Saturday 12 March 2022

๐Ÿ“– Hist Fic Saturday ~ The Forgotten Sister by Judy Summers

On Hist Fic Saturday

Let's go back to ....Victorian  Liverpool

Welbeck Publishing Group
31 March 2022

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

To save her family, she had to leave them behind. 

Liverpool, 1848, Meg Shaw is the middle child of eight siblings, not quite old enough to bring in a wage to help her struggling family, but not young enough to be a babe to be cared for. When the family realise they can’t feed all the children, Meg makes a choice. She volunteers to go to the workhouse for one season, and she’ll take her little sister Rosie with her. But the moment they enter the workhouse, Meg and Rosie are separated. 

Abandoned and alone, Meg is determined to make it through, and soon finds herself surrounded by a new family of vulnerable girls in need of protection and love. Meg does all she can for her new sisters, but when a season passes and no one comes for her or Rosie, can she find a way to keep them all safe? Historian Judy Summers explores an area of history in which women have been routinely disregarded, offering a voice to the 19th Century working-class female. 

Through The Forgotten Sister, Summers depicts a thriving, multi-cultural city in Liverpool as well as portraying the reality of possibilities that working-class women had in order to improve their lives. The Forgotten Sister is a heart-breaking and heart-warming story which offers an insight into an aspect of female British history that has for so long been overlooked.

๐Ÿ“– My Review ...

The story gets off to a sad start for this Liverpool family who are struggling to survive on the pitiful wages which the two eldest children manage to hide away from their no'er do well father. John Shaw seems intent on drinking himself to oblivion rather than feed his family, so with no other choice, Meg and her younger sister, Rosie, are sent to the workhouse where they experience deprivation of a different kind.

Meg Shaw is a feisty heroine who does everything she can to protect her younger sister but the work house is a place where neither hope nor charity flourishes. When Meg and Rosie are separated, it makes Meg even more determined to do what she can to help those unfortunates who aren't able to look out for themselves. Opportunities to better yourself in working class Liverpool are scarce but with grit and determination Meg is given the chance to turn her life around, and it is this fight for survival which gives the book its heart and soul.

Bringing Victorian Liverpool to life, with all of its working class poverty and hardship, is what this author has done so well. The story has an authenticity which evokes a bygone era when the chasm between the rich and poor, the good and the bad, stretched ever wider, and survival really did mean keeping your wits about you at all times. 

The Forgotten Sister gets this new historical series off to a fine start and I am sure we will get to know more about the resilience of the Shaw family as the series progresses.

Best Read with...a slice of cold meat pie 

About the Author

Judy Summers is an avid reader, historian and mother of three. Her forebears - some of whom probably entered England via Liverpool in the Victorian era - were miners, labourers and domestic servants. She finds these lives far more interesting than those of the upper classes. Judy was inspired to write The Forgotten Sister when she came across a copy of Rudolph Ackermann’s Panoramic View of Liverpool from 1847 and wondered, who were the everyday people living amongst these landmarks?

Twitter @JudySummersAuth #TheForgottenSister


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