Publisher and Publication Date: Huntson Press. April 13, 2021.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Format: E-book copy.
Source: I received a complimentary e-book copy from the publisher and HFVBT. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of historical fiction focused on children.
Rating: Very good.
Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour landing page.
The books in the series are Prequel/ The Forsaken Children/ Miss Winters Rapscallions (in 2022).
Naomi is an award-winning author living in Northern Alberta. She loves to travel and her suitcase is always on standby awaiting her next adventure. Naomi’s affinity for the Deep South and its history was cultivated during her childhood living in a Tennessee plantation house with six sisters. Her fascination with history and the resiliency of the human spirit to overcome obstacles are major inspirations for her writing and she is passionately devoted to creativity. In addition to writing fiction, her interests include interior design, cooking new recipes, and hosting dinner parties. Naomi is married to her high school sweetheart and she has two teenage children and two dogs named Egypt and Persia.
A riveting tale of endurance and resilience, illustrating the spirit of a child and the bond between siblings.
It’s 1921. Fifteen-year-old Hazel Winters and her six-year-old brother, William, are placed on a ship by an organization that relocates British orphans and children of poverty to new homes in Canada. Arrivals in the new land are exported to distributing houses, where devastation and heartache greet the youngsters as the headmistresses govern their fate.
The assurance of a better life across the ocean is far from what Hazel experiences. Through hardships and loneliness, she is determined to survive. Finding refuge in memories of the past, she clings to the dream of returning to her homeland while preserving a reunion in her heart.
In 1890, orphaned Charlotte Appleton and her sister Ellie were scooped up from London’s streets and sent to new homes across the ocean. Although mere miles kept them apart, Charlotte never knew her sister’s whereabouts until a chance interaction reunites them. Together the siblings vow to make a difference for the families and home children of an institution in Toronto, Ontario.
Can an unexpected guardian give Hazel renewed strength and resolve for a future of promise?
Based on the child emigration movement that occurred from 1869 through the late1930s, this poignant tale follows the lives of siblings who were burdensome byproducts of Britain’s poverty.
The Forsaken Children is aptly named. It is 350 depressing pages. Other words I’d use to describe the book is exhausting, oppressive, and filled with despair. However, The Forsaken Children is an important story. It teaches about a period in history where the most vulnerable in society were taken advantage, abused, and considered expendable.
Before I share my impressions of this story, I have been reminded of something my dad shared about his life. Dad was born in 1922 (the same period of this story). Dad was born in a small town in central Texas. He lived during the Great Depression years. His family was poor. Dad remarked that his parents generation treated children terrible. Children were often regarded with disrespectful words, humiliation, made fun of, and abused. It was rare for an adult to take up for a child. Men especially treated children bad. Dad had a low opinion of the previous generation. One story my dad shared is an adult man, a neighbor, allowed his dog to attack my dad, this man laughed at dad-he did nothing to help. This man considered it amusement. The Forsaken Children recreates this same time period and the same type of ideology.
What I love about The Forsaken Children is the heavy atmosphere and descriptions that bring the story to life. It is a harrowing tale and it has a full impact.
Hazel is a true heroine. She is described as thin and barely 5 feet tall. She is a sprite of a girl. But, she has a heart of gold. She has the will and perseverance of a super-hero. I love it that no matter what she has experienced in life, Hazel has not become bitter.
There is an additional dual time story of Charlotte’s life. I love it that the dual time periods are not back and forth too often, but they reveal Charlotte’s persistence in uncovering the truth about Hazel.
The characters are either exceptional or villainous. There is no in-between. The polar extremes makes either side 3-D.
The story does not wrap-up in a tidy package. It’s possible there will be more to this story in the next book.
Themes in the story: shame, compassion, betrayal, courage, perseverance, self-worth, power of love, and loyalty.
Enter to win a mystery box of goodies + a copy of The Forsaken Children by Naomi Finley!
The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on April 23rd. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Direct link to the giveaway: The Forsaken Children (gleam.io)