Looking for Jamie
By Angela Rigley
`Looking for Jamie' is a gripping period story about a young boy, separated from his mother by a wicked quirk of fate. He might have succumbed, alone in the world, but against all the odds he survives, as a foundling taken into the household of a big estate. Rescue happens in the nick of time, as the child has already suffered memory loss. All he can remember is his name. For lovers of nineteenth century life, written by a modern hand, this has tremendous appeal.
The story is absorbing and moves along at a fast pace. You are whisked back in time to the grim realities of a bygone age. It is all the more engaging because of the desperate plight of Tillie, the boy's mother, imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread. You wonder if they will ever be reunited.
Intended primarily for the women's historical novel market, this story will also strike a cord with fathers who have sons of their own, growing up in an uncertain world.
Many of us are familiar with the trials and tribulations of Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist and David Copperfield. Young boys caught up in a strange, hostile world they know nothing about and who are without parents to guide them on their way. Jamie is another such lost soul.
The writing is crisp and sharp with many memorable passages. Early on in the tale: David, Master of the Grange, where the boy is now sheltered, is trying to come to terms with the loss of his own son. The author takes you into this man's home and with one or two brief lines, paints a striking picture of a father's troubled mind: The golden liquid shimmered in the sunlight as he twisted the glass between his shaking fingers.
The characters are well drawn and clever plotting keeps drawing you in. But it is not all doom and gloom as the Master takes to Jamie and begins to see him as a replacement for his own son. This leads the reader to wonder what the outcome will be as Jamie's mother, tries to track him down. Tillie and the friends she makes on her journey are constantly looking for Jamie.