Saturday 12 October 2019

Hist Fic Saturday ~ Daughters of Liverpool by Kate Eastham

On Hist Fic Saturday

Let's go back to... Liverpool 1871

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Penguin Books
August 2019
Nursing #3

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

Shrouded in secrecy Alice Sampson gives birth to a beautiful baby girl.

But the former nurse's happiness is blighted by the knowledge that as a penniless, unwed mother, her future, and that of her child, can only be one of shame and disgrace.

Then a knock at the door brings a miracle: she is invited to return to the Liverpool Royal Infirmary and her beloved ward.

With the help of her friends and the welcome attentions of Reverend Seed, the hospital Chaplain, Alice slowly starts to rebuild her life.

But her hopes are shattered when her baby's father unexpectedly shows up to claim the child he knew nothing about.

Suddenly Alice is in danger of losing her baby, her position and her whole future . . .

What did I think about it..

Victorian Liverpool was a dangerous place to be for working girls and no woman was entirely safe from being picked up in the purge which raged through the city in the hopes of cleaning up the more salubrious areas.  Alice Sampson works as a housemaid in one of the brothels, quietly bringing up her baby girl, but when she gets caught up in the city's purge on prostitution, Alice realises that she must look to her own safety and that of her baby girl. Returning to her work as a trainee nurse at Liverpool Royal Infirmary opens up a whole new life for Alice, but her happiness it seems comes at a price.

This is now the third book in this Nursing series of books which follows the fortunes of a group of young women who came to the city in order to train as Nightingale nurses. This third book continues the nursing theme with a compassionate look at the struggles of being an unmarried mother and of the difficulty of finding a place in a society which is far from generous to working women. Even though I haven't read the first two books in the series I picked up the story very easily and those characters who, I think, have been consistent throughout all of the books begin to feel familiar. I was quickly interested in the way the story evolved. 

The author brings Victorian Liverpool alive in the imagination especially the difficulties of being a single woman. The story highlights the wider social issues, particularly about the rights for women and mentions the pioneer, Josephine Butler, who did so much to fight against the violation of women in a society which viewed all working women as being just one short step away from prostitution.

Alice's emotional journey as young unmarried mother, her endeavour to become a good nurse, and the difficulties she faces in her personal life make this a warm and compassionate story.

About the Author

Kate Eastham trained as a nurse and midwife on the Nightingale wards of Preston Royal Infirmary. She has well over thirty years of experience working in hospital, residential and hospice care. Born and bred in Lancashire, she is married with three grown-up children and one grandchild. Always reading, she went on to gain a degree in English Literature and was inspired to write after researching the history of nursing and her own family history, with its roots in Liverpool, northern mill towns and rural Lancashire.

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