Today, it’s a brand new review of the wonderful new novel from author Stacey Halls, The Foundling!
I’m a big fan of Stacey’s writing and I enjoyed her previous novel, The Familiars but I adored The Foundling. But first, what’s it about? Here’s the blurb:
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, she is astonished when she is 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 . . .
Sounds good, right? I’m not going to go into too much of the plot because I think it’s best to go in blind and go along with the ride and enjoy the surprises. I really enjoyed this novel – at first I took my time with it but then I got so invested in it that I couldn’t put it down. I think that’s a strength of her writing – she leaves you wanting more every time the chapter ends where you can’t do nothing but keep turning page after page…
What I love about her books and her writing is how absorbing it is and how atmospheric she makes them, too. I loved how she wrote about London in 1754, everything felt so real you could almost smell it. Her writing is visual, visceral and really makes you part of the story – what more can you want in a good book? The characters were a massive stand-out for me, especially Bess and Alexandra. The book is in both perspectives of those two characters who live completely different lives. I loved how Halls wrote Alexandra and didn’t make her out to be one-dimensional character – there are layers upon layers and I think she explored it beautifully and without bias. I also loved other characters such as Doctor Mead, Charlotte, Abe and many others. This felt like a big ensemble piece where every character has their chance to shine.
As this book felt so visual and atmospheric, I can’t help but imagine it as a television series on a Sunday night. The writing jumped from the page and I think it’s already made for television. Overall, a beautiful, poignant novel exploring social class, motherhood, mothers and daughters, grief, mental health, love, life, and so much more. This was a wonderful read – and one that you can get lost in its beautiful prose. I can’t wait to see what she writes next. I’d also love to go to the Foundling Museum in London to learn more about it as I found it fascinating to read about.
Have you read The Foundling? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments!