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on 19 February 2013
Back in the 1960s unmarried mothers were treated as lepers. Narrator Angela Brown is a teenager who became pregnant after a one-night-stand and is forced to give birth in the Baby Laundry of the title. This is a convent run by nuns where girls like Angela are humiliated for their 'sin' and pressed into shocking slave labour to atone.

The heartache Angela experiences as she's made to give up her infant son Paul for adoption is unforgettable. The zeitgeist and atmosphere of the 1960s, the Convent and the fearsome nuns are brought superbly to life across the decades.

I have one issue, not really criticism, about the title and the front cover illustration which give the impression that the book is entirely or mostly set in this institution - which is not the case. The second half of the book explores how Angela copes with the rest of her life and her dreadful secret. A fine read, don't mistake me - but I did feel somewhat misled. I also wasn't happy with the ghost-writer's narrative voice, which sometimes failed to sound like a scared teenage girl.

But overall this is a great book which will resonate for a long time after the reader has put it down. Important as a record of social history too.
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on 20 March 2017
This was a good book on a difficult subject - I was particularly interested as I have been trying to find one of the mothers who, I reckon, was there at the same time, her baby being born in the August. As she is an Australian lady I have drawn blank. I know how heart-breaking the parting from their babies at the Crusade of Rescue was for them. I had no idea how stark the Mother and Baby Home was - but it was a different age. Angela was able to go back to her family, but my Australian lady was far away from home - how did she fare? One imagined the Crusade made sure they were OK - but from the book It seems they walked out of the Charles Square building - where to? If, by chance, she actually reads this, your baby son had a good home and has really made something of his life, but he cannot bear to read this book. Thank you Angela - I knew all the places in the book. It answered many previously in-answered questions.
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on 15 December 2014
I very much enjoyed this book. I had wanted it for a while and had to wait for it to become reasonably priced! I read it non-stop and struggled to let 'ordinary life' in.
The book is factual with the writer being the main character. It tells of a time, not so long ago, when unmarried Mothers were spurned by society. A lot of those women ended up giving birth in religious institutions such as this one, giving up hope of ever seeing their babies again.
Well-written and balanced, I was pleased with the outcome and the honesty of the author as far as trying to find the child she had to give up.
Anyone reading it because they are either 'the child' or 'the mother' will gain useful insight into possible pitfalls which could befall........
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on 9 July 2017
What a era to live in ,having a baby and not being married ,shut in a unmarried mothers home treated like a slave ,the poor babies shut in the room on their own not allowed any loves or cuddles ,fed at set times .Thank heavens those days are gone how the nuns could say they worked for God .So pleased she had a happy marriage and had her own child so moving when telling her past events I wept Im happy it turned out good .
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on 27 April 2014
How society has changed since the 1960's and before.
The story is set in the 1960-1970 when young unmarried girls gave up there jobs if they had one and went away to stay with distant relatives after becoming pregnant. For the last month or two they went into unmarried mothers 'homes' often run by th Catholic church to have there baby only to lose them later to adoption. This was forced on them by there families and society who could not accept what these 'sluts' had done.
This story goes from a one night stand through to the adoption and beyond.
A great story and if you are into how society treated unmarried mothers even in the last century and how quickly perceptions of these girls changed and the effect on the mother then read this book it brings all these to life.
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on 6 September 2013
I couldn't put this book down. It does go to show that the early 1960s were not always "the good old days" as some like to think.

I can hardly believe how recently this was still going on. Until reading some of these reviews I had no idea that it continued to happen right up until the 1980s.

Whilst today's system does have its foibles, I must say that I am glad unmarried mothers are no longer treated so barbarically. It would be interesting to know whether or not any of the nuns who used to run this god-foresaken convent are aware of the existence of this book, or of some of the newspaper articles which have accompanied its publication. If it only closed to unmarried mums in the early 1980s then there could easily be a few of them still living. I wonder how they can live with themselves knowing now how many lives were ruined by their actions. All in the name of "Christianity" too.

Society has moved on, but I salute the bravery of Angela and of others like her.
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on 17 March 2014
Having grown up in a 'good catholic home' everything about the story of Angela's early days is totally credible. My older sister was regularly threatened with being 'sent to the nuns' if my mother thought she was becoming too keen on a boy however my sister would have also been sent to Ireland where things were undoubtedly much worse. Having been in part educated by the nuns the only thing I would say was that the portrayal of them in the book was not cruel enough. I'd been in many of the places mentioned in the course of my life, St Charles Square, the Holiday Inn in Brentwood, it was so easy to visualise the places. I'm delighted that things are working out for Angela and would like to wish her the very best of luck. The opportunity you have doesn't come to everyone.
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on 5 May 2012
This book really got to me. The way unmarried pregnant girls were treated in the 60s was shocking. I found the part where her son finds her particularly poignant and moving. An excellent book which certainly moved me. Read it!
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on 13 December 2014
I've read so many fictional stories about the treatment in the past of unmarried mothers, so when you read another, even though you are told it's true, you think to yourself 'here we go again, another unbelievable horror story with a sad ending'. But, even though there are very sad moments in Angela's story, and some of it is very hard to read because of what you know is coming, you hope against hope that the story is not all about loss and that there is some joy in the end. Thank goodness there is, although there are some gliches on the way. An interesting and good read, I recommend this book.
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on 30 October 2017
I loved this book. I couldn’t put it down. I live in the village where Angela was treated badly in the bakers. I know the hospital where her baby was born. It was a heartbreaking story but with a happy ending. The nuns were so cruel and those poor babies being fed at set times, not being loved and going hungry.
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