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The Foundling

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  108 ratings  ·  48 reviews
A mother's love knows no bounds. . .

London, 1754. Six years after leaving her newborn, Clara, at London't 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
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: February 6th 2020 by Manilla Press
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    Community Reviews

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    Average rating 4.39  · 
    Rating details
     ·  108 ratings  ·  48 reviews

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    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 think
    What a wonderful listen this was! I loved everything about this book, the characters, the story, the wonderful descriptions of London in the 1750s and of the different types of people populating the great city.

    I loved ‘The Familiars’, the author’s debut last year, and was very keen to read this new book. I was so excited to get a place on The Pigeonhole, especially as it was also available as an audiobook!

    The book starts with Bess telling us about how she had to leave her newborn daughter at The
    Jan 03, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: own
    I received an ARC of this book from the publisher. Although it was quite slow at times, I did enjoy this book! Stacey Halls has a beautiful writing style and I liked the two intertwining storylines.
    Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    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
    May 30, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
    A story that explores power, secrets and motherhood with an abducted child caught between it all, in the middle of London, 1754.

    This historical mystery sounds good. I just keep thinking “I’m ready; teleport me to Georgian times!”
    Karen Mace
    Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    I read this via the Pigeonhole app.

    Another exciting piece of historical fiction from Stacey Halls who seems to really capture the essence of the time and the issues that people faced and I found it fascinating to see the story told between the haves and the have nots, in the form of Bess and Alexandra.

    Bess finds herself unmarried and pregnant and is forced to leave her baby daughter at The Foundling, a place where she is hoping that her daughter will be cared for while she gets her life together
    Vanessa Wild
    Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I loved this story! Set in London during the 18th century and told by two voices, that of a young mother and shrimp seller, Bess Bright, and a widow, Alexandra Callard, who lives with her daughter, Charlotte. Six years after leaving her baby, Clara, at the Foundling Hospital, Bess discovers Clara has already been reclaimed by someone professing to be her. Bess’ investigations lead her to the position of nursemaid.

    I was looking forward to reading this book so was very pleased when it became
    Laura Newsholme
    I flew through this book as the writing was really compelling, but ultimately, I felt that a lot of the action was just a little too convenient and coincidental, which just left me feeling a little bit disappointed. It tells the story of Bess, a young woman who takes her newborn daughter to the Foundling hospital. When she returns to reclaim her 7 years later, she discovers that someone else already has.

    The positives: I thought that the dual perspectives worked really well and ensured that the
    Gail Wylde
    Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: pigeonhole
    I loved this book right from the very first page. It is a beautiful written story with wonderful characters and great descriptions of life in Georgian LONDON. The story is told from the point of view of two very different women. Bess/Eliza’s story tugged at my heart straight away and I was prepared to hate Alexandra but couldn’t. All the characters in this story are beautifully written and real (I did want to commit murder at one point!). If you like historical fiction this one is for you. ...more
    Veronika Jordan
    Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I loved this book more than I can say. If I could give it 10 stars I would. I was so engrossed in the story and couldn't wait for the next stave to be delivered (I was reading through Pigeonhole). At one point I wanted to buy the book so I could read to the end only to discover it had not yet been published. In fact I am still so full of the tale of Bess, Alexandra and Clara/Charlotte that I am struggling to read another book yet. I cannot imagine what it must have been like having to place your ...more
    Fay Flude
    Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    This book by Stacey Halls is pure art!
    Engrossing, absorbing, terrifying and hopeful, I was transported into another world, a time and place far removed from modern day prosperity and equal rights. A dank, dark, dangerous London, reeking of poverty and hardship where the distinction between the haves and have-nots is abundantly clear.
    Bess gives birth to a baby girl Clara but has to give her up at the Foundling Hospital. As a hawker selling shrimp with her father Abe, she knows she cannot possibly
    Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

    Stacey Halls has somehow managed to write an even more incredible book than The Familiars was. Her second novel and already she is besting herself!

    From the moment I picked up The Foundling I couldn’t put it down, I was instantly dragged into 18th century London and from then on my attention never wavered, either I was reading the book or I was thinking about reading the book.

    Bess makes for an enchanting main character, as a young girl
    Alison Alice-May
    Stacey Hall has done it again! After reading The Familiars I was hoping but unsure that Stacey could write another mesmerising read. Her writing style is beautifully poetic and her characterisation flawless, unlike her characters! In this book we meet a wonderful array of characters that will live long in the imagination. They are all so rounded and their flaws so irritating to be believable. Stacey weaves together history and fiction and writes a story to catch your imagination.

    Bess Bright is a
    Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I just have to give Stacey Halls a 5 star review for the Foundling. As soon as I picked it up I was instantly transported to the 18th century and I didn't want to leave the charactors when I finished the book during the early hours of this morning.

    The story is centred around two women, Bess who is one of the poor people of London, eeking out a living selling shrimp and living in a 2 room abode with her father and brother. Alexandra is a wealthly widower however she is an agrophobic and rarely
    Craig Hall
    Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I was given the opportunity to read this book in advance of the general release date thanks to the author and The Pigeonhole. I'm so pleased to have been able to read this novel - it was superb.

    Having enjoyed Stacey's debut book - The Familiars, this book is set down south, in olden London Town. The descriptions of the people, places and era are wonderful, bringing the scenes so alive you can almost smell them. Its not a complicated story / plot, but each individual is so rich in character that
    Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Such lyrical and evocative writing style. And the audio is just stunning, especially Bess/Eliza's voice. This was my first ever audiobook(via ThePigeonHole as I was lucky enough to win a spot on this serialization). I usually avoid audiobooks because I thought I won't be able to focus enough and my mind will wonder. Turns out I was right, but at the same time, those quiet moments when one nurses her infant child are perfect for listening, lol. And really have I said the audio is stunning? I ...more
    Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    The Foundling is set in Georgian London, and is packed full of secrets. No-one in it appears to be telling the truth.

    Bess Bright, a hawker of shrimps on London’s streets, leaves her newborn, Clara, at the London Foundling Hospital with every intention of reclaiming her when she is older. When Bess does return having saved the money to pay for the care her daughter has received over the last six years, it’s to discover that Bess Bright has already claimed her baby the day after she left her. So
    Jan 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    I really enjoyed this historical mystery from The Familiars' author Stacey Halls.

    I love how Halls writes engaging characters without making them particularly complex. Without wishing to spoil anything, I enjoyed how the narrative was split between two contrasting perspectives, providing some fascinating insights into mother-daughter relationships.

    The mystery itself is probably the weakest element of the book, and I did find the ending a little easy-won and unsatisfying. This is very much a novel
    Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I am not a great fan of historical fiction but the description of this novel won me over and I was pleased to have the opportunity to read it over ten days (in staves) with Pigeonhole. From the first chapter I was completely caught up in the book and impatiently waited for each daily installment. I think that I'd have read it in one sitting if I'd had the complete book. It would make a wonderful TV series or film.

    The descriptions of Georgian London are vibrant and a tribute to what must have
    Sandra Makower
    Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I got to read an advance copy on pigeonhole.

    I adored this book. Stacey Halls has done it again. If you want to travel back in time, read one of her books.

    This time, we travel back to London in the the 1740’s and 1750’s. The Foundling Hospital. Bess leaves her newborn baby with the Foundling Hospital, with the intention of claiming her back later. Later she comes to claim her back, but she is no longer there. What has happened to her?

    Meanwhile, widowed Alexandra is struggling to bring up her
    Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Bess has no option but to leave her baby, Clara, at The Foundling, a hospital where children are raised and looked after until their mothers can come back for them if their situations ever improve. After 6 years of saving money, Bess thinks she finally has enough to get her daughter back but when she goes to claim her, she's told that Clara's mother has already claimed her!
    There are so many mysteries, I never could have imagined how this would be resolved. What a wonderful ending.
    I really loved
    Lynne Smith
    Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    I really enjoyed this book, the descriptive writing was beautiful and evoked the atmosphere of 18th century London with all its teeming life. The characters were well drawn and the mystery of the disappearance of Clara the baby Bess left at the Foundling Hospital was intriguing. I didn’t know of The Foundling Hospital and the possibility of reclaiming a child at a later date and could imagine Bess’ grief and shock when she went back and found Clara had been taken the day after being left.

    Lisa Bergin
    Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: kindle, pigeonhole
    I read this book via the Pigeonhole. Having read Stacey Hall’s previous book The Familiars back in early December 2019, I was really looking forward to this one and it did not disappoint. Really well written with some great descriptions it tells the story of Bess Bright, who gives birth and gives up the child to The Foundling hospital the same day. Her intention is to return one day and retrieve her child but when she does this she discovers that someone claiming to be her collected the child ...more
    Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Another wonderful and exquisitely-crafted novel by Stacey Halls. I was lucky enough to follow the audiobook via The Pigeonhole and what a fantastic experience it was! This novel is so atmospheric, I could almost smell 18th Century London. That combined with Halls' beautiful storytelling and vibrant characters made for the perfect book to start 2020's reading challenge with, although I'm not sure that many books will be able to live up to the high standards that Halls' second novel has set. I ...more
    Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    My first book of the year was a total departure from the usual sort of books I read. But I really enjoyed it. The writing transported me to another era and really brought Georgian London and all its dark under currants to life. It is hard to imagine how some people used to live during these times and that giving up your children was a thing. I have now downloaded The Familiars to read. Thank you to The Pigeonhole and to the author for the chance to read this title in exchange for an honest ...more
    Jane Atkin
    Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I was lucky enough to read a preview copy of this via The Pigeonhole. It's MAGNIFICENT!!! I really liked the way it was written, through the eyes of the two main women characters in the story. Stacey Halls has researched the Georgian period extensively, down to the Cockney phrases that Lyle, and acquaintance of Bess's, would have used. All the descriptions of characters and of Georgian London make you feel as though you're there with them. I can't wait to own a physical copy of this book and ...more
    Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    What a wonderful book, the story was beautifully written.
    I'm London 1754, Bess returns to the Foundling Hospital to collect her daughter Clara which she left there to be cared for 6 years ago, only to discover someone has already claimed Clara by pretending to be her. Bess now has to find out who claimed her daughter and why.
    I have never read anything like this before but absolutely loved this book. I was engrossed in the whole story and didn't want it to end. Thank you to Pigeonhole and
    Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I was fortunate enough to read this wonderful book thanks to Stacey Hall and Pigeonhole.

    Beautifully written and rich in historical detail, particularly the wonderful cockney slang and phrases of the time. Very strong characters who I at times loved and others almost loathed! But that is how this book got me; I was wholly invested in the characters and their stories right from the start.

    If you enjoy well written historical fiction then you will love this book.
    I read a lot of books but not all
    Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    This wonderful story is set in 18th century London. It tells the tale of two very different women, Bess and Alexandra, and the child who links them together.

    The story explores love, motherhood and loss, as well as family relationships.

    Stacey has researched the setting and time so well, and I felt transported back to the 18th century when reading this book.

    I really enjoyed it and was sorry to reach the end!
    Nicola Mackenzie-smaller
    What a brilliant book. In fact, I’m fairly certain I’ve now read one of my favourite books of the year by January 4th, which is a bit annoying.
    Stacey Halls has written a love story to the power of motherhood, by considering what it is like to lose a child, find a child or to raise a child who is not yours by birth. This is set against a glorious description of what life was like for rich and poor alike in the 18th century. Loved it.
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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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