29 Jul 2011


Before I go any further I should warn you that the below book blurb may contain spoilers and as such you may wish to skip this and go straight to my thoughts below the image of the book cover.

THE FOUNDLING by Philip Boast *.

Five-year-old Joy Briggs is as valuable a commodity as a silver salver in the child-brothels of Victorian London, and to Jack Riddles, the terrifying burglar who one winter's night breaks into her parents' opulent home, she is a haul well worth having. But in the hue and cry following the robbery Riddles abandons the young girl - deaf and so deemed stupid - in a canal tunnel. To his distress, for the child's silent knowingness has touched him, she is gone on his return. Though haunted by the girl, Riddles believes she must have drowned, and the grim-faced Scotland Yard men who attempt to placate her outraged parents are sure she is lost to the city's vice-infested underworld.

But they are wrong. For Joy has been found by a family of canal folk who bring her up as their own, giving her the kind of open-hearted  love she could never have received from her own parents. But as Joy reaches womanhood it becomes clear that her past cannot let her live in peace and that events she witnessed as a child on that bitter December night mean there are those who want her dead.
...... Inner front cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): Evening was falling, dark with rain, so that the setting sun struck across the docklands and graveyards of Paddington from beneath the clouds, and London was going home.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 417): Everything he had once thought to be of value, everything he had dreamed of, everything he had believed in, was worthless.

KEEP IT OR NOT: I'll be passing this one on. My mam may enjoy it.

A sort of historical crime novel, I found The Foundling at 442 pages to be over long, full of sub-plots that didn't really seem to go anywhere and peopled by characters that I found myself unable to relate to or really care about. That said the last 100 or so pages did reveal something that was totally unexpected ..... however, this, to me, was too little too late and didn't make up for the disappointment I generally felt.

Difficult to read at times due to the dialect that was occasionally  spoken by the characters, I presume this was authentic to the period and the area. If only the author had been so diligent when it came to other aspects of the story which seemed unrealistic and way too 'modern' ...... I'm pretty sure the phrase 'That's my name, don't wear it out' wasn't in common usage in the 1800's and nor was the police force at that time quite so well organised.

Not the best historical crime novel I've ever read and full of what I felt were inaccuracies and inconsistencies, I never-the-less did find certain aspects of The Foundling to be interesting ..... things such as the Contagious Diseases Act which stated that 'by law any woman, any woman at all, can be forcibly taken from the street and inspected for disease'.

* As always I tried to link to some information about the author behind the book but in this instance the author proved rather illusive.

A charity shop buy, the 58th book to be read for my 100+ Reading Challenge.


animewookie said...

I'm glad there were parts that were interesting. At least it wasn't a total wash :D

Misha said...

I love historical crime novels. Too bad this one is disappointing. Modern dialogues for a book set in 1800s can be irking - I faced the same problem with a book recently. This book is nor for me, I think. Great review!

Kelly said...

I'm not sure. The premise sounds quite good, but some of the things you found bothersome would bother me as well.

dr.antony said...

I am still hesitant to read unfamiliar writers. So you are a great help.The book world is full of garbage writers these days.

Arti said...

I too love historical crime novels! Seemed like a good premise with many sub plots, a better writes might have done justice to the storyline in a more polished way...
Any ways Thanks for the fabulous review. Have a nice Sunday:)

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Good thoughts on this one... not sure if it is a fit for me or not.

Suko said...

I don't think this book is my cup of tea, but I enjoyed reading your thoughts on it, Petty.

naida said...

sorry you didn't enjoy it too much. I give you lots of credit for reading the whole 442 pages though.