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|Print List Price:||£8.99|
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The Cruel Mother: A family ghost laid to rest Kindle Edition
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Sian Busby was a wonderful author, who died herself, much too young. Her bravery in exploring her own thoughts about motherhood and how her great-grandmother's secret affected her family is a really honest account and an important social history of working class women and their daily struggles. This is a very moving read and one I recommend highly.
I think that this book has unreached potential and it is a great shame that it didn't become the interesting story that it could have been but rather a mismatch of storytelling and non-fiction social history. The author has included a lot in this book that is very interesting - the lives of the lace making women, statistics about child deaths during the 20th century, a bit of the history of Romford and, to be perfectly honest, a bit of anything that was remotely connected to the story. The result is that this book just doesn't know what it is.
I had expected a detailed investigation into the trial of Beth, the lady in question, with information from the court papers and her medical records. Actually very few facts are included apart from the outline from the local paper and some supposition from what family members can remember being told in the past. In fact much of the book is based on the author imagining what people may have felt about events rather than concrete facts. There may not have been many concrete facts so perhaps a book into the subject wasn't the best plan. Possibly a chapter in a book on social history of the time or history of many women who killed their babies would have been significantly better.
The author seems to have set out on a quest which is all very good. Unfortunately she has found few real facts and been unable to reproduce in the book paper records from the time meaning there is little substance to the main point of the book. Consequently she has padded it out with all sorts of imagined feelings and facts about social events of the time. The actual story got rather lost in all of the padding.
I had imagined a book more along the lines of The Suspicions of Mr Witcher which included court papers, photos, medical records and police reports. This was all missing from this book. At one point the author describes how a person looked in a photograph - why not just reproduce the photo so we can all see what you are talking about.
This is a book that lost its way and become a collection of slightly connected but interesting facts. It really wasn't a book that was easy to read as it kept jumping around between family events and a wider social history. There seemed to be little structure and no clear distinction between extrapolation on the part of the author & known and documented facts.
A book that could have been excellent but just wasn't. A shame.
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