A NORTH-East author has published her 43rd book – a historical novel following a battling female hero in the 1920s.

Elizabeth Hankin has been writing under the penname Elizabeth Gill for more than 30 years.

Her last book, Miss Appleby’s Academy – the story of a single middle class woman who flees an unwanted suitor in the US and founds an academy in Tow Law, County Durham, at the turn of the last century – sold 70,000 copies on Kindle.

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The 63-year-old’s latest work, The Fall and Rise of Lucy Charlton, tells of the determined legal secretary’s efforts to help Joe Hardy discover more about his mystery benefactor.

Set in Durham, Newcastle and London in the 1920s, it is described as a gritty, emotional saga.

Mrs Hankin, of North End, Durham City, wrote the book during last year.

“It’s a story about a woman as hero,” she said.

Mrs Hankin has just finished work on another novel, about a woman doctor.

The Fall and Rise of Lucy Charlton, published by Quercus, is available in paperback priced £6.99 and as an ebook.

For more information, visit quercusbooks.co.uk Supermarket giant Asda will be selling the novel around Mothering Sunday.