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Listen to the Child Paperback – 26 Oct 2016
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Book club comments: "I was drawn in straight away." "I cared so much about what happened to these children." "I knew nothing about this and loved how it told both sides."
About the Author
Elizabeth Howard is a former history teacher. This is her first novel.
Top Customer Reviews
Starting in London's overcrowded East End in 1875, Elizabeth Howard describes vividly the dire conditions in which the children's families struggle to survive. The opportunity to send a child to Canada, which Christian charity workers proclaimed to be the land of plentiful, "the paradise", is a tempting opportunity to give children a chance at a future. But as the story follows the children's journey to Canada and their dispersal among Canadian families, the reality is often much harsher.
Historical fiction is a genre that I only pick up occasionally, but I was really intrigued by the book's premise because I didn't know the first thing about this very extensive program. The book is well written and seems very well researched (I actually looked up more information about the Home Children after reading this). It was fascinating reading, but I wouldn't go as far as saying that I 'enjoyed' it because I found the subject matter incredibly sad. There's little humour in this. I also really disliked Constance, a young charity worker, who prepares and accompanies the children to Canada. Her attitude and reasoning were infuriating at times.
However, Elizabeth Howard portrayed all the characters, including the children, in a very credible manner. Their behaviour and their thoughts were completely believable. It took a little while to get fully invested, as there was a lot of switching about at the beginning when the characters were introduced. Once the small group of children was established, it turned into a heart-wrenching story as it became clear that the advice to 'Listen to the Child' was unfortunately not often followed.
Well worth reading, but keep tissues close by.
What did I think of this Novel? To be honest I didn’t know how I would fare with such a miserable subject but I have to say I really enjoyed it and I have found all the details of Victorian inner city London, fascinating.
Elizabeth Howard is very good at invoking a sense of place and time and this carried right throughout the book.
I was drawn in by the variety of characters and their stories and their hopes that should in a fair world have been fulfilled but in many cases were not. It also showed us that not all things done in the name of religion are good
If you are interested in history of everyday folk or just want a gripping read, try
‘Listen to the Child.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
It's 1875 and London's East End hurls with youngsters who fill in as whores, peddlers, poor people and cheats. Constance saves the greatest number of as she can, yet there is just so much she and others can do. At that point an answer is offered that sounds culminate – Canada, with its wide green fields, has ranchers who require help, while their spouses need housemaids. Delivering youngsters to this place that is known for bounty offers them a future a long way from the enticements of London's stuffed lanes. Dowager Mary Trupper is attentive, yet the guarantee of good nourishment and an instruction for her kids is solid. Are the fields green? Is the sustenance copious? For a few, yes. For others, the unforgiving winters mirror the welcome.
This is a magnificently composed well recounted tale around a couple of English vagrants migration to Canada in the late 1800's. The book is extraordinarily engaging as one can nearly notice the lanes and feel the hard scrabble life of London amid that day and age and the considerable differentiation that agrarian Canada was to that. The characters are exceptionally very much characterized particularly the kids named Beryl and Lawrence and also their righteous grown-up impermanent guardian, Constance.
The hardships the greater part of the vagrants are made to persist are painful to the point that they turned out to be excessively to hold up under now and again.
This is a flat out tragic story of how shocking these kids were once treated in first world nations which are something that can even now occur in our reality however in many ranges not to this degree. Tragically, it depends on genuine occasions and still is an issue which can be found the world over today in undeveloped nations.
Elizabeth Howard depicted every one of the characters, including the youngsters, in an exceptionally valid way. Their conduct and their musings were totally acceptable. It took a short time to get completely contributed, as there was a great deal of exchanging about toward the starting when the characters were presented.
I 'm not certain if you could call this a flaw, but the book is heartbreakingly sad. The trials and tribulations all of the orphans are made to endure are so painful that they became too much to bear at times. Maybe that is accurate historically, so the author deserves credit for getting it so right, but it was still difficult to read and made me finish the book quickly.
Therefore, if you like historical novels, are a fan of Oliver Twist or My Antonia,are interested in delving into the worlds of the United Kingdom and Canada in the late 1880s you may like this book. But, be prepared you are in for a sad and difficult journey.
The book follows Constance who is a young woman who is spending her life trying to help these children. The Home of Industry which is the orphanage that she works for plans to send a large group of these children, 100 to be exact, to Canada where they've been promised new lives.
Sounds good, only, the lives they found themselves in were split between families who were trying to help them or those who put the children into even worse situations.
This is an absolute heart-wrenching tale of how horrible these children were once treated in first world countries which are something that can still happen in our world though in most areas not to this extent. Sadly, it is based on true events and still is a problem which can be found around the world today in undeveloped countries.