The Foundling by Stacey Halls
ebook, 400 pages
Published February 18th 2020 by MIRA
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.
I read The Familiars by Stacey Halls last year, which I enjoyed but with some reservations, and I was keen to read this, her next novel – and I think this was one was even better.
Set in London in the 18th Century, 18 year old Bess gives away her newborn baby to an orphanage. When she goes back to collect her six years later, she discovers the baby was taken (supposedly by herself) a day after she left her there.
The two points of view in this novel are really interesting and work well, contrasting rich and poor and also questioning which is better. It creates a central dilemma to the novel which makes it interesting for the reader.
There are a few unbelievable coincidences, and the ending didn’t quite work for me, overall I really enjoyed this novel, which paired interesting characters with a rich, historical setting. I’m looking forward to Halls’ next book!
My rating: 8 out of 10