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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 27 April 2012
This is the story of one family over three generations and their varied experience of adoption. Three members of the family are adopted in three different ways over the years and the author (who is writing about her own relatives) describes how the adoptions came to be and how the children fitted into their new family and the community in which they lived.

To tell the story the book follows the history of the family over nearly 100 years and in the process tells us about the social history of Chesterfield (a mining town in Derbyshire) and its people. The family actually live in a rural village outside the town and run a small shop which forms the basis of family life for many years.

This is a fascinating read. The tales of adoption make it very interesting but the author has undertaken some very good research about living conditions at the time which helps the family come to life for the reader by placing their lives in a larger cultural context. She has also included extracts from relevant books and publications which add to the whole story.

Biographies and histories telling the story of a family over a few generations are plentiful and the book does not really tell the reader anything that they probably do not know from similar books but the adoption element adds additional interest. I would have liked the author to examine the adoptions and their implications in slightly more detail than she does, I would also have liked a few more facts and figures about how many of these types of adoptions took place during these periods (although that information may not be available).

I recommend this as an interesting social history of the period. The story is well told and engaging and there is plenty of well researched detail. This book can be compared with Margaret Forster's Hidden Lives: A Family Memoir which I would also recommend to anyone interested in this type of biography/social history.
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on 5 September 2015
What a great piece of social history of Great Britain this book tells.
Although I initially found the book quite hard to get into,once I did I was gripped. I can remember instances of children being adopted in unusual circumstances when I was growing up in the 50s & 60s, but never like the story in this book.
Everyone needs to know their background,medical history being just one reason, but in this story none is forthcoming.
So read the tale of Betsy, Dick and their family & enjoy !
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on 22 May 2015
I was not to sure about this book when i started reading it .It seemed more of an autobiography than a novel but after the first couple of chapters i was hooked.Its mostly about a family who through four generations had adopted children in the family.Based on fact when years ago in the 1930 ,40 and 50 children were considered a liability .
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on 13 April 2018
I bought this for my Mum. She loved it.
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on 19 August 2015
As I have lived through a not inconsiderable part of the years described and researched my family history for the earlier years I found this a true to life and well written story. I wavered between four and five star but finally settled for five.
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on 17 August 2016
One of the most interesting books I've read for quite a while - funny, sad, thought provoking and a very good read.
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on 26 August 2015
This was a very interesting story and informative book. I thought it was quite simply written and an easy read which taught me a lot about the adoption processes of the earky 20th century.

A technical point - it was full of unwanted hyphens, also some grammatical gaffs and spelling mistakes.
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on 20 March 2016
Again there were harrowing scenes and a lot of old wives tales.Sad and humerous in parts. women worked long hours and got little credit from men.Would recommend to people that like to hear what life was like back then
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on 19 September 2017
Really enjoyed this book very interesting as it progressed through the generations.
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on 17 June 2015
Lovely true story about adoption through the late 19th-20th century. A good explanation of how a family came to be with chosen children . Reminds you of who adoption is for and the benefits it can bring.
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