Rachel Wesson – A Baby on the Doorstep Blog Tour

Virginia, 1934: In the middle of the night, he crept through the bushes, thankful for the darkness, for the clouds covering the stars. Tenderly, he opened his bag, lifting the small bundle out. With tears in his eyes, he held her tight, not wanting to let her go. But he had no choice––it was the only way. “This is your new home, little one. You’ll be safe here.”

Distant rumblings of conflict in Europe have reached even the secluded, snow-dusted mountains of Virginia, where Lauren Greenwood faces a battle of her own. The Great Depression is crippling America, leaving millions of its victims without shoes on their feet and clothes on their backs. Hope House––the orphanage Lauren runs––is suffering more than ever.

The one thing Lauren is not short of is love. But with just a handful of dollars to her name, every day is a struggle to feed the orphans and keep a roof over their heads.

Yet she refuses to give up. When a baby is left on the porch, Lauren welcomes her with open arms. The abandoned new-born, Maisie, is left with a crumpled letter––her parents begging Lauren to look after the girl and promising to return for her one day. Lauren refuses to allow another child to fall prey to the Depression, and vows to provide little Maisie with the love and protection of a mother.

But when the debt collectors come calling, threatening to shut down the orphanage, Lauren runs out of hope. Any day now the children could be thrown onto the frozen streets, where survival is impossible.

With tragedy just around the corner, how can she ever reunite Maisie with her parents? And if she doesn’t manage to save the orphans, how will she live with herself?

A totally heartbreaking tale with a beautiful and hopeful message––when all else fails, love can save the day. Fans of Before We Were YoursThe Orphan Train and Diney Costeloe will be swept away by this emotional and totally gripping historical page-turner.

Today I’m delighted to take my stop on the Blog Tour for A Baby on the Doorstep by Rachel Wesson. Thanks so much to Bookouture and NetGalley for the invitation.

A Baby on the Doorstep is a heart-wrenching story about helplessness, kindness, and endurance.

It’s great to have the opportunity to read and review this amazing book that I might never have encountered without being a bookblogger It’s one of my favourite things about blogging that I’ve serendipitously encountered so many fantastic books and authors to write about and share them with other book lovers too. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with these charaters at Hope House and it was just the thing to take me miles away from the current talks of viral load and home learning, to escape to 1934 Virginia and see hardship suffering and separation in quite a different context.

selective focus photography of person holding baby's feet

These characters in this book absolutely spring to life and I defy you not to be moved by some of their predicaments. It’s not just a great piece of fiction though – it is a thought provoking and intelligent piece of writing that poses some big questions about motherhood, love and loss that would make it a perfect book club choice once the lockdown is over. I absolutely loved the character of Lauren and its setting provided me with lots of food for thought and a fair few hours researching this period and location online after I’d finished the book. I mean, if we can’t literally travel at the momemt, there’s nothing to stop us from time travelling or travelling through other people’s expreriences too…

Infant's feet being held by a woman's hand with painted and manicured hands resting on a gray blanket

I really did get caught up in this book. They do say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but Lauren & Becky’s stories more than matched up to its gorgeous cover. One of my favourite things was the relationship between Lauren and abandoned baby Maisie, and how their encounters allowed  for a glimmer of hopwe for joy and happiness in the midst of the privations and loss throughout the novel and in these times themselves. It’s a real strength of the novel that despite the difficult circumstances the characters in this novel remain absolutely believable and Rachel Wessonhas you absolutely rooting for them and hopeful that there might be a happy ending for at least some of these characters.

A Baby On the Doorstep  is a very well researched period read that had me totally engrossed and allowed me to escape fully from current events that are going on at the moment too. The fact that we are able to see a fictional representation of serious events such as the depression and the holocaust brings these events vividly to life and allows us to empathise fully with the thousands of other real people, represented by Wesson’s characters too.

It’s a moving and powerful evocation of life from a very different world as far as women are concerned, yet so many of its reflections on poverty, female friendship and survival are absolutely pitch perfect and will resonate with so many readers. Lauren and Becky are such strong characters and their strength that they draw from one another in their determination to provide a better life for these childrenn amid the dual stormclouds of the depression and the holocaust is very evocatively drawn.

You cannot failed to be moved by the plights of these characters and their experiences and if you love a well written, moving and realistically drawn period read then you should definitely order yourself a copy straight away

child and parent hands photography

Writer On The Shelf

Rachel Wesson was born in Kilkenny, Ireland but considers herself to be from the capital, Dublin as that’s where she spent most of her life. Her dad brought Rachel and her two sisters out every Saturday to give their mother a break. He took them to the library and for ice-cream after. It took a long time for her sisters to forgive her for the hours she spent choosing her books!

She grew up driving everyone nuts asking them questions about what they did during the War or what side they were on in the 1916 rising etc. Finally her Granny told her to write her stories down so people would get the pleasure of reading them. In fact what Granny meant was everyone would get some peace while Rachel was busy writing!

When not writing, or annoying relatives, Rachel was reading. Her report cards from school commented on her love of reading especially when she should have been learning. Seems you can’t read Great Expectations in Maths. After a doomed love affair and an unpleasant bank raid during which she defended herself with a tea tray, she headed to London for a couple of years. (There is a reason she doesn’t write romance!).

She never intended staying but a chance meeting with the man of her dreams put paid to any return to Ireland. Having spent most of her career in the City, she decided something was missing. Working in the City is great but it’s a young person’s dream. Having three children you never see isn’t good for anyone. So she packed in the job and started writing. Thanks to her amazing readers, that writing turned into a career far more exciting and rewarding than any other.

Rachel lives in Surrey with her husband and three children, two boys and a girl. When not reading, writing or watching films for “research” purposes, Rachel likes to hang out with her family. She also travels regularly back home – in fact she should have shares in BA and Aerlingus

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