Having visited The Foundling Museum a few years ago, I couldn’t wait to read this novel as I knew it would be a moving story. The museum is full of personal artefacts that were left with the children who were given up by their mothers because they couldn’t look after them for whatever reason. These items were known as tokens and were kept at the museum along with the children’s papers as “insurance”.
This story starts with Bess who has just given birth to a girl who she names Clara. Bess is unmarried and cannot look after a baby and so has no alternative but to take the baby to the Foundling Hospital. The token she gives over with the baby is half a heart made of whalebone with the initial B (for Bess) and she carves the initial C into it (for Clara).
To be able to get your child back from The Foundling Hospital, you had to be able to afford the money that would have been spent on the child for however long they were cared for, so Bess saves as much as she can for six years until she is in a position to claim Clara back.
When she goes to the Hospital to collect her, she is devastated to learn that Clara was claimed the very next day after she was handed over, by a woman claiming to be Bess!
Bess is distraught and sets out on a mission to find her beloved daughter Clara and also who it was who pretended to be Bess…
This is a great story of love, loss and betrayal which the author deals with brilliantly. There is a lot more to this story, but I didn't want to give any spoilers away, so you'll just have to read it yourselves to find out more!
I love reading about history in London and this gives it in bundles! I loved it and cannot wait to read the author’s next book coming out later this year.