The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames: A Foundling's Story (Paperback)
  • The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames: A Foundling's Story (Paperback)
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The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames: A Foundling's Story (Paperback)

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£9.99
Paperback 320 Pages / Published: 03/02/2022
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Growing up with a volatile and obsessive mother, Justine Thompson Cowan couldn't get far enough away. It was only after her mother died that she found herself pulling at the threads of a story half-told - her mother's upbringing as a foundling in the famous British institution. Haunted by this secret history, Justine travelled across the sea and deep into the past to discover the girl her mother once was.

Here, with the vividness of a true storyteller, she pieces together her mother's childhood alongside the history of the Foundling Hospital: from its idealistic beginnings in the 18th century, famous patrons from Handel to Dickens, its approach to childcare and teaching, and how it survived the Blitz only to close after the Second World War.

This was the environment that shaped a young girl then known as Dorothy Soames, who was left behind by a mother forced by stigma and shame to give up her child; who withstood years of physical and emotional abuse, dreaming of escape as German bombers circled the skies, unaware all along that her own mother was fighting to get her back.

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
ISBN: 9780349013190
Number of pages: 320
Dimensions: 198 x 126 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Page-turning and profoundly moving. Her meticulous research has uncovered a strand of British history and she brings it sharply and vividly to life through her personal quest. * Virginia Nicholson *
The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames is the gripping true story of a daughter's quest to find the truth about her mother's origins-and, in the process, come to terms with her own life and choices. As she uncovers an increasingly dramatic tale of abuse, escape, and recovery, Justine Cowan must grapple with her complex feelings about this woman who, as she comes to learn, never had a real childhood of her own. A riveting, heartbreaking, and ultimately healing journey of discovery * Christina Baker Kline, author of #1 New York Times bestseller Orphan Train *
Part investigative journalism, part emotional excavation, this breathtaking and heartbreaking book tells the story of a daughter's need to understand her difficult mother. An unexpected and original addition to the mother/daughter memoir oeuvre, The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames is both moving and artful, rewarding its readers page after page * Adrienne Brodeur, bestselling author of Wild Game: My Mother, Her Secret and Me *
Cowan debuts with an impressive memoir about the unearthing of her deceased mother's secret past and a generations-long cycle of family trauma. This frank account of a real-life Dickensian dystopia captivates at every turn * Publishers Weekly *
Well-researched and highly personal, the book presents a fascinating narrative tapestry that both informs and moves. A candidly illuminating debut memoir * Kirkus Reviews *
An extraordinary memoir . . . Although telling a deeply personal story, Cowan painstakingly gathers her material as if assembling testimony for a day in court. She is also admirably honest about her fraught relationship with her mother . . . The result is this fascinating, moving book; part history of the Foundling Hospital and the development of child psychology, part Cowan's own story, and part that of Dorothy Soames (the name Cowan's mother was given at the hospital) -- Lucy Scholes * Daily Telegraph *

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