2-3-4 Challenge Book Discussions #1 discussion

Murder on Mulberry Bend (Gaslight Mystery, #5)
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Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 7660 comments Mod
Mrs. Donato believed Emilia was a child born of rape. What do you think of her feelings and behavior towards her who she believed to be her biological child?


message 2: by Charlene (last edited May 08, 2018 10:37PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Charlene (charlenethestickler) | 1391 comments I cannot get myself into Mrs Donato's head on this matter. Did she truly think her daughter was a child of the Devil because she was raped? It seems she told no one about this, not even the priest.

But then, a century ago, who knows what his advice would have been? I guess I think it would have been better for that poor blonde baby girl to have been sent to an orphanage, that Mr Donato didn't do his "good deed" and that they should have grieved the loss of their stillborn baby together.

Hindsight and distance here....


Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 7660 comments Mod
Well said, Charlene.


Robin (robinmy) | 1214 comments We know that it isn't the child's fault if they are a result of a rape. But, we're not the person carrying the baby after being assaulted and then having to look at the child all of the time and be reminded of what happened. I can understand Mrs. Donato not wanting to be around Emilia because she is a reminder of what happened to her. Maybe if Mrs. Donato would have talk to someone (her husband, her priest), then she could have got over the feelings about her daughter.


message 5: by ~ Giulia ~ (new) - added it

~ Giulia ~ | 193 comments And let's not forget about all the gossipy comments that must have come up about the girl's peculiar appearance. The poor woman must've had to bear countless "who does the child look like?" questions, which is the typical question that parents have to answer trying to identify the closest relative who had the same features of their child ("oh, the lower part of the face is all her father's, the eyes are my mother's, the nose is probably from great-grandaunt Anna..."), but in Emilia's case they must've come up even more frequently and insistently.
Until the baby switch reveal I was sure that either Mrs. Donato or her husband must have had some light haired relatives, or even if they didn't have any she must've made some up if only to quench any kind of gossip. After all Sarah only needed to get a look at their hair to jump to the conclusion that she wasn't blood related to both of them, so surely others must have thought the same.
Assumption which I must say, as a former blond child of two black haired parents, was starting to piss me off. My hair darkened with age so even if I'm still quite lighter than my parents I haven't been getting as many strange looks anymore, and no one has ever been outright rude or anything but I guess I'm still sensitive about it.


Robin (robinmy) | 1214 comments ~ Giulia ~ wrote: "And let's not forget about all the gossipy comments that must have come up about the girl's peculiar appearance. The poor woman must've had to bear countless "who does the child look like?" questio..."

Good point, Giulia. I never thought about all the gossip that would be going on.


Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 7660 comments Mod
I agree, excellent point Giulia.


Lauren (laurenjberman) | 2239 comments Again, it is impossible to judge Mrs. Donato as it is a terrible thing to be raped and them have to bear the child of that rape. Her inability to love Emilia is understandable given the circumstances. Moreover, as a devout Catholic at the turn of the century, the notion that the child could be the Devil's spawn is also not that strange - superstitions run very deep in religious communities, especially among the poor and less educated.

It is difficult to say whether Emilia would have been better off in an orphanage, which were not such wonderful places at the time either. The midwife though she was doing the right thing for the child and perhaps if Mr. Donato had told his wife the truth, Mrs. Donato would have been able to love her like a mother should.


Jonetta (ejaygirl) | 7660 comments Mod
I just felt like Mrs. Donato was also a tragic figure for all the reasons outlined.


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