After adoring The Familiars, I was eager to read Halls’ latest novel. The Foundling did not disappoint.
Halls does what she does best and takes us back into history to discover a story that will enchant us and mesmerise us throughout.
Bess lives with her father and brother, and whilst she works hard, they don’t have a lot of money so there’s no way she can keep her future child when she falls pregnant. The father of her child has vanished and it’s not clear at first if he’s hiding elsewhere in London or if something more sinister has happened to him. Either way, Bess knows the best thing she can do for her (now born) daughter is to leave her at the Foundling Hospital where she’ll be cared for.
But Bess never loses her love for her daughter and after six years of saving up, she goes back to the Foundling Hospital to get her girl back. Except Clara is no longer there, the records show she was claimed the day after she was left. The records show that Bess signed for her and the address is hers… so who has taken her daughter? Who knew her secret?
Dr Mead is the only person at the Foundling Hospital that seems to care about Bess’ situation, he is keen to get to the bottom of it all. In the meantime, he manages to get Bess a new job as a nursemaid, which gets her away from her rundown lodgings and will set her up to support her daughter more easily when she’s found.
Except all is not what it seems…
The suspense of long kept secrets ignited my curiosity to discover the truth and had me turning the pages quickly and repeatedly, Halls’ writing style has the power to create a bond between the reader and the pages of her stories which is unbreakable throughout.
I couldn’t finish this review without commenting on the extraordinary detail that Halls includes in this period setting. Set in 1754, Halls has created an enchanting atmosphere that brings the smells, the markets, the clothes and the way of life to the reader in a vivid and impactful way.
If you’re a fan of historical women’s fiction, I can whole heartedly recommend both The Foundling and The Familiars, both of which are outstanding novels and stand out within this genre.
The Foundling is out now in hardback and eBook versions from Manilla Press.
Until next time, stay safe, Chloé x