Published October 26th 2020 by Bookouture
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.
I have read many books about life during the Depression, but this one had me quite riled up. How can someone so evil and selfish, be the father of someone so kind, caring, and full of generosity, is what ran through my mind while reading this story. Lauren Greenwood has lived a sheltered life of luxury until the day she met up with some children standing outside of Macy’s in New York. From the moment she saw the disparity of the rich and the poor in New York, she tried to do what she could to help. Unfortunately her father, a rich businessman, banker, mine owner etc. and her fiance who was a partner to her father, did not agree with her actions. When Lauren comes upon “The Home for Unloved Children” she is adamant that she will be able to make the orphanage a home and bring some comfort and care into the lives of the children living there. When Lauren finds herself thrown out of her family home and disinherited (you will find out why when you read the story) she heads to the home and tries to do whatever she can for the children.
This is a story that had my emotions all over the place. There was immense sadness and anger. There was some happiness, but this was not a great time to be alive. People died from lack of sanitation, little to no food and no medicine available when people got sick. Families were thrown off the land that had been in their families for hundreds of years and the rich got richer. Enter a delightful, compassionate, caring, generous woman who wants to help people and you know some people, particularly the children might have a better life. The males in Lauren’s life were despicable and author, Rachel Wesson does a great job of developing these villains. The sad part is that there were people like that who these characters were modeled after. This is a well written story with great characters, many of which will get under your skin. I’m looking forward to the next book in The Orphans of Hope House series.
About the Author: 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!
Having always been a fan of history, Rachel Wesson tries to combine her love of history with a good story. 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.