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The Foundling

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  10,570 ratings  ·  1,308 reviews
A mother's love knows no bounds. . .

London, 1754. Six years after leaving her newborn, Clara, at London's Foundling Hospital, young Bess Bright returns to reclaim the illegitimate daughter she has never really known. Dreading the worst - that Clara has died in care - the last thing she expects to hear is that her daughter has already been reclaimed. Her life is turned upsi
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Zaffre
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Patricia O'Brien Well, it did tie up all the ends which is what most readers like!
A realistic ending is one that's unhappy and far from tidy!
I do think that Alexandr…more
Well, it did tie up all the ends which is what most readers like!
A realistic ending is one that's unhappy and far from tidy!
I do think that Alexandra, envied and hated Bess, but hated herself more. But she did come to an acceptance of who she was, and Bess too. I thought that was good.(less)
Sue Frances Yes it is. It's a brilliant read.…moreYes it is. It's a brilliant read.(less)

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Apr 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Several years ago I watched a documentary on London's Foundling Hospital. It was interesting to learn about the procedures applied to poor mothers who had to leave their babies behind. Most of them were able or willing to pick their children up after some time, and there were regulations how to do get your child back. This Hospital is in the background of the plot and all information is precise and well-researched.
The second novel by Ms Halls tells a story of a very young woman who in 1754 gets
Amalia Gkavea
''People tossed all sorts into the river, including themselves.''

London, 1754. Bess is one of the unfortunate mothers who have to leave their children in the Foundling Hospital, with the desperate hope that she will return to claim her. And indeed, six years later she comes back, true to her word. But her daughter isn't there. Someone else has claimed her as her own. Bess starts a quest that will lead her in the circles of the metropolis upper class, exposing the hypocrisy, while the lower c
What an intriguing story and a book I enjoyed immensely. The story gripped me from the first chapter and I loved the characters and the setting of the novel. Suspenseful, intriguing and beautifully written and And I was facinated by the foundling hospital and London of the 1750s.

The Foundling is set against the vibrant backdrop of Georgian London, and explores families, secrets, class, equality, power and the meaning of motherhood. Two women bound by a child and a secret that will change everyt
Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
3.5 stars.

An easy and entertaining historical fiction read.

This novel started off with a bang! I was fully invested and wholly engrossed from the start. London, 1748: Bess is a young woman whose family barely makes enough to survive. She registers her newborn baby at the London Foundling Hospital on the day of her birth since she knows, as a teenage single unwed mother, she cannot possibly provide for her. Bess has every intention of coming back for her baby once she gets enough money saved and
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: All the babies were wrapped like presents ready to be given. Some of them were dressed finely - though their mothers were not - in tiny embroidered sleeves and thick shawls, for winter had arrived, and the night was biting. I'd bound Clara in an old blanket that had waited years to be darned, and now never would be. We stood clustered around the pillared entrance, thirty or so of us, like moths beneath the torches burning in their brackets, our hearts beating like papery wings. I hadn't ...more
Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

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THE FAMILIARS was probably one of my top 5 favorite historical fiction reads of 2019, so I was really excited to receive an ARC of THE LOST ORPHAN by the same author. THE FAMILIARS is a dark but unexpectedly feminist story that takes place during a time that was historically unkind to women but manages to have an empowering message that reads as being fairly accurate to the times as well as a sympathetic heroine. THE LOST ORPHAN is the s
the foundling book review
Visit the locations in the novel

That cover! Pure art! And I am happy to say, so is the story.

From the opening page, the story about Bess and her baby girl Clara, the writing, swept me wholeheartedly into another world. This world was a cruel one – London 1754, and a woman who has conceived a child out of wedlock is forced to give her up at the Foundling Hospital. Women go here in their droves, and pick a token from a bag. If it’s one colour, they get in and their baby is taken in ( health checks
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Having to leave your newborn at a Foundling until you could afford to keep the child seemed to be the norm in the 1700's for poor families.

Going back to get your child after you saved half a year's wages to pay for the child’s keep for six years and find out someone else had claimed to be you and taken your child was more unbearable than leaving your child the first time.

Bess was devastated when she found out someone had taken her daughter. When she questioned the governors of the Foundling, the
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was perfect! I read and liked Stacey Hall’s first book : The Familiars, but this was a much smoother read, more accomplished. I’m so excited to see a new talent on the hf scene and can’t wait to see what she writes next.
Kate Baxter
Back in 2010/2011, author Stacey Halls attended an exhibition of tokens and artifacts of an 18th century London foundling hospital. I had the pleasure of viewing that same exhibit in 2014 when it was showing in Williamsburg, VA. The orphans' parents were given the opportunity to leave some sort of token at the hospital for their child. It would provide the connection between parent and child should there be a possibility of reuniting. This emotional and informative exhibit was entitled, "Threads ...more
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
What an engrossing and atmospheric read! I actually read this in one day, which is very unusual for me, especially on a work day. But it was very difficult to put down and the pages flew through the fingers. There is a plot device which I'm not entirely sure about but otherwise I think this is a gorgeous and enchanting read that pulls at the heart strings, sometimes for unexpected reasons. My favourite character turned out to be not the one I expected. Another excellent book from Stacey Halls. R ...more
Rachel Hall
Engaging but disappointingly straightforward historical fiction novel of one child torn between two women.

Stacey Halls second historical fiction novel is set against the backdrop of London in the Georgian era and is essentially a pretty straightforward story of two women in a tug of war over one illegitimate child left at the Foundling Hospital. Narrated in the first-person by the two women at the centre of the storm, a world apart in terms of wealth, class and respectability, The Foundling is a
Louis Muñoz
May 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very satisfying read, so glad I found my way to this book! It took me immediately into the mid-18th century, with very few, if any anachronisms. In fact, I don't think I ever was jarringly brought back to the present in this book; I really saw and heard and smelled Georgian London at every step. Even though I was mildly unconvinced by the ending, "The Lost Orphan," as my copy is titled, delivered as a historical fiction "page-turner" and as an entree into some truly fascinating historical deta ...more
Liz Barnsley
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent atmospheric historical novel about a mother's search for her child.

Full review to follow for the tour.
May 13, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lately I've been sucked into a number of historical fiction books about orphans, homes for unwanted children and/or "compromised" young women, and for the most part, have loved them all - until this one. This book was lean on history and heavy on drama. I also found it odd that it was published in the UK as The Foundling, but as The Lost Orphan here in the US, which is a rather dull and somewhat misleading title.

It did start off on a good note, and I really enjoyed Part I - Bess's story. Bess i
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellently and beautifully written novel. It's atmospheric and evocative of the period when it takes place. The characters have depth and complexity and their lives touched me and educated me. I was glued to my chair reading this, with feelings of dread, despair, and hope running through me as I worked my way through the 287 pages of thought-provoking story. Sounds like this is a 5-star book, doesn't it? It is, except that it let me down at the very end and that brought my rating dow ...more
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard times forced unwed mother, Bess Blight to leave her newborn baby, Clara, at London’s Foundling Hospital. Six years of saving and she finally has enough to claim her daughter. However, when she arrives she is stunned to learn she has already been claimed by Bess herself.

Halls quickly pulled me into this tale and my heart bled for Bess. We also meet, Alexandra, a wealth, widowed recluse and her young daughter Charlotte.

Through a young doctor and member of the Foundling Hospital Bess is hired
Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)
“The Foundling” is written by Sunday Times bestselling author Stacey Halls and is her second novel, after the success of “The Familiars” last year.
Once again this book is attractively presented with a gorgeous cover and is guaranteed to be a beautiful addition to any bookshelf.
Set in London 1754, this historical drama novel focuses on The Foundling Hospital where mothers took their young babies to hopefully be looked after, until they could return and buy them back. The opening pages really brok
Imie (mythicreader)
Stacey Halls has done it again! I was so mesmerised by The Foundling that I read it in one sitting. If you enjoyed the writing style of The Familiars and the mix of fiction and history, then you will ADORE this one as well.

The Foundling focuses on themes of motherhood through two women, both of very different backgrounds. Six years after leaving her illegitimate child in the care of The Foundling Hospital, Bess goes back to claim her daughter. However, when she arrives she finds out that someo
Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
Set in London in 1754, Bess Bright makes the heartbreaking decision to leave her illegitimate newborn baby at the Foundling Hospital in London, promising herself that she will come back to claim her daughter as soon as she can. Years later, Bess returns only to find her daughter has already been claimed, by her. So begins the mystery of The Foundling by Stacey Halls.

Stacey Halls has done it again. The Familiars was set in 1612 around the Pendle witch trials and was an absorbing read about two wo
Beth Pennington
I have been so excited to read this new read by @staceyhallsauthor and I wasn't dissapointed!

1.✔Stacey is fantastic at writing about historical points of history that are lesser are known and creating fantastic fictional accounts from this. I had never heard of The Foundling Hospital and the museum that still stands today. But this book has made me want to explore that history more, as devestating as it is. When I met her, Stacey explained how moved she was by the tragic history here, and I thin
This book was fantastic! Just everything I hoped for and more. It had a sorrowful, whimsical quality to it and the writing was so detailed I felt I was actually a part of this rich, vivid world.

In general, historical fiction isn't really my thing, I'm much more of a fantasy, sci-fi person. Yet I'd read The Familiars and loved it so decided to give this a chance. I'm so glad I did. There was just something so compelling about this novel, I can't quite put my finger on it.

The characters were so d
Allison Keith
This is a powerful tale that is harrowingly authentic to the times. It is feminist in the sense that the pair of female narrators are strong, independent women who determine their own fates outside of male influence. They are impeccably rendered with rich emotional depth. I love it when an author manages to write an unlikeable female protagonist who still manages to be relatable. Stacey Halls executed that brilliantly with the troubled character of Alexandra, though the character of Bess, determ ...more
Theresa Smith
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stacey Halls just might be my favourite historical novelist now. You can’t really make that call after one book, but now I’ve read her second and it’s as equally good as what her first was, so she can officially rank as a favourite now. For those who have read The Familiars, expect something different with this one – and isn’t that one of the best examples of literary talent: the ability to write each book different, to not write to formula, or stick to what worked for you before. The Foundling, ...more
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my book club read.

Positives - An easy read that kept you turning the pages.
I loved the era and the atmospheric language and I could picture the street scenes clearly.
An unusual subject.

Negatives - Thought that the storyline could have had a little more excitement. I more or less knew in which direction the ending was heading.

Overall, a decent read.
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
"That's her birthday, I'll remember it for the rest of my life. Every year I light a candle for her.

If you loved Stacey Halls' debut The Familiars last year, then you were probably like me highly looking forward her second novel. Worry not, for The Foundling (also going by the title of The Lost Orphan for the US) just confirms the author's talent while being so different in terms of plot, characters and theme.

Set in London during the 18th century, we follow Bess, one of those many women who had
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was not what I expected. I don't know why, but I was not expecting a book like this. Given that I rated it 5 stars though it is still excellent.

I love the 18th century as I keep saying so that alone was probably already going to make this three stars, but in the end it was the characters that kept me engaged. Both the POVs are believable and at times I could feel for both of them, though I understood Bess more. I was really rooting for the baby and later child more though.

I was so invested
Nov 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book although I have to admit to a big chunk of coincidence and 'modern' life as an ending needing to be swallowed. I read it in a few days and admit to slowing down my reading to make it last longer. I was in this world with every page. This Miss H certainly can write a page turner and some. It has bite, it has class, it has the ring of facts and authenticity and the smell of character, locations and guts. For a second novel, wonderful, SH just gets better, roll on book No ...more
Lydia Bailey
Mar 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve really enjoyed this one. For some reason I was expecting it to be a fantasy-based novel (which I don’t really enjoy) but it’s absolutely not. A really original plot & really well executed too. I shall save further comment until after book club discussion but a solid 4 stars for sure.....I may come back with another one!
Carla Johnson-Hicks
This book was originally published as The Foundling in the UK, in North America, the title and cover were changed. I have to say, I prefer the original cover and title, but the story is the same.

You can read the blurb, so I will not reiterate it here, but tell you how this book made me feel. First, I love historical fiction, especially when I learn about a time or event that I did not know about. This period in history is know for its huge disparity between classes. The idea that so many poor wo
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Stacey Halls grew up in Rossendale, Lancashire, as the daughter of market traders. She has always been fascinated by the Pendle witches. She studied journalism at the University of Central Lancashire and moved to London aged 21. She was media editor at The Bookseller and books editor at, and has also written for Psychologies, the Independent and Fabulous magazine, where she now works ...more

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Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
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“I could not look at him, because his grief was raw and exposing. He did not know how to sit with it yet, or what to do with it. I knew that feeling well.” 0 likes
“but when my belly grew and the pushing began, it was her hand I wanted to hold. I’d been envious of the girls with mothers last night, who’d worn their love on their faces.” 0 likes
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