A Home For Unloved Orphans
Virginia, 1933: Her heart broke as she took in the scene before her. There were too many orphans and not enough beds. The rags they wore barely covered them and they hadn’t eaten in days. How could anyone let innocent children live like this? She picked up a tiny girl who’d cried as she moved past her cot. “I’ll be back soon, little one.”
Never in a million years did Lauren Greenwood think she would be destitute and without a penny to her name. But when her father mercilessly disowns her in the depths of winter, that is her fate. Now homeless, Lauren finds America in the devastating grip of the Great Depression––children run wild in the icy streets, endless queues for soup kitchens line frosty sidewalks, and desperation hangs in the air.
All alone in the world, Lauren finds an orphanage in the sprawling fields of the Virginia countryside, surrounded by snow-topped mountains and magnificent fir trees––a safe haven for those who have nowhere to go. But she is appalled to find children living in shocking conditions, huddled together for warmth, their hunger keeping them awake at night as the temperature plunges. The home for unloved orphans is on the brink of closure and the helpless innocents may lose the roof over their heads…
Lauren, heartbroken by the rejection of her own father, vows to provide these poor orphans with the love she never received. With Christmas just around the corner, she refuses to see them cast out onto the street, where they will not survive. When she sees an advertisement in the local newspaper, with an anonymous benefactor donating money to families crippled by the Depression, it could be the answer to her prayers.
Can Lauren save these children who have been rejected by the world? Or in a time of so much suffering, is there simply no hope?
A heartbreaking yet hopeful tale about a brave young woman who gives up everything to help unloved children who have nothing. Fans of Before We Were Yours, The Orphan Train and Diney Costeloe will adore this poignant historical novel, which shows that a little bit of kindness can go a long way.
The book had me captivated from the start. It moved me deeply and I was inspired by the kindness of the heroine and many others. A Home For Unloved Orphans tugged at my heartstrings and yet made me smile at times.
There are several themes that come through. The exploitation of children and adults in the mines by rich mine owners who cared nothing for the conditions they lived and worked in. How the women of Lauren’s time and strata of society were mere pawns for men came through very strongly too. Then there’s the importance of community taking care of its most vulnerable children.
The character development is so well done there were so many fine characters in the book. When a rich debutante like Lauren, reaches out to two little children standing outside Macy’s, I knew right away she was the kind of heroine I was going to love! Admittedly, Lauren is naive about many things and sometimes plunges headlong into things, making promises she cannot keep and messing up situations. But she has a heart of gold and is ready to use all means in her power to help the needy. She is open to learning and is a good sport and takes the teasing about her lack of housekeeping skills very well. Lauren doesn’t give up easily and gives up all the trappings of wealth and privilege she has to look after the orphans.
I’m certainly looking forward to read the next book in this series to discover what happens next to our lovely heroine and the other characters.
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Meet The Author
Having always been a fan of history, Rachel Wesson tries to combine her love of history with a good story.
Rachel was born in Kilkenny, Ireland but considers herself to be from the capital, Dublin, as that’s where she spent most of her life. Every Saturday Rachel’s father took her and her two sisters to the library, and to get ice-cream after, to give their mother a break. It took a long time for Rachel’s sisters to forgive her for the hours she spent choosing her books!
Rachel drove everyone nuts growing up, asking questions about what they did during the War or what side they were on in the 1916 rising etc… Finally, her Granny told her to write her stories down so people would get the pleasure of reading them. In fact, what Granny meant was everyone would get some peace while Rachel was busy writing!
When not writing, or annoying relatives, Rachel was immersed in books. Her report cards from school commented on her love of reading especially when she should have been learning. Seems you can’t read Great Expectations in Maths…
Later in life, after a doomed love affair and an unpleasant bank raid during which she defended herself with a tea tray, she headed to London for a couple of years. (There is a reason she doesn’t write romance!). She never intended staying but a chance meeting with the man of her dreams put paid to any return to Ireland. Having spent most of her career in the City, she decided something was missing. So she packed in the job and started writing. Thanks to her amazing readers, that writing turned into a career far more exciting and rewarding than any other.
Rachel lives in Surrey with her husband and three children, two boys and a girl. When not reading, writing or watching films for ‘research’ purposes, Rachel likes to hang out with her family. She also travels regularly back home – in fact she should have shares in BA and Aerlingus.
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I received an ARC of the book from the publisher, Bookouture, through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.