Author: Rachael English
Published by: Headline Books on Jan. 5, 2021
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Mobius Books US
Book Rating: 9/10
Every baby’s bracelet held a mother’s secret…
Inspired by heartrending real events, the gripping new novel from No. 1 bestselling author Rachael English. Readers of Diane Chamberlain and Kathryn Hughes will love this book.
‘A true storyteller who keeps you turning the pages’ Cathy Kelly
For almost fifty years, Katie Carroll has kept a box tucked away inside her wardrobe. It dates from her time working as a nurse in a west of Ireland mother and baby home in the 1960s. The box contains a notebook holding the details of the babies and young women she met there. It also holds many of the babies’ identity bracelets.
Following the death of her husband, Katie makes a decision. The information she possesses could help reunite adopted people with their birth mothers, and she decides to post a message on an internet forum. Soon the replies are rolling in, and Katie finds herself returning many of the bracelets to their original owners. She encounters success and failure, heartbreak and joy. But is she prepared for old secrets to be uncovered in her own life?
Absorbing, poignant, and heartrending!
The Paper Bracelet is a harrowing, moving novel set in Ireland during the 1970s, as well as present-day, that takes you into the halls of Carrigbrack, a mother-and-baby home run by nuns where unwed pregnant girls are unwillingly banished to repent, deliver, and subsequently relinquish their parental rights under conditions of emotional and physical abuse, meagre basic necessities, excessive workloads, and often vicious, sadistic punishments and the complex, emotional journey to reacquaint mothers with their long-lost children years later.
The prose is sentimental and rich. The characters are vulnerable, strong, and brave. And the plot told from multiple perspectives is a compelling blend of life, loss, secrets, surprises, heartbreak, abuse, survival, motherhood, and friendship.
Overall, The Paper Bracelet is a compassionate, enlightening, hopeful tale inspired by true-life events that is a haunting reminder of all those women who lived, suffered, and endured in these horrific institutions and continued to do so late into the 20th century. It’s a book that, ultimately, needs to be read to appreciate just how well researched, beautifully written, and extremely memorable it truly is.
This novel is available now.
Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.
Thank you to Mobius Books US for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.