The Foundling by Stacey Halls – Review.

About The Book

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.

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received via Pigeonhole. The Foundling is the first book I have read by Stacey Halls and after finishing it I need to read her debut The Familiars very soon. I read quite a lot of historical fiction but never anything like this, I had no idea that there was such a thing as a Foundling Hospital. It made me wonder how many children were reclaimed when life improved for their parents.

The relationship between Bess, Alexandra and Charlotte was extraordinary. You would expect to see hatred but despite a little resentment from Charlotte there was none. I also expected to dislike either of the women but I couldn’t. Instead all I felt was pity for both of them. If anything I had more sympathy for Alexandra because she was isolated. Proof that wealth and privilege didn’t mean that much if you were alone. 

It’s different to many other historical fiction book because  it doesn’t concentrate on the poverty experienced by Bess and her family. Yes, Ned, Bess’s brother  does have a hard time but it was purely his life choice. Probably the same as many at the time but neither Bess or Lyle let it beat them. 

Because I read this novel on Pigeonhole I had to read it over ten days, I could easily have  read it in one sitting, it was absolutely wonderful.