Silk and Steel by Catherine King
And another book bought directly from a writer I met at the Dunsford novelists' conference! Actually Catherine was my tutor for the small group sessions, too, so I got to know her quite well.
This is a proper thumping good read - a gritty story of 1840s Yorkshire. When Mariah Bowes's mother does, her father reveals he's not her real father and throws her out. She gets brutally raped in a revenge attack - mistaken as the sister of Daniel Thorpe, Mariah's father's ironworks foreman - and takes refuge in the home of midwife Dora, Daniel's aunt, to recover. She finds her niche in life as a dressmaker, and earns some commissions for the local gentry. Daniel is the obvious choice (obvious to the reader!) of perfect man for her, but the author throws endless obstacles in their path, which keep you turning the page and reading late into the night, to find out how they're going to overcome them and get together. I won't reveal all the twists and turns of the plot!
As I'm writing historical novels myself, I read this with a view to learning how it's done. It's certainly inspired me and given me plenty of food for thought.