I like historical fiction very much. One of my favorite eras is the 18th century, especially the 18th century London. Therefore The Foundling was a certain must read for me! I really liked the story line and I was so intrigued, so when I saw the news about the listen along. I jumped right in!
It’s year 1754 in London and it’s already been six years since the day Besss Bright had to leave her newborn daughter Clara at the London’s Foundling Hospital. All this time, she had been saving money, in order to get her back. He worst hear is that little Clara hadn’t made it and had died in care, but the reality is even worse. She has been reclaimed, the very next day of her arrival at the Foundling, by her own mother, Elizabeth Bright. Someone is playing a very nasty game and Bess is devastated. No matter how bad the news are, she gathers her courage and goes back to the Foundling to find out what has happened to her daughter, since she obviously has not reclaimed her herself.
Less than a mile from the Foundling Hospital, a wealthy widow, Alexandra, barely leaves the house. She and her six year old daughter, only visit the foundling Chapel at Sundays, and this is as far and as often as they venture outside. When her close friend, Doctor Mead, doctor at the Foundling Hospital convinces her to hire a nursemaid for Charlotte, she is hesitant to let a stranger in her home, but she eventually takes that leap of faith and hires the woman. But that little crack in her so closed life will bring back the secrets of her past and tear her world apart.
Stacey Halls has written a wonderful book! Her story is dedicated to motherhood, showcasing a mother’s love for her children and the lengths she would travel for them. All the love and care and anything else a mother can give for her child, the sacrifices she would made are found in this novel.
The story is put in the 18th century, however, both main female characters can be characterized as modern. They both rule their lives and make decisions for their own. They are strong on their feet, strong on their opinion and they do as they please, making their own choices and not hiding behind a manly figure. They have both lost their mothers at a tender age, so they have this in common. Alexandra has in fact lost both her parents and that affected her greatly. Having said that, the two women have also a number of differences. Bess is such a warm character. She lovers her father, even if she calls him by his name, Abe, and not father. The live in the same apartment and she takes care of him, as he takes care of her. She is open and welcome and very close to other people and she cares about their well being. While Alexandra on the other hand is a cold person, that has no love and tenderness to give and she is somewhat afraid of people, therefore she keeps everyone at a distance.
I really liked the narrative of the book. We have two point of views. The first one is Bess’s giving us the whole picture of how she became pregnant and what led her to the decision to leave her newborn at the Foundling Hospital. We even get a very good feeling of that day and of Bess’s emotions, as as a hint of the future to come, only it could not be clear at that moment. Her view continues up to the point when she cannot find her child at the Foundling but tries any string she can pull. Then comes Alexandra’s viewpoint which is a completely different character, but draws a very clear and detailed picture of her character, her emotions and every day behavior.
If you enjoy historical fiction, this is one you don’t want to miss. The book is out in UK at the 16th of April by Bonnier Books!