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The Little Orphan Girl

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  982 ratings  ·  104 reviews
For readers of Orphan Train and The Throwaway Children, this unforgettable story of one little Irish girl’s journey to find love, friendship and family will stay in your heart long after the final page…

Ireland, 1901: For as long as six-year-old Cissy Ryan can remember, she has been a workhouse girl. Living amongst the other orphan boys and girls, dreaming of a family that might come and choose has
Kindle Edition, 346 pages
Published September 24th 2018 by Bookouture
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Average rating 4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  982 ratings  ·  104 reviews

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Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to the publisher Bookouture who provided an advance reader copy via NetGalley.

When I saw a new book available from author Sandy Taylor I jumped at the chance to read it. I had read her wonderful book "The Runaway Children" last year and was deeply moved and impressed by it. I can thankfully say that her latest offering did not disappoint, for this is another exquisitely written and very special story.

In 1901, six-year old Cissy Ryan is leaving the workhouse in B
Cissy Ryan (formerly known as Martha in the workhouse) was six years old when the mammy came to collect her. She had thought herself to be an orphan – the only home she’d known was the workhouse. So, when the mammy took her to a little run-down house in Paradise Alley which also housed the devil himself (which turned out to be the granddaddy), she was a little frightened. She wanted to return to the workhouse and her best friend Nora.

It was 1901 and there wasn’t much money to be had in the smal
Joanna Loves Reading
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: hr, reviewed
2.5 Stars

I think the author put research into this story and developed an interesting plot. I appreciated that it was about poor Irish Catholics rather than an upper class. It did a decent job with living conditions, attitudes towards unwed mothers, speech and showing different aspects of daily life (not stellar but decent — effort was certainly there). However, I cannot say I enjoyed this much. It was told from the first person POV, which is not one I enjoy much, but it was also a v
Aug 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I fell in love with Cissy's character as soon as we are introduced to her. I couldn't imagine life in a work house, especially at such a young age. I have to admit to being slightly worried when her mammy shows up to take her home. Having never known her mammy, it's obvious Cissy doesn't know quite what to make of it all. I didn't need to worry though as it isn't long before we get to see this little family come together.

The story has a feel of Catherine Cookson about it which I love
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We all know I have a handful of ‘go-to’ favourite authors who I can rely on to write a novel that will test my emotions and fill my heart with joy at the same time as tears cascade down my face and Sandy Taylor is one of those. She writes with such a beauty so that the characters creep in under your skin and the reader becomes one with them.

The descriptive writing that creates the atmosphere to such an extent that I can ‘see’ what is happening. This is the story of Cissy a lovable li
Sue McQuaide Kitt
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Little Orphan Girl is a beautifully written emotional story of romance, hardships, heartbreak and the innocence of youth.

As with other books from this author, the characters are stunning and I can’t help loving them.

I loved following the adorable Cissy Ryan from a six year old, leaving the workhouse orphanage when her real mammy arrives to claim her and take her home to her mean spirited granddaddy and Cissy’s blossoming friendship with Colm Doyle and his horse Blue s
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From the get go this book had me hooked! The coarse Irish banter had me laughing and I felt a connection with the characters right away.
Six year old Cissy lives in a workhouse in County Cork Ireland in the 1900's. One day her mum decides to claim her and take her home to live with her grumpy grandaddy in Ballybun. The story takes you through Cissy's school life where she meets and befriends people that become very dear to her heart. Upon finishing school, Cissy begins her first job as a servant
Oct 30, 2018 rated it liked it
We first meet Cissy Ryan when, at the age of six, she leaves a workhouse holding the hand of a woman claiming to be her mammy. The workhouse for orphans is the only home Cissy has ever known and her mammy isn’t quite the kind of mother she expected. In fact Cissy was sure her name was Martha and she didn’t even have a mammy. Nevertheless, Cissy moves in with her mammy and her grandfather, a grumpy old man, in a tiny cottage. Life is suddenly very different but there is a silver lining and his na ...more
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Little Orphan Girl by Sandy Taylor.

This book is fully titled The Little Orphan Girl: The heartbreaking and gripping journey of an Irish orphan. Please don't let that put you off reading this book. Personally, I don't like books that can break my heart, but there was just something about this one that made me decide to break my usual rule of only reading 'happy' books and I am so glad that I did.

Cissy Ryan is just 6 years old when the story begins. She has lived all of her life i
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh WOW Sandy Taylor has done it again. What a beautiful heart-warming story this is set in Ireland. Five-year-old Cissy Ryan has lived all her life in The work house. She thought she was an orphan until her mother, who was also in the work house. Takes her a leaves and go to live in a cottage with her granddaddy. She meets Colm who drives the milk cart with his horse Blue. There is an instant connection between the two and they become great friends. Cissy develops a crush on Colm. But, as Colm g ...more
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh WOW Sandy Taylor has done it again. What a beautiful heart-warming story this is set in Ireland. Five-year-old Cissy Ryan has lived all her life in The work house. She thought she was an orphan until her mother, who was also in the work house. Takes her a leaves and go to live in a cottage with her granddaddy. She meets Colm who drives the milk cart with his horse Blue. There is an instant connection between the two and they become great friends. Cissy develops a crush on Colm. But, as Colm g ...more
Mary Thomas
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks to Netgalley for my copy.

This book is set in the early 1900's in Cork county. We meet Cissie who is being taken from the workhouse by her the mammy to live with her grandfather who smells like an old ferret. Cissie is not acknowledged by him as she is the product of a relationship out of wedlock. Cissie adjusts to her new life making new friends and talking "at" her grandfather until he begins to respond.

I loved the characters in this book especially Cissie and Col
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My first book by this author, but it won’t be my last. Set in Ireland in the early 1900’s it tells the story of Cissy Ryan. For the first years of her life she is brought up in the workhouse thinking she’s an orphan. Cissy leaves there with a woman called Moira, who is in fact her Mother. Cissy and Moira move in with her Granddaddy and her life starts to change for the better. There are a lot of ups and downs in Cissy’s life, some of this I found predictable, but it didn’t stop the enjoyment of ...more
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This story is set in Cork county, Ireland during the early 1900s. Six-year-old, Cissy Ryan, is walking out of the only home, she’s ever known; the Workhouse. A rather gruff woman who calls herself mammy, has Cissy by the hand all but dragging her away. Young Cissy is scared and confused as she has never met this woman before.

She is taken to a little cottage where she meets an even gruffer and hostile, smelly old man. He orders the child out of the house.

Time moves on and the household learns t
booklover BEV
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a delightful read

Balleybun Ireland 1901. Cissy Ryan aged just six years old is leaving the workhouse.after believing all this time to been a orphan her mammy Moira Ryan turns up and take her back to the cottage in paradise alley to be met by a old daunting granddaddy. Twelve years old Colm Doyle and cissy become good friends growing up and promises are made that they would marry. Years fly by and cissy leaves the covent school to take up employment in service at bretton hall living in.
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lovely lovely book, great characters and story line, heartbreaking at times but also heartwarming and sweet. I loved how Cissy used the terms 'the mammy' and 'the granddaddy' and her chatty lovely nature, especially her devotion to her best friend Nora who she grew up with in the workhouse until going to live with her family and then all the trials of growing up back in those times.
Would highly recommend reading and Sandy Taylors previous books!
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this an excellent book to read with such a lovely story of how a young girl learns to cope after leaving the walls of the workhouse.To find that she has a mother and grandfather is hard for cissy but she learns to cope and wins the heart of her grandaddy.Cissy has a friend in colm but misses nora her dear friend in the workhouse.As life moves on things change and not all for the good.This is an excellent book and i feel worth more than 5*
Kimberly Mussell
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have read quite a few stories based on orphans and I can tell you this one did not disappoint. Sandy has a lovely way of telling this story. It had emotion and heart. I love a book that can make me teary eyed, it's hard to do! This one hit me in a few spots. I loved the character of Cissy, very full of life.
The relationship between Cissy and the Granddaddy was so believable and the journey they shared was very heartwarming. I may have giggled a few times when they interacted in the beginning.
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Both sweet and sad. Hard not to fall in love with some of the characters. A simple but warming read.
Bonnie Eldridge-labaff
Nov 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Book review

Good book. A great look at how history was many years ago and how women were held as second class citizens.
Marlene  Moore
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't expecting the twists and turns that this book took! The ending was a total surprise. I'll not give it away, but it really was one of those books where you'll think about it for a while to come. I look forward to reading more books by this Author!
Alice Bye
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4/5 stars
This book was so so so good! I loved everything about it. From when we first meet Cody’s to the last page. I loved how compelling and heart breaking her story was but also light hearted and happy at times.
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adore Sandy’s books even if they do turn me into a bit of an emotional wreck. I couldn’t wait to read ‘The Little Orphan Girl’ and it appealed to me on so many levels, which I will explain a bit later on. All I can say on finishing reading the book is ‘Wow’. I absolutely LOVED it but more about that in a bit.
I really, really felt for the character of Cissy Ryan. When we first meet her she is living in a workhouse. She hasn’t really known any different. One day her mother goes
Robin Loves Reading
Please see all of my reviews on my blog at

This is an emotional read of a little girl who had been orphaned and how she grew up. The story takes place in the early 1900s in Ireland where young Cissy, formerly named Martha, began her life in a workhouse. At the age of six she left the Union Workhouse with the new mammy. What a life she led until that point. It was all she knew and she thought she was very happy. Everything was now new to her and she was forced to leave her very best frie
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Set in the early 1900’s in Ireland and told through the eyes of Cissy Ryan, the little orphan girl in the title. We follow her life from when she is reunited with her mother and leaves the workhouse, to her life in service and her eventual marriage to her childhood friend Colm.
Despite her terrible start in life Cissy is determined to see everyone and everything in a positive light. She is naturally inquisitive and manages to make the best of what life can give her even when she finds herself wi
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sandy Taylor’s books give me the feels! Honestly, I knew that this book was going to make me cry and that I would love it even before I read it. This author just keeps coming up with the most beautiful, heart wrenching stories. Now I want to move to rural Ireland and find a nice Irish guy with a horse! Okay, not really but seriously though, I loved this story.

Little Cissy has always known that she is an orphan. However, she suddenly finds herself with a quiet mommy and a grumpy grand
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you Bookouture for the copy of this book to review, via Netgalley.

I have never read any of Sandy Taylor's books and enjoyed her way with story telling ....I was captivated by Cissy.

Cissy's story begins when she is just 5 and we follow her through her childhood and early adult hold.
This book is sold as being "heartbreaking" and "gripping", I can honestly say I was gripped and was keen to get back to read more of Cissy's life. However, call me hard hearted, but
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Little Orphan Girl
Sandy Taylor
5 stars
Ireland 1901 – When Cissy and her real mom are brought back together, Cissy’s life changes. But she’s not prepared for some of the changes she is faced with. The house she goes to live in is not grand and is inhabited by a grumpy old man she learns is her grandfather. Over time she changes her grandfather’s heart and they become fast friends. Along with her friend Colm, she learns to value herself and is confident she will become a bette
Kari Marie
Cissy spent the first part of her life as an orphan. To her surprise one day her mammy came and took her home when Cissy was 6. Her life takes a different path from there and it still will not be easy.

This book had an interesting setting. I really liked the idea of the premise but there were some things I struggled with.
1. I found Cissy to be overly naive for being born out of wedlock in the early 1900's to an unwed mother. This girl seemed to be loved by everybody there is only one
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I can't say how much I loved this deeply moving, beautifully written story about Cissy, The Little Orphan Girl, set in Ireland at the turn of the last century.

We meet Cissy for the first time when she is just six years old and is collected from the workhouse by a stranger who tells her that she is her  'Mammy'. The first chapters captivated me as we see the world through the eyes of a child who has never stepped out of an institution. Having believed she was an orphan she now has to
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“wanted to take this day and put it in a box, so that if I ever felt lonely or scared, I could look inside and see it again and feel the way I felt today and I could remember. I looked around the room at all the people I loved and I thought that I was the luckiest girl in the whole world.” 0 likes
“Sometimes what you want isn’t the most important thing in the world.” 0 likes
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