Tuesday, 18 February 2020

The Stolen Child by Jennie Felton

Will anyone believe her baby is gone?
When Stella Swift is discovered holding a shard of broken glass near her newborn baby boy, fears that she might harm William result in her being taken to Catcombe - the local asylum. Although the regime is not as harsh as it once was, it's not somewhere that Tom wants to send his wife - but he has no choice.
Turning to his kind-hearted sister-in-law Grace for help taking care of his other three children whilst he keeps working at the mine seems like the simplest solution until Stella is well - if only there wasn't the shared history between Tom and Grace...
At first Catcombe seems to offer the respite Stella needs - until one day she becomes convinced that the baby the nurses have given to her is not William. Is Stella losing her mind? Or is it true that a mother will always know her own child?

This book is set in 1911. This was a time when women could be sent off to the asylum by men who didn't know what else to do with them. The reasons could be as simple as, being an unmarried mother, a daughter being disrespectful to a rich father, perpetual  fever ( post natal depression) and I suspect any other reason that a man could make up. Some women were never released.

Luckily, Catcombe,the asylum in the story is run by good people who believe in more modern methods than the people who ran it before them.
We meet a vile but powerful man who makes everyone do his bidding even if they don't agree with what he is asking.  Money and position spoke and the poor and lowley could do nothing to fight it.
There are also good men in this story,men who love their wives and family.
We meet women in the asylum who are as sane as you or me but are stuck there.

Jennie Felton takes this as a background and weaves her story through it. She transports us to 1911 with her descriptions of the village, the house in which people live and the sights and sounds of their daily lives.

As the title says there is a stolen baby. An injustice that is committed that seems impossible to put right. Anyone who suspects is scared of the consequences if they speak out. And one women's intolerable pain when no one believes her is heartbreaking.

I found myself very emotional reading this book. My heart was breaking for a few of the characters and the anger I felt for a few of them knew no bounds.
I trusted the author (having read all of her books) that she would sort out the horrible vile people and make everything okay.  And yes, it had a lovely ending.

I haven't said too much about the actual story itself as I feel that many reviews I read more or less tell the whole book and I don't agree with that.
If you're looking for a good book that's hard to put down then this is it.
Jennie Felton is one of the best story tellers around today. Once you slip inside one of her books you can be lost in her world for hours.

Out in hardback,paperback and kindle 

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