A Child For Sale by Pam Howes is a powerful, heart wrenching dual timeline novel that has its roots in fact. This novel will tug on your heart strings. It will make you angry at what happened and was deemed acceptable in the past. And it will make you feel grateful that we treat others with more tolerance today.
The action is set in1964 and 2015 in Cheshire and Manchester as we follow two couples who are celebrating forty nine years of marriage in 2015. One pair are childhood sweethearts, the other couple were thrown together by adversity.
In 1964 we follow the fortunes of the young girls who were unmarried mothers and found themselves admitted (by their heartless and judgmental families) to a home for unmarried mothers, run by Catholic nuns. We witness the daily cruelty and the harsh conditions as babies were whisked away to be adopted or sold. It was an abomination and one in which the girls (even if they had loving partners) were completely powerless.
For fifty years, hearts have remained broken, always searching, never healing. A gruesome discovery in 2015 (when renovations begin on an old house) re-open old wounds and a desire to find lost babies. Significant advances in DNA testing and social media re-ignite hope in long broken hearts.
This is a very distressing read. It is awful to see the stigma attached to unmarried mothers in the 1960’s. Even their own families were more concerned with appearances than the welfare of their own children. The cruelty inflicted on the young girls by the nuns is dreadful. The reader’s heart breaks.
All the characters were well drawn and realistic. The leading ladies were easy to empathise with.
The modern reader is so thankful that attitudes have changed and no one suffers from the stigmas of the past.
This is a powerful read that tugs at all the emotions. Thank you Pam Howes for highlighting this dreadful time in our social history.
I received a free copy from the publishers. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.
I reach out, arms aching to hold my newborn baby, and catch just a glimpse of soft, dark-brown hair before someone pushes me back onto the bed. ‘It’s alive,’ says the woman who delivered my child before she places something over my face. My last thought is of my baby’s first cry before my world goes dark.
1964. When seventeen-year-old Laura Sims realises she’s pregnant, her boyfriend Pete says they will look after and love their baby together; but Laura’s mother turns on them in fury. Wrenched from her home and the boy she loves Laura is thrown into a home for unmarried mothers. With no access to the outside world and treated harshly, Laura fights to keep her child safe and to find a way to escape the nightmare…
2015. Despite the anguish of losing their firstborn, Laura and Pete have been happily married for fifty years. But they’ve never given up on their lost child. And when Laura uncovers a tattered old diary from someone who worked at the home where she last saw her child, her heart breaks in two: those who ran the home sold their baby to a desperate, childless family.
Such cruel actions give Laura and Pete a tiny sliver of hope. Is there a chance to find their child, safe and happy, or will their search bring them only heartbreak and devastation?
A totally heart-wrenching and utterly gripping novel about how far a mother will go to find her child. Before We Were Yours, Sold on a Monday and The Orphan Train fans will be swept away by this gorgeous novel that reminds us to never give up on those we love.
Pam Howes is a retired interior designer, mum to three daughters, grandma to seven assorted grandchildren and roadie to her musician partner.
The inspiration for Pam’s first novel came from her teenage years, working in a record store, and hanging around with musicians who frequented the business. The first novel evolved into a series about a fictional band, The Raiders. She is a fan of sixties music and it’s this love that compelled her to begin writing.
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