Bookish Discussions

The Foundling // Can Bess Find Her Child?


I’m heading off to Stacey Halls’ author event at Waterstones this evening. I’ll be listening to her chat about her debut, The Familiars, and her most recent novel, The Foundling. I didn’t want to go without having read her newest work, so I dedicated the weekend to it.

So… It’s London, 1754. Six years after leaving her newborn at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim the illegitimate daughter she never knew. But her daughter has already been claimed, by her…

Less from a mile from Bess is Alexandra, a wealthy housebound woman, who is persuaded to hire a nursemaid to take care of her daughter. Her past is threatening to catch up with her, and will soon tear her carefully constructed world apart…

It sounds like a lot, right?

It was brilliant. Halls writes such captivating stories. She has quickly become a favourite author of mine, writing such tense and atmospheric historical fiction. Her writing style is simple but elegant. It’s enchanting and addictive. I flew through it in two days, which could have easily been one, because I couldn’t get enough of these characters.

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Bookish Discussions

2020: New Releases

I’m back with my final end-of-the-year post!

I wanted to have a lil chat about the books I’m most looking forward to reading in 2020 – I’ve tried to actually find books that are released this year, not just books that are being released in paperback, which is usual the “new releases” that I tend to buy.

Anyway, here’s the book I’m most excited for in 2020:

The Foundling by Stacey Halls8F5B7708-DE3E-44A0-B6EE-B85A3DE42DF3

OK, so Stacey Halls’ debut, The Familiars, was my favourite book of 2019 and is definitely in my top 5 favourite books of all-time. Once I saw the hardback edition of her second book, The Foundling, with the stunning end pages, dust jacket and spine, I couldn’t resist pre-ordering it and I passionately HATE hardbacks.

I’ve bought my ticket to her author event at Waterstones, Liverpool, next month to hear her talk about her The Foundling. I didn’t wanna go without having read this, so I’m going to start on it as soon as it arrives in the post. It sounds like yet another amazing read. I won’t give too much of the synopsis away, but it’s set in London, 1754. Six years after leaving her illegitimate daughter Clara at London’s Foundling Hospital, Bess Bright returns to reclaim that child she has never known.

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave 

Next up is The Mercies. I’m not sure if I’ll end up buying this in hardback or if I’ll wait till later in the year for its paperback release, but I’m super stoked about it. I’m always after a new witchy book and this one sounds like a dream.

The blurb on Goodreads says: After a storm has killed off all the island’s men, two women in a 1600s Norwegian coastal village struggle to survive against both natural forces and the men who have been sent to rid the community of alleged witchcraft.

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Bookish Discussions

The Familiars aka My Dream Book:


I just knew I would love this.

It’s about witches, set in Lancashire, involving a fox, with greenery on the cover. It’s me to a T.

I just didn’t expect to love it *this* much.

Young Fleetwood Shuttleworth, a noblewoman, is with child again. None of her previous pregnancies have borne fruit and her husband, Richard, is anxious for an heir. Fleetwood discovers a hidden doctor’s letter that carries a dire prediction: she will not survive another birth. By chance, she meets a midwife named Alice Grey, who promises to help deliver her baby. But Alice soon stands accused of witchcraft. Is there more to Alice than meets the eye?

We all know witches are My Shit. I love reading about them. I like to see how witches are characterised throughout history, which literature luckily documents. From a 21st-century perspective, with movements like #MeToo in mind, writers take on the image of the witch in a very different way than their ancestors. Stacey Halls questions how we view the witch.

Just because a woman is skilled, bold and authoritative, does that mean she is a witch?

Does an unorthodox woman – one who does not adhere to patriarchal standards and who actively defies their husband – count as a witch? Should she be punished?

Halls, from both a historical and modern perspective, tackles the ever-present debate that surrounds the image of the witch. Are they supernatural or elemental? Are they just working-class women, or can they also be middle-class? Is witchcraft just a woman’s craft? Does deformity equal witchery?

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