The Orphan House written by Ann Bennett, publisher Bookouture, is available NOW in ebook, audiobook and paperback format.
As she looks at the baby wriggling in her father’s arms, a bolt of recognition goes through her and she takes a step back. And it’s in that moment that she begins to protect her father’s secrets.
1934, Weirfield-on-Thames. Connie Burroughs loves living in the orphanage that her father runs. Exploring its nooks and crannies with her sister, hearing the pounding of a hundred pairs of feet on the wooden stairs, having a father who is doing so much good. But everything changes the day she sees him carrying a newborn baby that he says he found near the broken front gate. A baby she recognises…
Present day. Arriving at her father’s beloved cottage beside the river, Sarah Jennings is hoping for peace and quiet, to escape her difficult divorce. But when she finds her father unwell and hunched over boxes of files on the orphanage where he was abandoned as a child, she decides to investigate it herself.
The only person left alive who lived at Cedar Hall is Connie Burroughs, but Connie sits quietly in her nursing home for a reason. The sewing box under Connie’s bed hides secrets that will change Sarah’s life forever, uncovering a connection between them that has darker consequences than she could ever imagine.
A heartbreaking but ultimately uplifting tale inspired by the lives of the children who lived at the author’s great-grandfather’s orphanage. Fans of Before We Were Yours, The Orphan’s Tale and The Orphan Train will be hooked.
I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes
I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the launch of Ann Bennett’s historical novel: The Orphan House.
I originally read this novel back in January 2019 when the author self-published the story, the book has been lovingly re-edited with a new title and published by Bookouture and I am so happy for the author to gain the recognition from such a great publishing company.
This is a very beautiful, atmospheric but equally tragic and poignant story set in three different time frames. It is a story about three women who have been linked to an event that is marred by illegal, immoral and devastating circumstances back in 1934. It’s not until the present day that the truth is slowly unravelled and the small link between the women is lengthened.
Ann Bennett’s words completely captivated me in this story. With her atmospheric prose depicting the sensory details of 1930’s India that Anna first experienced when she was travelling to India to escape England and the shroud of gossip surrounding her father. Anna was excited about her future in India but it soon became a lonely existence for her.
Connie is now all alone in the world and following a fall she’s living in an elderly care home. Struggling with her ailments both physically and mentally as she is forced to sell the family home to cover her expenses at the home. Cedar Hall has been her home for over 70 years and was adjacent to an orphanage. Connie is very wary of her past in the Lodge and she is afraid of the Hall revealing the truth.
Sarah stumbles across Cedar Hall on her way to her father’s house following a startling discovery surrounding her husband. Sarah is shocked and angry and very unsure of her future. She realises the place she needs to take stock of her life is at her father’s house in a small village in Berkshire, not far from Cedar Hall. Cedar Hall is up for sale and is looking a little worn and tired but it still holds a presence in the village and after her first sight of the house Sarah cannot stop thinking about it.
Stripping back the walls that have held secrets for a long time reveal a story of greed, a story of tragedy and a story of lost loves. From the sumptuous setting in India to the chilling discoveries back in Berkshire this is a brilliant story that will appeal to historical fans, romance fans and mystery fans. If you love the work of Dinah Jefferies you will appreciate the work of Ann Bennett and the beautiful story that is The Orphan House.
About the Author
Ann Bennett was born in a small village in Northamptonshire and now lives in Surrey. Her first book, A Daughter’s Quest, originally published as Bamboo Heart, was inspired by her father’s experience as a prisoner of war on the Thai-Burma Railway. The Planter’s Wife (originally published as Bamboo Island) a Daughter’s Promise and The Homecoming, (formerly Bamboo Road) are also about the war in South East Asia.
The idea for The Orphan House came from researching her great-grandfather, Brice Bennett, who was headmaster of a county school for pauper children in Wargrave, Berkshire. The Orphan House and a further WW2 historical novel will be published by Bookouture in 2020.
Ann is married with three grown up sons and works as a lawyer. For more details please visit http://www.bambooheart.co.uk