I'm always excited to hear that Mary Wood has a new book coming out and even more so when it's the first book of a trilogy. I love meeting new characters and immersing myself in their lives.
In The Orphanage Girls we meet Ruth, Amy and Ellen who all reside in Bethnal Green's infamous orphanage. Life is full of horrors for the girls and Ruth dreams of a better life outside the confines of the dark walls, so she spends a lot of time plotting her escape. However, when her plans finally come to fruition, she quickly realises that she's going to have her work cut out for her if she's going to survive. Luckily with the kindness of strangers, she makes new friends but she can't forget her old ones, Amy and Ellen, who she left behind.
Oh my days, Mary knows how to take her readers on an emotional roller coaster! My heart went out to so many characters in this book for so many different reasons. Aside from Ruth, Rebekah was by far my favourite character as she brought such a huge splash of colour and vibrancy into everything. Her love for Ruth, initally a young and troubled stranger, who arrives unnanounced on her doorstep one day, absolutely shone through. Not only does she provide a home for Ruth, she also shares her vast array of knowledge from her own country in the hope that this will enable Ruth to stand on her own two feet in the future.
This is a story about love, friendship and community but also the darker sides of humanity with things like racism and abuse rearing their ugly heads. That said, these issues are sadly relevant and only add to the sense of realism that comes with this author's outstanding writing.
The Orphanage Girls is another impressive book from one of my all time favourite authors and I'm eagerly awaiting the next instalment so that I can be transported back into their world. A highly recommended, must read book, for all fans of historical fiction and saga's.
With kind thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things and author Mary Wood for my review copy.