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Trio by [Staincliffe, Cath]
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Trio Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Review

‘Poignant and true to life. I couldn't put it down; I really wanted to know what happened to the characters’ -- Maureen Crank MBE, Chief Executive and founder member of After Adoption

‘Staincliffe turns part Marge Piercy, part Rosamunde Pilcher … a captivating story filled with tears, tragedy, humour, and happiness’ -- Booklist

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

‘Stop your noise,’ the nurse said. ‘Remember your dignity.’
She felt like laughing at the reprimand. Dignity? How could this ever be dignified. Lying here with her legs apart and everything leaking and she’d even dirtied the bed. She had been mortified, the smell alerting her to what she’d done. She felt nothing beyond the fist of pain that kept squeezing at her, pulling at her insides, sticking its nails like knives into her spine and bruising her bowels. Making her scream to her God, to her mother. Why have you abandoned me?

The baby inched a little further down the birth canal with the next contraction. One fist was pressed between shoulder and ear, the other tucked under the chin. The ripples of muscle shifted the baby, twisting it a little, squeezing the head, which was cone-shaped from the pressure and from the last couple of weeks spent lodged tight in the cup of bones. As it moved forward the plates of the baby’s skull slid together, reducing the circumference. The baby could still hear the familiar drumbeat that had marked its time in the womb and feel the vibrations that rocked its world. Though the sloshing and roaring of the placenta was more distant now and there were new sounds, fast and high-pitched, that quickened the baby’s heartbeat.

‘Give a good push,’ the nurse said. ‘Push from your bottom.’
She didn’t want to push. She wanted to die instead. To be anywhere or nowhere. Not to be here. If she pushed she would split wide open, bleed to death. She’d rather die before the push than after it. Spare herself more agony. The ring of pain sickened her and she tried to swallow.
‘No,’ she managed.
The nurse tutted at her loudly, cast a look of contempt.
‘It hurts,’ she whimpered. Wanting her mother, wanting a cuddle, someone to gather her close and make it all better.
‘You should have thought of that, shouldn’t you?’ The nurse snapped. ‘I’ve other girls to see to. I can’t spend all night with you. The baby won’t be born by itself you’ll have to push.’
She lay back as the contraction faded, weak, her limbs trembling, eyes closed.
‘I’ll be back in a few minutes. You’re not the only one having a baby, you know. All that fuss.’
She heard the door close. Gave in to sudden hot tears.
…………

It came again, before she was ready – faster, wilder. She made the noise in her throat, shifted her knees a little further apart, gripped the sheet and wound it tight in her hands. Stretching wider, feeling her mouth stretching too to let the howling out. Feeling the hard, round, solid lump forced through her vagina, gristle against gristle, bone on bone. A stabbing, stinging pain in the midst of it all.

As the baby’s head was born, the upper torso swiveled so that one shoulder presented itself for the next push.

She lowered her head to rest between her arms on the bed. She gazed back but could not see anything beyond the swell of her belly and behind that her knees. Summoning all her strength she pushed herself back up, kneeled higher, steadying herself with one arm she reached back between her legs with the other hand. She felt a thrill of shock as she felt the hot, slippery hair of the baby’s head, the scalp loose and wrinkled under her fingers.
‘Oh God,’ she gasped. ‘Oh, God.’
The next contraction rolled in. She shuffled forward before it built, and clutched at the metal bed frame for leverage. Pushing it to counteract the force. She felt the new friction of the mass forcing its way from her, stretching her body, bursting her open.
The roar she made grew louder and culminated in a gasp as the weight slithered from her with a sucking sound. She knelt, her muscles twitching with spasms, and looked beneath the bridge of her body to where the baby lay. A coil of life, shock of black hair, red skin streaked white, as though it had been dipped in dripping, eyes, nose, mouth. One fist tucked under an ear, as if it was considering something. The other fist moving, waving to and fro. Long, curving cord like something from the abattoir, snaking from its belly.
She looked at the baby.
The baby looked back.
The door swung open.
‘Lie down,’ barked the nurse, ‘you’ll fall, you silly . . .’ She faltered as she neared the bed and saw the infant. ‘You could have crushed it,’ she scolded. ‘What on earth were you thinking of? Turn this way, carefully.’ She issued instructions until the woman was lying on her back again. She raised the baby and slapped it on the bottom. A thin wail cut the air. The woman wanted to cry too. The nurse proceeded to cut and clamp the umbilical cord, wipe the mucus from the baby’s face and wrap the baby in a cloth.
A second nurse came in. A younger one, who had been more sympathetic when she had been admitted. She looked at the baby. ‘A girl,’ she observed. ‘Bless her. Have you got a name?’
‘She’s for adoption,’ the other interrupted.
‘Can I see her?’ the mother asked.
‘You’re not finished yet. You’ve still to deliver the afterbirth. Then you’ll need examining and see if there’s any stitches required. You probably tore yourself leaping around on the bed like that. You’ll need cleaning up and Baby needs to be checked and weighed. Sister will take her to the nursery.’
‘I have a shawl,’ she said, hating the tears in her voice.
‘I’ll take it with her, shall I?’ The younger nurse offered. The simple kindness robbed her of speech. She nodded quickly.
…….
A ring of grief swelling in her throat, choking her. Theresa, she thought, remembering the black pools of the baby’s eyes. That’s her name, Theresa . . .


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 752 KB
  • Print Length: 313 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0069PGNLU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #72,149 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I read this book over two days and couldn't put it down. It is a lovely read although moving at times and made me cry at the end. In a way it is like 3 stories as you move between the different families yet all the main stories begin and end together. Any book set in Manchester has extra relevance for me and that is one of the things I enjoy about Cath Staincliffe's book. Even when I finished the book I still keep thinking about the stories which feel very real. I would highly recommend this book.
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By C. Bannister TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Feb. 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Cath Staincliffe decided to write about adoption after tracing her Irish birth-parents and learning that she had 7 living siblings. The result is Trio, a book that explores the many aspects of adoption. In the story Joan, Megan and Caroline share the same room at St Ann's Home for Unmarried Mothers in Manchester, each one giving birth to a baby girl on the same May day.

Trio covers so many of the aspects of adoption to the thoughts of the young mothers who left the home without their babies, the lives they lived bearing the consequences; the lives of the women who adopted the babies, their backgrounds and the bonds formed with the babies and the lives of those babies who grew up and wondered what their origins were.

The book is not sentimental but it is clearly written with a lot of empathy for all concerned. My only complaint was that to fit everything in, essentially nine women's unique stories meant there were big jumps in time which could be a bit distracting.
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Format: Paperback
This is a deep and feeling novel of three daughters born to mothers who where unable to keep them in a society different from today (early sixties). The stories of the three girls and both set of natural mothers and families are interesting and easy to follow. It covers a range of issues of having children and the effects of relationships of all involved. A very good human interest read. Would recommend.
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By PH on 17 April 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
OK - firstly, this is the first review I have ever written. Secondly, when Cath Staincliffe set out writing this book she must have had me and my generation in mind - though maybe not my gender. (I am a male, fast approaching 60.)
My own mother was an illegitimate child given up, I suspect reluctantly, to another family to avoid shame for one and provide joy for another. And, of course, I lived through the late fifties and sixties and so this carefully set trio of tales just resonates so well. Having said all that, my daughter is going to read it and I know she will love it too.

I don't want to say much about the story-lines, but I will say I was gripped throughout, falling in deep empathetic love with each of the far from perfect central characters. As I turned the final pages I kept sobbing, sometimes with sheer joy and relief and sometimes with deep sorrow. When I thought I was all racked out of tears the next turn of a page would provide a fresh irony or resolution that set me off again. Staincliffe's powers of observation are acute and provide such realism. If read only as an historical account it is fascinating. If you let go and immerse yourself (and why else do we read novels?) you will sink and rise and be ultimately bouyed.
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I have never read any book about adoption and the effects upon the lives of those affected by this, my curiosity was aroused for two reasons, first I have an acquaintance who was adopted as a baby and who has spent their entire life feeling rejected and insecure, comments made by them are accurately described in this book. The second reason was having read other Cath Staincliffe books this appeared to be departure from the blue murder format which I have to say I enjoyed having been a fan of the t.v series.
I was impressed by the complete change of subject matter and her ability to get under the skin of the adoptees and how the experience affected different people manifested in their behaviour and life choices. Also chilling description of the destructive influence of religion upon people, churches made the rules for others to live by with cruel and disastrous results.
At times this book was heartbreaking at other times uplifting. The author's own experience of adoption has clearly had an impact and one wonders whether this book has been a way of exploring the issues and making sense of her own situation. Adoption works for some but not for others and society needs to think very carefully before assuming that this is the answer for all children.
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The book is set in Manchester in the 1960's and follows the lives of three young girls who meet at a Home for unmarried mothers. The book tells the story of the girls and their adopted babies. Beautifully written, couldn't put the book down.
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I got involved with the characters from the start and cared about them. Sometimes it was frustrating to move from one to another just when you were engrossed in their story. It got me thinking a lot about how we bring up children. My mother has just died, as an old lady. I know what she meant to me and these stories helped me to explore that. Cath writes very sparingly but she builds a picture very easily. I like her descriptions. She understands people well. I would have preferred chapters. They give a rise and fall to the reading and help me to put it down and get to sleep.
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