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, Bess is astonished to be 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 . .
The Foundling is the second book by Stacey Halls, and once again I listened to it via Audible. It was beautifully narrated by Laura Aikman and Hattie Morahan.
Set in London in 1750’s, The Foundling is about a young single mother, Bess Bright, who leaves her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital the day after she was born. Determined to reclaim her daughter and working tirelessly for the next six years, Bess returns to the hospital to take back her daughter, only to find out she was claimed the day after she was left there.
Meanwhile, a rich widow lives with her two servants and young daughter in a quiet townhouse, but hasn’t left her house in decades. When she is persuaded to take on a nursemaid for her daughter, she reluctantly agrees but soon realises her past is catching up with her quickly.
This really is historical fiction at it’s best. The reader/listener is transported to a dirty, rundown part of London where the inhabitants struggle to eat, heat themselves and work all hours just to survive and yet, only a matter of miles away, the rich and entitled live a life of luxury and decadence barely giving the poor a thought.
I loved the narrators, the voices, the authenticity of the story, the historical facts blurred with the fictional characters and I will admit to my eyes leaking towards the end of this beautiful tale.