Mandie’s on a take over this week and today she has a review of The Little Orphan Girl by Sandy Taylor. Thanks to Noelle of Bookouture for including us in the tour and for providing the advance copy for review. Here is what it’s all about:
About the Book
Ireland, 1901: The workhouse gates clanged shut behind us, as me and the mammy walked down the hill towards the town. I was six years old and leaving the only home I had ever known…
When Cissy Ryan’s real mother comes to claim her from the workhouse, it’s not how she imagined. Her family’s tumbledown cottage has ice on the inside of its windows and is in an isolated, poverty-stricken village in the muddy Irish countryside. But when Cissy is allowed to help neighbour Colm Doyle and his horse named Blue on their milk round one morning, Cissy starts to feel as though friendship could get her through anything.
It’s Colm who looks in on Cissy’s grandfather when she starts at the village school, and Colm who tells her to hold her chin high when she interviews for a position at the grand Bretton House. But in the vast mansion with its shining floors and sweeping staircase, it’s Master Peter Bretton who captures Cissy’s heart with his dark curls and easy laugh.
As Cissy blossoms from a skinny orphan into a confident young girl, Colm tells her she’s as good as anyone and she begins to believe anything is possible. But not everyone with a kind smile has a kind heart, and Cissy doesn’t know that further sorrow lies in store for her.
When Cissy finds herself desperate, alone, and faced with a devastating choice, can she find the strength to survive?
Set in the early 1900’s in Ireland and told through the eyes of Cissy Ryan, the little orphan girl in the title. We follow her life from when she is reunited with her mother and leaves the workhouse, to her life in service and her eventual marriage to her childhood friend Colm.
Despite her terrible start in life Cissy is determined to see everyone and everything in a positive light. She is naturally inquisitive and manages to make the best of what life can give her even when she finds herself with a bit of a dilemma on how to handle a situation she finds herself in.
I loved the relationship that developed between Cissy and her Grandfather. Initially he wanted nothing to do with her as he was ashamed of the circumstances of her birth, but over time he grew to genuinely care for her as her constant chatter and refusal to let his bad temper intimidate her wore him down. She refused to see her time in the workhouse as a bad thing and remained very loyal to her friend Nora from her time in there and made every effort to remain in contact with her, often going on the milk run with Colm just so she could visit.
Cissy had always believed herself to be an orphan so finding that she had a mother that loved her did come as a bit of a surprise but as is the way with most 5yr olds she accepted what she was told and adapted to her change in circumstances. Her love for her mother and her determination not to disappoint her often formed part of the decisions she made in her life.
I am a huge fan of history and love reading historical fiction where I can immerse myself in a different time and place, discovering how people lived in the past and the challenges they faced. The Little Orphan Girl didn’t disappoint me as I devoured the whole book in a day. Sandy Taylor managed to weave a heart-warming story of a family who managed to overcome the mistakes of the past to find both peace and happiness and I couldn’t help but love both the characters and the setting. This is the first book I have read by this author and I have to say that I am kicking myself, wondering how I have not discovered her before and realising my TBR list has just got that little bit longer.
You can find a copy of the book at the following retailers:
About the author
Sandy Taylor grew up on a council estate near Brighton. There were no books in the house, so Sandy’s love of the written word was nurtured in the little local library. Leaving school at fifteen, Sandy worked in a series of factories before landing a job at Butlins in Minehead. This career change led her to becoming a singer, a stand-up comic and eventually a playwright and novelist.
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