I was delighted to be asked to join the blog tour of The Foundling by Stacey Halls after reading so many amazing reviews of her debut novel The Familiars.
And I started it knowing not much about it other than it was set in the 18th century, and wow was I entertained. I was enthralled. I now understand why Stacey Halls is a firm favourite around the #BookBlogging community.
Two women, bound by a child, and a secret that will change everything . . .
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, she is astonished when she is told she has already claimed 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’s 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.
From the bestselling author of The Familiars comes this captivating story of mothers and daughters, class and power, and love against the greatest of odds . . .
Truthfully, I have struggled with this review. I have sat down a couple of times to write it and my words have felt dragged out…each one a struggle. BUT and it is a big BUT that doesn’t reflect my reading of The Foundling. I loved it. I couldn’t hit the 5 Star button quick enough on Goodreads and I can’t believe I haven’t dived straight into Stacy Halls first book – The Familiars. I plan too soon.
Anyway. The Foundling left me a bit speechless or reviewless. I didn’t take any notes, I didn’t do anything other than read The Foundling.
I was absorbed from page 1 and the story didn’t let me go until I had finished.
At the very beginning, I questioned if this book was for me. The beginning is heart-wrenching. And as a mum, it didn’t just pull on my heartstrings but tried to tear them out. However, The foundling isn’t a sad story. Emotional? – Yes. Heart-wrenching? – Yes. But it wasn’t a sad read.
It was a story that I am not going to forget any time soon.
From the first page it was clear that The Foundling was well written and very well researched. Stacy Halls managed to bring 18th century London to life, I could picture the streets, smell the brine of the shrimp and I could feel the cold of the long nights. The writing felt effortless.
The story was well plotted. The novel flowed well from page one, and the separate parts of the book focused on different POVs from the two main adult characters. Bess and Alexandra both had their own distinctive voice. But, for me a sign of great novel rather than just a good novel is that all the characters stood out and felt real. Even the smaller roles of Alexandra’s servants and Bess’s dad – Abe, were all richly written and complete characters. I maybe had a small quibble with Ned, but on the whole, the book was filled with well written and rounded characters.
The small details, the complete characters and the well described setting all worked perfectly together creating something spellbinding. Something amazing. Something memorable. And an all-round gripping, emotive and addictive read.
If I was to be super nit-picky! I did think that the ending was maybe a bit too easily tied up and it jarred for me ever so slightly with the emotional turmoil of the beginning. But, as I said that’s me being super pernickety.
I very much enjoyed The Foundling by Stacey Halls and I will be adding Stacy Halls to my auto- buy authors list.
I have written about the wonderful story and it was WONDERFFUL. But, the cover also deserves a mention because, well WOW. Stunning. #CoverLove
And after reading the book the cover art is even more wonderful than I first thought. It is filled with clever and small details. It suits the story, it is interesting and it is beautifully done with lots of hidden surprises that become important as you read on. It’s a cover design filled with clues of the story within. I would certainly cross the book shop floor to pick it up, wouldn’t you!?!?!?
I was provided with a copy of The Foundling by Stacey Halls from the publisher via NetGalley and the blog tour organiser – Thank you!