Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for The Forgotten Children by Isabella Muir. Disturbingly real, deeply emotional, and absolutely gripping Emily’s journey will leave you questioning the motives and secret histories of everyone you’ve ever dared to judge.
Title: The Forgotten Children
Author: Isabella Muir
Publisher: Outset Publishing Inc.
Publication Date: November 29, 2018
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Themes: Friendship, Relationships, Family
My Rating: 4/ 5
A woman’s search to find her son uncovers the shocking truth about one of Britain’s darkest periods
Struggling with the demons of her past, Emily is a children’s author with a dark secret, and a guilt that threatens to consume her. For twenty years she has lived in Brighton, England, trying to forget the day they took her baby from her, just hours after he was born. But now, in the summer of 1987, she decides to begin the search for her son.
Emily takes refuge in a small town on the Isle of Anglesey to plan the search, where she meets Walter, a gentle stranger, who helps her with his words of wisdom and kindness. But it is when she decides to return home to Hastings, that she really has to face her demons.
Estranged from her parents when she was just sixteen, Emily is shocked by what her mother has to tell her about events that occurred before Emily was even born.
Beside her, throughout her search, is Emily’s beautiful Irish friend, Geraldine, recovering from her own sad experiences. Together they uncover a truth that shocks them all.
The Forgotten Children draws the reader into lives affected by narrow-minded beliefs and blinkered thinking at the highest level. Children who weren’t allowed to be born, children who were abandoned, and children who were taken, forced to lead a life thousands of miles away from everyone and everything they knew – leaving scars that may never heal.
At its heart, The Forgotten Childrenis a story of survival, but the journey that Emily has to take is painful. Even more so because she knows it was allowed to happen by individuals, religions and governments, who should have known better.
If you enjoy gushy, uplifting reads, walk away now.
The Forgotten Children is deep, uncomfortable, and entirely confrontational. It forces you to question motives, suspend judgement, and look more closely at ‘official’ histories. Oh, and did I mention that it’s an absolutely outstanding read?
Set in the not-too-distant past, the familiarity of the place and society of Emily’s world is so close that it’s almost tangible. Full of nostalgia, heartbreak, and lasting preconceptions it’s almost impossible not to get lost in Emily’s story as she strives to make peace with her past, her mother, and her son. Muir confronts loss on so many levels – through miscarriage, through adoption, through choice, between parents and children, amongst siblings, lovers, and friends. It deals with some incredibly harsh realities, and yet it delivers an incredibly cathartic experience that evokes both empathy and understanding.
Emotions aside, there’s a damn good story in the mix as well. I enjoyed being let into Emily’s life, especially those moments with Ralph, and felt that the journey she experienced was particularly believable. Walter and Patrick were a breath of fresh air, and I appreciated the ways in which Walter always turned a question in on itself. I also loved Gee, and her persistently optimistic outlook on life. But most surprising, was the degree to which I found myself empathizing with Emily’s mother. Granted, it took some time for me to warm up to her, but about the time she joined Emily in Wales I was as much invested in her story as I was in her daughter’s.
I must admit though, that I found there were a few too may happy endings given the circumstances. It seemed unlikely that there would be so many reunions in light of the times, the distance, and the practice of changing children’s name when they were transported overseas. The reality is that closed and/ or anonymous adoptions can be difficult to track at the best times, let alone across an ocean and when paper files were prone to natural attrition or convenient destruction. Don’t get me wrong, I needed a little hope and happiness after Emily’s rollercoaster ride, but this was perhaps the only element I found a bit stretched.
Regardless, The Forgotten Children is the kind of book that makes you think. It tugs at your heartstrings in every way possible, and has a relatable character for just about everyone. It’s balanced, provocative, and sadly sweet. If you enjoy contemporary fiction with a bit of grit and a healthy does of drama this one will definitely be for you.
Giveaway – Win a signed copy of The Forgotten Children (UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
About The Author
Isabella Muir has been surrounded by books her whole life and – after working for twenty years as a technical editor and having successfully completed her MA in Professional Writing – she was inspired to focus on fiction writing.
As well as her newest title, The Forgotten Children, Isabella is the author of the Sussex Crime Mystery series. These Agatha Christie style stories are set in the sixties and seventies and feature a young librarian and amateur sleuth, Janie Juke, who has a passion for Agatha Christie. All that Janie has learned from her hero, Hercule Poirot, she is able to put into action as she sets off to solve a series of crimes and mysteries.
Aside from books, Isabella has a love of all things caravan-like. She has spent many winters caravanning in Europe and now, together with her husband, she runs a small caravan site in Sussex. They are ably assisted by their much-loved Scottie, Hamish.
Social Media Links –
Many thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to join in this tour and for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.