#Blogtour The Foundling by Stacey Halls @stacey_halls @ZaffreBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders #TheFoundling

 

The Foundling by Stacey Halls

The Foundling Stacey Halls   February 6th 2020

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

I loved Hall’s first novel, The Familiars, and expectations were high as I began, The Foundling.

What a surprise to discover a story so different, still set in the past but it’s themes, it’s location a world away.

What struck you first was Hall’s portrayal of London, it’s dank, dark poverty stricken back streets, that were somehow vibrant with its myriad of voices selling their wares, its inhabitants going about their daily lives. At the other end, the smart streets and houses of Bloomsbury, wealth and privilege hidden behind its gilded doors.

Onto its streets Hall introduced us to Bess, daughter of a shrimp seller, who worked hard to survive, food scarce, warmth and comfort not a given. A hard worker with one aim, to reclaim the daughter, she left at The Foundling Hospital. She was brilliantly feisty, and brave, uneducated, but intelligent, life starkly black and white.

Alexandra, widow, rich, comfortable, yet alone, frightened to leave the confines of her home bar a weekly visit to church. You disliked and liked her all at the same time, and as her story unfolded you empathised, but couldn’t quite warm to her cold exterior as you wondered if there was anything soft beneath.

Two women who were somehow destined to meet but under strange circumstances, a tale Hall told with great emotion and tenderness,

Their link, Charlotte, a young girl, a young girl that shattered their worlds, opened the cracks that had lain dormant for many years. This poor girl who lived in a gilded cage, denied a world outside, friends to play and learn from, was the catalyst that set in motion a chain of events that held you in their grasp and pulled you further into the characters lives.

And what a journey Hall took us on. The relationship between mother’s and daughters closely examined, the maternal pull that never leaves us, that forced actions with one aim, to get what we left behind, to be true to ourselves and fight for what we wanted.

Do we all have that maternal instinct, can you have it even if not related by blood, or do past events hamper our capacity to love and be loved?

Whatever the answers, Hall gave us it all, the tension and drama almost unbearable, the outcomes uncertain, the reader hopeful for a happy ending.

The historical detail was brilliant, seamlessly threaded throughout, as Hall placed you right there with Bess and Alexandra. The imagery and story would lend itself wonderfully to a BBC Sunday evening dramatisation and i have my fingers crossed it will become a reality.

I would like to thank Zaffre for a copy of The Foundling to read and review and to Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Stacey Halls, author

 

Stacey Halls was born in 1989 and grew up in Rossendale, Lancashire. She studied journalism at the University of Central Lancashire and has written for publications including the GuardianStylistPsychologiesThe IndependentThe Sun and Fabulous.

Her first book The Familiars was the bestselling debut novel of 2019. The Foundling is her second novel.

You can find her on Instagram @staceyhallsauthor and Twitter @stacey_halls

Stacey Halls 5.12

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