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The Foundling: From the author of The Familiars, Sunday Times bestseller and Richard & Judy pick
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The Foundling: From the author of The Familiars, Sunday Times bestseller and Richard & Judy pick (Hardback)

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From the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Familiars

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 new Hilary Mantel' Cosmopolitan

Another gripping, immersive, intelligent work of historical fiction from the bestselling author of The Familiars' Kiran Millwood Hargrave, author of The Mercies

'A gripping and moving read' Libby Page, bestselling author of The Lido

'Fantastic storytelling that grabbed me from the off' Good Housekeeping

Fiction & PoetryHistorical FictionFiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Manilla Publication Date: 06/02/2020 ISBN-13: 9781838770068  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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Stacey Halls was born in 1989 and grew up in Rossendale, Lancashire. She studied journalism at the University of Central Lancashire and has written for publications including the Guardian, Stylist, Psychologies, the Independent, the Sun and Fabulous. Her first book, The Familiars, was the bestselling debut hardback novel of 2019, won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the British Book Awards' Debut Book of the Year. The Foundling is her second novel.

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Customer Reviews

When Bess Bright returns to The Foundling Hospital to retrieve the illegitimate daughter she left there six years ago, she discovers that Clara has already been taken by someone claiming to be her. Who would take a child that wasn't theirs, and how did they know who she was? Alexandra Callard never leaves her London townhouse, aside from Sunday mornings when she takes her daughter Charlotte to the Foundling chapel. Her decision to hire a nurse maid as a favour to a friend may charge everything. The Foundling is a truly captivating and beautiful historical novel. From chapter one I was desperate to know how this story was going to turn out. The characters are uniquely three dimensional, and the personal stakes are so high for everyone in this book, I had to read fast before I got too stressed. The two main women are so intensely different from each other, it was a pleasure to read two such well crafted POV's that created a fantastically rounded story. Again, as when I read The Familiars, I am amazed by Stacey Hall's ability to weave a historical era in the space of a few pages. The details are incredible, and I can't even imagine what goes into her research process. These books are genuinely transportative. I was fascinated by the way that by the last quarter of this book, I really couldn't figure out what I thought should happen. I was naturally on Bess's side from the start, but if I'm honest I also relate to Alexandra, and could feel her side of things more as the story wore on. Charlotte is such a sweet and innocent little one, I loved her transition from docile, never leaving home, to realising that she wanted more than Alexandra was willing to give her. Their personalities reflect each other in the way I see so many mother's and daughters, complementing each other and butting up against each other. For me, my only issue with the story is that I felt like the very end was a little rushed. I think I was happy with the actual conclusion, but it felt like the getting there was a little curtailed. Overall, I absolutely loved this book. I flew through it, and couldn't wait to finish. Halls has a beautiful gift for storytelling, and it feels like a privilege to get to enjoy her writing. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction, Laura Purcell, or Mary Shelley.

- 06/05/2020
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Amazing! I was really excited to read this books since I loved ‘The Familiars’, and it did not disappoint. I found the plot to be so interesting and unique and I thought it was well written. The characters were great to read about and I enjoyed learning about them and their lives. I really enjoyed the writing style, it flowed nicely and was easy to read. Having it set into four parts with each being from a different point - either Bess or Alexandra - made it easy to read and allowed you to gain a better understanding of each characters. The ending was brilliant and well written, and I thought it was perfect for the book. The covers for this book is absolutely stunning and definitely makes you want to find out what it is about.

- 08/02/2020
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In November 1747, the same day as giving birth, Bess hands over the care of her illegitimate daughter Clara to The Foundling Hospital in London. 6 years later when Bess returns to reclaim her daughter her hopes and dreams for the life the two of them can lead together are torn apart when she learns that Clara has already been reclaimed – by her! Bess’ life is thrown into turmoil as she tries to find just who has posed as her to take her daughter and most importantly why? I adore Stacey’s Halls’ writing style as her descriptions are so beautifully detailed and vivid, meaning that I felt like I was there breathing in this period of history. The characters are so rich and really come to life. I enjoyed learning about London in the 18th Century and the overlapping lives of people from different social standings and backgrounds and how they are viewed by their local community. There are so many different overarching themes throughout this story, the most powerful of which being love and loss and the impact this has on the main characters. I liked how certain parts of the story were told from Bess’ perspective and also from a lady named Alexandra who employs a nursemaid for her young daughter. Seeing the story play out through these two characters’ perspectives was compelling and clever in equal measure. I really enjoyed seeing Bess’ quest to be reunited with her daughter and the ending of the book bought a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. This book is truly beautiful both inside and out, and I am excited to see what Stacey Halls writes next!

- 02/02/2020
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Exquisite historical fiction. The Foundling is yet another exquisite novel from Stacey Halls. Rich in period detail and description, the compelling writing evokes such a strong sense of time and place; it swept me up and into Bess and Alexandra's contrasting lives, captivating me with every turn of the page. The novel is pure escapism; I was able to imagine myself in the era, living alongside the characters, experiencing the same sights, sounds and smells, as I watched the story unfold. I loved how the characters intertwined and interacted with each other, and how the thoughtfully crafted secondary characters added depth and diversity to the story. I don't normally read historical fiction but I thoroughly enjoyed losing myself in this gorgeous book. I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher but I was not obliged to write a review.

- 19/01/2020
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