Publication Date: June 2019
Publisher: Waterbrook Multnomah
ARC copy from Netgalley and Waterbrook Multnomah
“Her experiences in the last few months had sealed this truth in her heart; family bonds were not meant to be broken.”
Sadness and sorrow overshadow this very interesting historical story interlaced with hope and love as well. The story highlights the sad lack of law and oversight at the time in dealing with children whose families had been beset by illness and/or poverty. The children, most often removed from their homes, were frequently shipped to Canada as farm and domestic laborers. They became known as British Home Children. This very unique story about these children is based on historical facts woven into a fiction story highlighting one family.
Set in 1909 London, the book tells the tale of the McAlister family, a family that includes a mother and four siblings. Laura, the eldest of the McAlister siblings, is twenty-one and working as a ladies maid north of London. Katie and Garth are fourteen, both trying to assist the family finances in one way or another and the youngest, Grace, is seven. The McAlister family falls upon hard times, particularly when Mrs. McAlister falls extremely ill.
Little does she know what lies ahead for her three younger children as they are taken into group homes for poor and destitute children. The home then ships them to Canada without their mother’s knowledge or approval. The prejudice the children endure as a result of being British Home Children is astounding. They were often treated very poorly as a result of the prejudice, misinformation resulting from the disregard and lack of rules in the emigration system and lack of child labor laws.
The book details Laura’s search and journey to find her siblings and return them to their family and home. Her decisions, often made quickly, and her choices, although done for the right reason, are not always well thought out, but her heart is in the right place. How far would you go to try and save your family? Read this very unique story that tells a tale similar to the orphan trains utilized in the United States during the years 1854-1929.
This ARC copy was received from Waterbrook Multnomah and Netgalley.com. The above thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.