The Foundling

Hello everyone! This month sees the exciting release of Stacey Hall’s gripping new adult novel The Foundling. Set in Georgian London, against the backdrop of the Foundling Hospital, it follows the lives of two women.

Who sat and watched my infant head, When sleeping in my cradle bed, And tears of sweet affection shed? My Mother.

When pain and sickness made me cry, Who gazed upon my heavy eye, And wept for fear that I should die? My Mother.

‘My Mother’ by Ann Taylor (1782-1866)

Bess lives in two rooms in the rough part of London, fighting to make ends meet selling shrimp alongside her father. So when her illegitimate little girl Clara is born, the foundling hospital seems the safest place until she is in a better position to claim her.

Alexandra lives in a large house on a wealthy London street and worries for nothing financially. However, severe anxiety brought on by traumas of her past keeps her permanently confined to the house, causing her little girl Charlotte to suffer the same fate.

When Bess comes to reclaim her daughter from the Foundling Hospital six years later, she is shocked to discover that she has already been collected – by her. In her desperate attempt to find her lost child both Bess and Alexandra’s lives are brought unexpectedly together as they fight for the rightful mothership of Clara/Charlotte – who seem to be one and the same…

The brilliant combination of a captivating plot and intricately crafted characters, full of emotion and packed with human flaws, made for a truly atmospheric read. Halls’ writing vividly conjured Georgian London and the historical centring of the Foundling Museum gave the narrative an added depth. The interweaving of the double narrative was beautifully mastered. In particular, the multiple views on the entire cast of characters, and each other, through the eyes of both women. The subtle whiff of romance was sensitively balanced against the blazing love of mother-daughter connection.

Stacey’s writing grabbed me on page one and wouldn’t let me go until I had finished – loved it!

The real history of the Foundling Hospital is in itself a heart breaking story. The building is a museum now and well worth a visit. Jacqueline Wilson’s Hetty Feather trilogy for ages 9-12 is also a fantastic fictional interpretation of the hospital.

The Foundling will be released on the 6th. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Let me know in the comments 🙂

Meg Readz xx

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