The Forsaken Children by Naomi FinleyPublication Date: April 13, 2021 Huntson Press Series: The British Home Children, Book 1 Genre: Historical Fiction A riveting tale of endurance and resilience, illustrating the spirit of a child and the bond between siblings. It’s 1922. Fifteen-year-old Hazel Winters and her six-year-old brother, William, are placed on a ship by an organization that relocates British orphans and children of poverty to new homes in Canada. Arrivals in the new land are exported to distributing houses, where devastation and heartache greet the youngsters as headmistresses govern their fate. The assurance of a better life across the ocean is far from what Hazel experiences. Through hardships and loneliness, she is determined to survive. Finding refuge in memories of the past, she clings to the dream of returning to her homeland while preserving a reunion in her heart. In 1890, orphaned Charlotte Appleton and her sister Ellie were scooped up from London’s streets and sent to new homes across the ocean. Although mere miles kept them apart, Charlotte never knew her sister’s whereabouts until a chance interaction reunites them. Together the siblings vow to make a difference for the families and home children of an institution in Toronto, Ontario. Can an unexpected guardian give Hazel renewed strength and resolve for a future of promise? Based on the child emigration movement that occurred from 1869 through the late1930s, this poignant tale follows the lives of siblings who were burdensome byproducts of Britain's poverty.
I absolutely adore reading about the early 1900's time frame, and this one especially was such an amazing story which gripped my heart - this happens every time I read about children and their state of poverty or being orphans. I love seeing the resilience, strength, and the stories about survival and how these characters are able to get through hardships when everything is against them.
It is during that time in the late nineteenth century when Britain, faced with poverty that resulted families and children living in horrid slums where many were sent to the workhouses, while others lived in the streets begging and stealing, until organizations found a way to help these children find a better future elsewhere. Some children found hope and happy homes, while some escaped one horrid condition only to experience such circumstances not unlike what they had just tried to escape from.
I had never known about this part of British and Canada history until reading this book where I found myself in a rabbit hole learning about the British Child Emigration Movement that officially began on October 28, 1869 and started by an English social reformer Maria Rye where 68 children were brought from Liverpool to Canada.
I found that Naomi Finley wrote this story beautifully through the eyes of fifteen year old Hazel. The writing was immersive and rich in detail and told the harrowing story some of the children went through. It did bring tears to my eyes and I really enjoyed this book.
About the Author
Naomi is an award-winning author living in Northern Alberta. She loves to travel and her suitcase is always on standby awaiting her next adventure. Naomi’s affinity for the Deep South and its history was cultivated during her childhood living in a Tennessee plantation house with six sisters. Her fascination with history and the resiliency of the human spirit to overcome obstacles are major inspirations for her writing and she is passionately devoted to creativity. In addition to writing fiction, her interests include interior design, cooking new recipes, and hosting dinner parties. Naomi is married to her high school sweetheart and she has two teenage children and two dogs named Egypt and Persia. For more information, please visit Naomi Finley's website. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads.