Sunday 3 January 2021

Book Review - The Foundling


Title: The Foundling

Author: Stacey Halls 

Publisher: Manilla Press 

Release Date: 3 Sept. 2020 

ISBN-13: 978-1838771409


Two women, bound by a child, 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, Bess is astonished to be told she has already claimed 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's 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.

From the bestselling author of The Familiars comes this captivating story of mothers and daughters, class and power, and love against the greatest of odds . . .


My Review

I read the 'Familiars' a few months ago and really enjoyed it, so was excited to see that Halls had written another novel. This one is set in 1754 and follows Bess Bright, a young London girl you finds herself pregnant, unable to keep and support her baby she takes it to a Foundling hospital with the intention of working and saving so that one day she can go and collect her daughter and be a family. But when Bess returns to collect her daughter, she finds that the girl has already been taken, by someone claiming to be her. Now she must find out who has her daughter and why.

The book is split into three parts, the first and third are narrated from Bess' point of view and the second part is narrated by Alexandra - a wealthy young widow who hasn't left the house in years, she lives in her big house with just her daughter Charlotte and two maids. When she is convinced to hire a Nursemaid for Charlotte, she is skeptical about letting someone else into their lives, but these women are linked in a much deeper way.

I actually found this book really easy to read. I read it in just 2 sittings and found that I was captivated and totally drawn in. The writing just glides from the page and sweeps you along, I found myself totally immersed in Bess' world and that of Georgian London. I think Bess is a great character - she is thoughtful, honest, passionate and determined, she may not be the smartest of girls but she knows what she wants and holds family as very important. I immediately felt myself wanting her to get the happy ending and willing her on. Sure she makes mistakes and probably some very bad decisions but you can always see why she does it and she has the best intentions. 

Alexandra is a bit more of an enigma, keeps to herself and hides away from the world, but as the story develops you find out more about her past and her life and although she is presented as quite cold and callous, you can see that she is a product of her experiences and circumstances and I even started to feel sorry for her at points. 

I am really intrigued by the story of the Foundling hospitals, and really like that Halls bases her stories on actual Historical events and places. It makes the story feel even more real and I could imagine London at that time and all the people involved actually living there and experiencing these events. 

I find her writing totally captivating and she certainly has a gift for weaving a story that will carry you away. I highly recommend this book as an exciting, heart-warming, moving read.

My Rating





shelleyrae @ book'd out said...

Lovely review, thanks for sharing your thoughts

Carole said...

Now on my library tbr list Thanks