' is well under way. Entitled ''Apples in the Dust'', it continues the saga with unexpected consequences.