Firstly I wish to thank Tracy Fenton of compulsive readers for inviting me on the Blog Tour The Foundling by Stacey Halls.
Two women from different worlds. And a secret that will change everything . . .
London, 1754. Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the child she has never known. Dreading the worst – that Clara has died in care – the last thing she expects to hear is that her daughter has already been reclaimed – by her. Her life is turned upside down as she tries to find out who has taken her little girl – and why.
Less than a mile from Bess’ lodgings in the city, in a quiet, gloomy townhouse on the edge of London, a young widow has not left the house in a decade. When her close friend – an ambitious young doctor at the Foundling Hospital – persuades her to hire a nursemaid for her daughter, she is hesitant to welcome someone new into her home and her life. But her past is threatening to catch up with her and tear her carefully constructed world apart.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
Bess Bright Knew who the father to her illegitimate baby was but he had unexpectedly died before Clara had been born. the only trace she had of him had been the whalebone piece he had given her, one half having his initials on the other had hers. Bess lived at home with her widowed father and there was no way she could possibly keep the baby. Clara was taken to The Foundling hospital on the day she had been born, by her mother and grandfather, to be raised by them, taught a trade and eventually work for her keep. For entertainment, the wealthy could pay to watch a lottery-type entry for the babies to be chosen at random for a place at the Foundling Church. The unlucky ones were turned away and likely starve or become ill and die through poverty.
Clara saved every penny she could until she could buy her daughter back when she was able to work. Clara was now six. When she returned to the Foundling Church, Clara had already been collected the day after Bess had left her by her the register said. Her child was gone. A doctor, who she met at the Foundling church organised a child caring job for Bess to a wealthy widow.
The child and Bess hit it off straight away with a natural way that the widow had never had with her daughter. The young widow was petrified of everything outside due to trauma she had suffered, this then had imprisoned the little girl in the house too.
What a superbly written story. Set in 1754 I felt everything, could smell everything and saw everything clearly. Stacey Halls take you there with her writing, the language she uses, the hardships and the hunger. Even lifting your skirts to pee in the street had a knack to it. Life wasn’t easy whether you were 6 or 46. The story is firstly told by Bess then also by the young widow. Money makes the difference between life and death and whether anyone believes you or not. A heart-wrenching tale.
I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for an e=copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
HERE, IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stacey Halls grew up in Rossendale, Lancashire, as the daughter of market traders. She has always been fascinated by the Pendle witches. She studied journalism at the University of Central Lancashire and moved to London aged 21. She was media editor at The Bookseller and books editor at Stylist.co.uk, and has also written for Psychologies, the Independent and Fabulous magazine, where she now works as Deputy Chief Sub Editor. The Familiars is her first novel.