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The Misbegotten

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  488 ratings  ·  75 reviews
Dark truths. Beautiful lies.

Bath, England, 1821. Rachel Crofton escapes the binds of her unhappy employment as a governess by marrying a charming self-made businessman. She sees a chance to create the family and home she has so long been without, but her new life soon takes an unexpected turn.
Through her new husband's connections, Rachel is invited to become the companion
Hardcover, 544 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by Orion
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Rating: 4.5 stars

In 1803, Alice and Jonathan are in blissfully love, but they face opposition. Lord Faukes is both Jonathan's grandfather and Alice's benefactor, but as much as he dotes on Alice, he insists that Jonathan makes a fine marriage, something that orphan Alice cannot provide. The young lovers defy him and continue to meet in secret, aided and abetted by their adoring servant Starling.

In 1821, Alice had been missing for twelve years and Jonathan has become a recluse, driven half mad by
Tanja Berg
Rating 2.4* out of 5. The first 200 pages or so were pretty good and then it just started going in circles, getting nowhere.

Rachel Crofton is alone in the world. Raised as a lady, but now penniless since her parents are both dead and left her with nothing due to debt. She makes a living working as a governess, until, miraculously, a man called Richard Weekes proposes to her. After careful consideration, she accepts. He is no gentleman, but runs a succesful business.

Although, not that successfu
The first thing you should know about this book is that it does not give up it's secrets easily. The second thing you should know about it is that those secrets are well worth the wait. The mystery girl within the entire story is called Alice and although it has been a long time since anybody has seen her she has a very strong presence even though she is believed to be dead. The characters are very strong in this book, some more likeable then others, but none are easily forgotten. Three characte ...more
I was captivated by ‘The Misbegotten’, a wonderfully readable, utterly compelling story, set early in the eighteenth century. It is story of dark secrets, terrible losses, devastating lies, of the lives that they affect, and of truths that may be brought to light at a very high price.

It is the story of Starling, a founding, a girl-child found walking from the marshes. She who has the good fortune to be found by a good-hearted young woman. Alice took in the child, she gave her a name, she brought
Historical fiction is not my favourite genre, but when I do read it I would always choose to read about ordinary people, I'm not a fan of novels based around the aristocracy or royalty. I was tempted to read Katherine Webb's fourth novel The Misbegotten by both the beautiful cover and the fascinating description of the story. I'm so very pleased that I did. It's a huge hardback, over 500 pages, but I've been completely engrossed by it over the past few days. It really is a wonderfully written no ...more
Vanessa Wild
A compelling, absorbing and intriguing story about how secrets can come back to haunt us! Set in Bath in the 1800s, Rachel Crofton, a governess, marries a wine merchant and through him comes into contact with Jonathan Allen, a man who has suffered the horrors of war. He is also tormented by memories of his childhood sweetheart, Alice, who mysteriously disappeared whilst he was away fighting. With the help of Starling, Jonathan's servant and also Alice's close companion, they try to discover the ...more
I really enjoyed all of Webb's books. I read them in order of when they were published. I enjoyed The Legacy, but thought that The Unseen was much better (better written, better characters, better mysteries, etc.) Then I went on to read A Half Forgotten Song. After loving The Unseen so much, I was a bit disappointed but still thought it was an excellent read. Anyway, I was nervous to read The Misbegotten; I was hoping it would be better than The Unseen or equal in enjoyment. I was pleasantly sur ...more
Two of Katherine Webb’s books featured in my Top Ten from 2012 – The Unseen and A Half Forgotten Song. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her latest – unusually for me (I have an aversion to heavy hardbacks...) I read it in the traditional way rather than on my Kindle, and loved every single one of its 531 wonderful pages.

No modern thread this time, but the story covers two timeframes. 1803 and a young child – called Starling because of the flocks that accompany her arrival – wanders in from ac
Aug 25, 2013 Gail rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: kindle
I have read all of Katherine Webb's books; the first two I adored but the last one, A Half Forgotten Song, was a disappointment to me. However I afford my favourite authors an 'off day' so I downloaded this one in the hope my faith could be restored in her beautiful words and convoluted stories; I was not disappointed.

The story begins in 1803. Alice Beckwith and Jonathan Alleyn have adored each other since they were children, having carved their initials in a tree at the age of 10. Alice is the
Ms Webb has conjured up such a passionate yet disconsolate tale with all the trappings of a classic in the making. Set in the 1800's, rich with the misery and social wranglings, its' story, surely, concerns the complexities of love in all guises. War plays a hefty character entwined within the narrative but makes no excuse for it's cause or effect. Beautifully drawn, though difficult to imagine in our world today.

Rachel would be our main character though her bias is running alongside that of equ
Katherine write such good books. It starts of a bit sad. A little girl comes wandering to the farm house. She is wearing a dress that has been stitched by mixed scraps of fabric woven together. Upon her feet she has leather slippers tied on with string. Her undergarments are baggy, filthy and stinking. I have another review on ireadnovels.wordpress
I did enjoy this book but found it long winded in some parts, for example Jonathans experiences in the war, I would have also felt some satisfaction if there was a conclusion to the Abi thread in the story. I found Katherine Webbs "The Unseen" more atmospheric and gripping, but on the whole I enjoyed this book.
Marguerite Kaye
I enjoyed this. Set in Bath during the Regency, this was like the obverse of a classic Regency romance. We saw the nuts and bolts of Bath, the taverns and the filthy streets, the downstairs of the lovely crescents, and the mass of people who worked to keep them looking pretty.

Told in two parts split by 10-15 years, this was a tale of identity. A nameless child, beaten and filthy, is claimed for a sister by Alice, a young girl, who has no parents and lives in seclusion courtesy of a benefactor w
I wasn't sure when I started this book if I was going to like it but kept going and then suddenly I was hooked and could not put it down thoroughly recommend it.
Khamneithang Vaiphei
Captivating, delightfully compelling, and just plain fun! A story set in the eighteenth century, of losses, lies and about how secrets can come back to haunt us – that it will always find a way to rise to the surface, and the price one has to pay for it. It is also a story of deceit, passion and courage.

The Misbegotten by Katherine Webb is set in the city of Bath in the south of England and begins in 1803 when a small child is found walking alone from the nearby marshes. Alice, a good-hearted wo
Kristi Casey
Really great book . . . my top favorites!
Georgina Smith
I really loved this book and struggled to put it down! I was caught up in the scandals and the relationships between every character. I had no hesitations in rating this book five stars and have recommended it to my mum (although when I tried describing it, my boyfriend was less than impressed - take that as a warning that this is definitely not an 'action-packed' story!).

That being said, Jayne's review below raised some interesting (and, I daresay, quite valid) criticisms of the character prog
A great read. A story of dark secrets lost innocence harshness and mental trauma of war and its lasting consequences and of however deep a secret is buried it will always find a way to rise to the surface. I found the characters well formed and the atmosphere set in 1800's well described. Would read more from this author.
Susan Campbell
What a brilliant story - quite a long book but absolutely worth reading. Written in 'old English style' in the 1800's in Bath, full of mystery and intrigue, and almost a love story. Some horrible bits, never to be forgotten - Katherine Webb definitely in my top 10 authors now.
Webb has a beautiful writing style and an obvious knowledge of history, and can paint a picture of 18th century England, complete with interesting colloquialisms. I had high hopes for this novel in the beginning (enough to send a copy to my mother), but somewhere after the 20% mark, the story fell flat...

The middle was full of unnecessary meanderings and it just became uninteresting. 280 pages would have been more than enough, as opposed to 500 plus...

In the beginning I felt sympathy for Rachel
Zoe Horne
I love this authors books. I start reading and can't put them down! This was set in early 1800's still in 2 time frames but close together so made the story a bit different from her other books. Kept you guessing till near the end.
felt this book was missing something and couldn't really get into as did have high hopes for this based in early part of the 19th century in bath
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nancy Stoddart
I loved this novel every bit as much as all of Katherine's previous novels.
I eagerly await her next novel!
Claire Petherick
Brilliant! read this on holiday and couldn't put it down! My mum has now started reading it and loves it too!
would defintiely recommend it to everyone!
This is a complex novel that skilfully interweaves different time periods and includes passages of "flashback" narrative without disrupting the flow of the novel - no easy task for an author and many don't manage it with such ease. The characters are brought to life so well, they are so multi-dimensional and engaging. Starling is a set to be a legend - not your average kind of heroine! Jonathan Alleyn begins as a bizarre cross between a brooding Heathcliff or Mr Rochester, and ends as a heroic M ...more
Monique Mulligan
I seem to go through mini-phases when I read … lately there’s been a run of gothic-style fiction – mysterious secrets, legacies, houses and a heroine determined to uncover the truth. I love books like this, so The Misbegotten by Katherine Webb pulled me in right from the blurb. Webb is the author of The Legacy and The Unseen, neither of which I have read but will be adding to my to-read pile now. The Misbegotten is a long book and takes time to reveal its secrets, but it’s well worth settling do ...more
★The Misbegotten - Katherine Webb - 3.5 stars★

This dual time period book tells the story of discovery, redemption and long buried secrets around the central character of Alice Beckwith's disappearance in the earlier time period being early 1800's. Unlike Webb's previous novels the time periods cover 1803 and 1820, which provides for a different reading experience allowing for the majority of character's to remain for the journey of the story.

The main character's include Jonathan Alleyn, a damage
Marina Maidou
A historic mystery which is been given by a good sense of the epoque, with a Bronte style (the damned Johnathan) where maybe it could be real in an earlier age (i.e. in Borgias) but here, well, I found it somehow, so soapopera style. Nice story, likely (and unlikely) characteres, it is a book you can spent your night (wondering what is the truth, what will happen next), but nothing more. I still find Dickens greater writer, whatever.
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I was born in Kent in 1977 and grew up in rural Hampshire before reading History at Durham University. History remains a passion, and I write character-led mystery dramas, often with historical settings. I love to explore the way past events can reverberate in the present, and I'm fascinated by the vast grey areas in human morality and behaviour.

My debut novel 'The Legacy' was voted viewers' choic
More about Katherine Webb...
The Legacy The Unseen A Half Forgotten Song The Night Falling The Legacy with Bonus Excerpt

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