From Goodreads: “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.
From the bestselling author of The Familiars, and set against the vibrant backdrop of Georgian London, The Foundling explores families, secrets, class, equality, power and the meaning of motherhood.“
What a wonderful listen this was! I loved everything about this book, the characters, the story, the wonderful descriptions of London in the 1750s and of the different types of people populating the great city.
I loved ‘The Familiars’, the author’s debut last year, and was very keen to read this new book. I was so excited to get a place on The Pigeonhole, especially as it was also available as an audiobook!
The book starts with Bess telling us about how she had to leave her newborn daughter at The Foundling Hospital, because as a shrimp seller and unmarried woman, she couldn’t afford to look after her baby. She scrimped and saved for years to be able to claim her daughter again, but when she returned she discovered that her baby, Clara, had already been collected by someone claiming to be her!!! Goodness can you imagine how traumatising that would be?!! I loved Bess and felt for her all the way through the book as she tries to find her daughter and make a home with her.
The story is then told from Alexandra’s point of view, a very wealthy, mysterious and not particularly likeable woman living in Bloomsbury, with two servants and a young daughter. She is quite a cold woman, who is very anxious and particular about her life and how she lives it. I found it hard to warm to her but by I did by the end of the book.
I absolutely loved the narration by Laura Aikman and Hattie Morahan, they both brought Bess and Alexandra to life perfectly, making the book come alive as I was listening.
To be honest with you I was a bit worried I wouldn’t enjoy this book as much as The Familiars, as I had such high expectations for it. Well all I can say is that this is just as good if not better. In fact I loved it so much that I’ve pre-ordered a signed hardback from Waterstones!
The Foundling will be published by Bonnier Zaffre on 6th February 2020