Patricia is sixteen and pregnant. It’s nineteen-fifty-seven, and she lives in Southern Ireland.
She has been taken, by her parents, to Bessborough House, on the outskirts of Cork city. It’s a home for unmarried mothers, run by Catholic nuns, who are cruel and vicious in their treatment of the girls incarcerated there.
Her parents can’t cope with the shame and stigma of their neighbours finding out about their unmarried daughter’s pregnancy, Patricia is left there and told she can go home after the baby’s been adopted. A thought that rips her heart out.
She is in love with her baby’s father and hopes they’ll marry and bring up the baby together. Her parents have other ideas.
Life inside Bessborough is a harsh reality. The nuns are spiteful and bristle with hatred.
The girls are overworked and undernourished, and many mothers and babies will not survive. Others are sent to the local Asylum, never to be seen again. This is Patricia’s biggest fear, next to dying during childbirth.
Patricia’s baby is taken and given up for adoption by the nuns, without her consent.
Heartbroken, she is finally allowed home. She is told her baby’s father has abandoned her, but that’s a lie. He never knew she was pregnant.
Thirty years on, Patricia is a nurse in England. She’s divorced with two grownup daughters, who don’t know about their mother’s past.
A development forces Patricia to relive the pain and devastation but with unexpected results.
136 Deceit and Reclamation by Beverley Latimer
This is the second book I’ve read by this author and it won’t be the last. She’s hit on a clever idea of taking some of the most harrowing real historical events and weaving a character-driven fictional story around them—and the results are spectacular.
This story deals with the very real mother and baby homes, run by nuns in Ireland. Remarkably, the last of these horrendous institutions didn’t close until 1998. Ms Latimer gets right in there to the core of the pain and she twists—until you feel it.
A beautiful story of kids doing what kids do as much as we try to discourage them, and the consequences that last a lifetime.
It’s heady, innocent love, that is sullied–and then cleansed—but not until many years of guilt and heartache have passed.
Real, raw –and just as it happened to many, many unfortunate young girls.
A life ruined—a child stolen—and love that never fades.
Read this book. It’s beautiful.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on 11 May 2023
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Katherine Black / Susan (Sooz) Simpson
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Katherine has held almost every single job imaginable, from painting gnomes to zookeeper. She spent most of her life in the caring profession and has managed both a nursing home and a care agency. But her passion for the written language always brings her home to novel writing.
Born in Tyne-and-Wear, North-East England, she has settled in the beautiful Lake District, Cumbria, with her partner, two dogs, a cat, an iguana and a python (just don’t ask her which of those six things is her favourite!).
She specialises in content creation and social media outreach, and has been a developmental editor for hundreds of clients. She owns and operates bestbookeditors.com where she helps foundling authors polish their skills. However, after being diagnosed with a dramatic brain condition in 2022, she has had to let 23 staff go, and scale back the business. BBE is still very much open, we are just fewer and can’t take as much work on.
Katherine Black is the author of psychological thriller/detective/fantasy adventure novels.