Search This Blog

Saturday, March 7, 2020

The Foundling by Stacey Halls

The Foundling by Stacey Halls.
Published 6th February 2020 by Manilla Press.
Read March 2020.

London, 1748: Hawker, Bess Bright, finds herself a single mother with no way to support a child. Taking the heart-rending decision to place her daughter, Clara, at London's Foundling Hospital, she leaves her there on the day of her birth - vowing that one day she will return to claim her.

Six years later, Bess heads to the hospital to collect the child she has never known, hoping that she is still alive and waiting for her. But when she gets there, she is told that someone giving her name and address collected Clara the day after Bess left her there. Who can have taken her daughter, and why?

Only a short distance from where Bess lives, a young widow has become a recluse and has not left her home in more than a decade, except to attend church. Her friend, who is a young doctor at the same foundling hospital where Bess left her child,  has persuaded her to hire a nursemaid to care for her daughter, but she is reluctant to let anyone new into her home. The past haunts her and the time has come for a reckoning.


If  you have read Stacey Halls' mesmerising debut The Familiars then you will know exactly how her writing can completely transport you to another time and place. If you have not read it and love beautifully crafted historical fiction - in this case about the infamous Pendle Witch Trials - then you really should.

This time, with The Foundling, takes us to Eighteenth Century London and a young woman forced to leave her child in the care of The Foundling Hospital. Her heartbreaking decision based on the hard facts of a life on the breadline, not to mention the difficulties surrounding being an unmarried mother at this time in history. But this is not just a story of heartbreak and loss, we also have the mystery of a missing child, when our young mother returns full of hope to reclaim her babe. Where can she be?

The Foundling also takes us to the other side of London life - the life of the wealthy in Bloomsbury and a woman with a haunting past - a young widow scared to let the outside world in and determined that her daughter should have no part of it either.

This is a tale of what it means to be a mother. Is it the giving birth to a baby? Is it the care of a child? what does your heart tell you?

But enough of all's wonderful, evocative, and deeply emotional. It will churn you up in side and make you cry your eyes out and boil over with rage.

Buy it. Read it. You will be glad you did.

The Foundling is available to buy now from your favourite book retailer.

Thank you to Stacey Halls and Zaffre for providing me with a copy of this book, in return for an honest review, and to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.

From the cover of the book:

From the bestselling author of The Familiars, and set against the vibrant backdrop of Georgian London, The Foundling explores families, secrets, class, equality, power and the meaning of motherhood

A mother's love knows no bounds . . .

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.

About the author:

Stacey Halls grew up in Rossendale, Lancashire, as the daughter of market traders. 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, and has also worked as a journalist for Psychologies, the Independent and Fabulous magazine. TV rights of The Familiars shave been sold to The Bureau production company.

Bought in a nine-way auction, The Familiars was received with much praise and is nominated for an HWA award. Say hello @Stacey_Halls on Twitter and @StaceyHallsAuthor on Instagram.

No comments:

Post a Comment