Reading · Writing

Book Review: The Forgotten orphan by Glynis Peters

Genre Historical fiction

Rating: 5/5

Plot:

From the internationally bestselling author of The Secret Orphan.

A world at war
A secret from her past
A chance to be together…

A moving and compelling historical novel about love, second chances and resilience in the darkest of times
Southampton 1940

Abandoned when she was tiny, Maisie Reynolds was separated from her twin brother and forced to grow up in Holly Bush orphanage – a place where she has never known love or kindness.

But with the world at war and Hitler’s devastating bombs coming ever closer, fate has other plans for Maisie and a secret from her past changes everything.

When she meets handsome Canadian paratrooper, Cam, Maisie learns that love might not be lost to her after all – but not before her past life and D Day bring a tragic twist to her happiness.

My verdict: A fab piece of fiction from Glynis Peters! If you love Ellie Dean and Kitty Neale, you’ll love this heartbreaking and equally heartwarming narrative all about family and not just biological family but the family that you find along the way in life. Not only does this deal with the atrocious results of war and PTSD but also adoption, child abuse, child trafficking, first love, poverty and briefly prostitution.

Glynis Peters writing is almost lyrical whilst at the same time being realistic about the time period and it’s social prejudices. I love the mixture of forms that added extra elements to the narrative, for example Maisie’s poetry records her transition from girlhood to womanhood ultimately showing how deeply she feels things and despite not being shown any love or remote kindness in her childhood she is shown to be compassionate and caring especially towards her patients.

The letters between her and Cam show how resilient she is especially when it comes to finding her brother and discovering the nature of her origins. With Cam we see her start to feel secure and how they both learn to trust one another and we start to see them allowing themselves to be vulnerable.

I love how she advocates through Maisie how cathartic writing can be and how it can help you grasp big changes and make sense of a mixture of your feelings by putting them in context and perspective.

Overall, a very romantic and at times gritty love story and even with the secondary characters with their own subplots, it is still an emotional rollercoaster with a heartwarming ending.

Peter’s gratitude for those who served and helped during World War Two shines through in this novel and her passion for the time period is evidently apparent. I applaud her for writing a novel that is in a sense a love story and a characters quest for belonging while not shying away from the gritty and at times horrific consequences of war.

Thank you to Netgalley for helping* me discover this underrated historical fiction author. I was reminded of Sebastien faulks Bird Song when reading especially regarding the emotional toll a war can take on a person. I implore you to read this. It’s like sticky toffee pudding on a cold winters day, a hug within a book.

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