Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Workhouse Children

Happy New Year!  The beginning of 2017.  I hope your year has gotten off to a good start.  If you enjoy reading Amish novels, Amish Weddings by Leslie Gould comes out Tuesday (January 3). It is the final book in Neighbors of Lancaster County series.

The Workhouse Children is a debut novel by Lindsey Hutchinson.  It is 1901 in the small town of Bilston (which is in the industrial West Midlands).  Cara Flower’s grandmother, Henrietta Selby, has just passed away, and left Cara very well off (house and money).  Her grandmother left a letter for Cara giving her the task of looking for any lost relatives and to care for them.  This is puzzling to Cara who believed she had no other family.  Cara had been raised by her grandmother, and she would never speak about Cara’s parents.  It turns out that Cara’s mother, Elizabeth married someone inappropriate causing an estrangement.  Martin Lander, the family solicitor, suggests that Cara check the Bilston workhouse.  Cara is shocked by the conditions in the workhouse and how it is managed by the Master and Matron (Fred and Ada Tulley).  She does, though, find her thirteen-year-old brother, Charlie.  There is a sister, Daisy, but Fred Tulley had sold her as a servant (and pocketed the money).  It seems Fred and Ada are doing everything possible to run the workhouse cheaply so they will have extra money (so they can live comfortably).  Cara sets out to empty the workhouse and make it obsolete (after finding Daisy).  But the local Magistrate of Bilston, Joseph Purcell (as well as the Tulley’s) is not happy with Cara’s plans.  Will Cara succeed with her mission?  Will Cara be able to find out what happened to her parents and why they did not raise her?

The Workhouse Children is nicely written and easy to read.  I did find The Workhouse Children to be an uplifting, sweet story (unrealistic, but a good read).  It would be lovely if there were more people like Cara in this world.  I did enjoy reading how Cara tackled the problem of the workhouse and discovered her family history.     I give The Workhouse Children 3.5 out of 5 stars.   I did find that the author would sometimes go into a little too much detail with her descriptions (it bogs down the story).  The Workhouse Children is a British novel so it contains British expressions and slang (must of them can be figured out).  I did find some information to be repeated (do authors think we forget things one chapter to the next). The story is told from different viewpoints which can be confusing (I wish the author had stuck with the third person point-of-view).  The Workhouse Children could do with a little editing (just a little too long).  The Workhouse Children is a good first book and the story will linger in your mind long after you finish it (and it's only $1.99 on Amazon). Ms. Hutchinson’s next book The Wives’ Revenge which will be out this summer (July 1).  You can follow Lindsey Hutchinson on Amazon and Facebook.

I will return tomorrow to review The 4th Man by Lisa Gardner. May all of you have a lovely, relaxing evening.  The Librarians is on tonight as well as the final Hallmark Christmas movie of the season.  It is called A Rose for Christmas with Rachel Boston. I will be reading Forgotten Boxes by Becki Willis during the commercials.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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