The Foundling by Stacey Halls @stacey_halls @bonnierbooks_uk @bloggershut #20BooksofSummer #theClqrt #BookReview #bloggershutrt #HistoricalFiction #RecommendedReading

Manilla Press February 2020

Book Description

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 when she is told that 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 for 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.

My Thoughts

Curiously historical fiction is not a genre I am especially drawn to, however, I frequently find myself enjoying books in this category when I do read them and The Foundling was no exception to that.

The book begins as Bess gives up her baby at The Foundling Hospital, the decision driven by poverty and a desperately sad choice to for her to make. For all the women participating in the lottery for a place, the situation is dire, as they hope The Foundling Hospital will take their child, the alternative being abandonment, on the street or in a door way. Six years later in a marginally better position financially, the mystery begins when Bess returns to The Foundling Hospital only to discover her baby was claimed by someone professing to be her.

The story proceeds and the mystery gradually unfolds, the writing is glorious, starkly contrasting the lives of the rich and the poor in 18th century London. As the story progressed I was struck with what is best described as a moral dilemma, on a number of levels and I was’t sure about the direction of the story or indeed the best outcome. That said it was a book I enjoyed immensely detailing the lives of two very different women, exploring not only their wealth but crucially what they can offer a child.

The story is told in several distinct sections, beginning with Bess’s story, next we learn about the other central female character Alexandra before returning to Bess, then back to Alexandra. Both women I found to be sympathetic characters, both flawed and struggling in their own lives, both limited but feeling they can offer the best for a child. The division between rich and poor was stark and the class divide tangible, the book was well written making it easy to visualise London at that time.

Another great ‘lockdown’ read for me and another book I am highly recommending!

About the Author

Stacey Halls was born in 1989 and grew up in Rossendale, Lancashire. She studied journalism at the University of Central Lancashire and has written for publications including the Guardian, Stylist, Psychologies, Independent, Sun and Fabulous.

Her first book, The Familiars, was the bestselling debut hardback novel of 2019. The Foundling is her second novel.

7 thoughts on “The Foundling by Stacey Halls @stacey_halls @bonnierbooks_uk @bloggershut #20BooksofSummer #theClqrt #BookReview #bloggershutrt #HistoricalFiction #RecommendedReading

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