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Heartache and hardship in London’s East End, from the bestselling author of The Orphans of Halfpenny Street
Call the Midwife meets Dr Barnardo’s in this gritty drama that will appeal to fans of Nadine Dorries and Kitty Neale.
Heartache and hardship in London’s East End, from the bestselling author of The Orphans of Halfpenny Street
'Poverty is a very exacting teacher and I had been taught well' The post-war urban jungle of the Glasgow tenements was the setting for Molly Weir's childhood. From sharing a pull-out bed in her mother's tiny kitchen to running in terror from the fever van, it was an upbringing that was cemented in hardship. Hunger, cold and sickness was an everyday reality and complaining was not an option. Despite the crippling poverty, there was a vivacity to the tenements that kept spirits high. Whether Molly was brushing the hair of her wizened neighbour Mrs MacKay, running to Jimmy's chip shop for a ha'penny of crimps or dancing at the annual fair, there wasn't a moment to spare for self-pity. Molly never let it get her down as she and the other urchins knew how to make do with nothing. And at the centre of her world was her fearsome but loving Grannie, whose tough, independent spirit taught Molly to rise above her pitiful surroundings and achieve her dreams.
When she fell pregnant in London in 1938, Jean knew that she couldn't keep her baby. The unmarried daughter of an elder in the Church of Scotland, she would shame her family if she returned to the north in such a condition. Scared and alone in a city on the brink of war, she begged the Foundling Hospital to give her baby the start in life that she could not. The institution, which had been providing care for deserted infants since the eighteenth century, allowed Jean to nurse her son for nine weeks, leaving her heartbroken when the time came to let him go. But little Tom knew nothing of her love as he grew up in the Foundling Hospital - which, during years of the Second World War, was more like a prison than a children's home. Locked in and subject to public canings and the sadistic whims of the older boys, there was no one to give him a hug, no one to wipe away his tears. A true story of desertion and neglect, this is also a moving account of survival from one of the very last foundlings. It stands as a testament to the love that ultimately led a family back together.

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