Fiction Book Reviews

Literary Fiction | The Love Child | Rachel Hore

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy.

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on The Love Child by Rachel Hore.

Book cover The Love Child by Rachel Hore

The Love Child by Rachel Hore is published by Simon & Schuster UK and is available to purchase in digital and hardcover formats.  The paperback is due to publish 9th January 2020.

A young mother’s sacrifice. A child’s desperate search for the truth . . .

London, 1917

When nineteen-year-old Alice Copeman becomes pregnant, she is forced by her father and stepmother to give up the baby.  She simply cannot be allowed to bring shame upon her family. But all Alice can think about is the small, kitten-like child she gave away, and she mourns the father, a young soldier, so beloved, who will never have the chance to know his daughter.
 
Edith and Philip Burns, a childless couple, yearn for a child of their own. When they secretly adopt a baby girl, Irene, their life together must surely be complete. Irene grows up knowing that she is different from other children, but no one will tell her the full truth.
 
Putting hopes of marriage and children behind her, Alice embarks upon a pioneering medical career, striving to make her way in a male-dominated world. Meanwhile, Irene struggles to define her own life, eventually leaving her Suffolk home to find work in London.
 
As two extraordinary stories intertwine across two decades, will secrets long-buried at last come to light?
 
Brilliantly evoking the changing attitudes of the time, The Love Child is a novel about love, family, separation, despair and hope, full of tenderness and deep feeling.

Review

The Love Child sensitively explores adoption not only from the parent and child perspective but also other family members.  It shines a spotlight on the shadows of what might be considered right and wrong.  Fostering/adoption services have adapted to fit our contemporary world but I do think it is important that we do remember past practices.  After all, our parenting styles are influenced by the way we were parented which obviously reaches back in time.  There are some snippets about the adoption process in the story.  Horrifyingly, before legal processes came into force, you could have a baby on a month’s approval! and as Edie says “not much longer than a mail order dress.”  Speaks volumes doesn’t it! 

I felt an array of emotions getting as hooked into Alice’s narrative as I did with Irene.  I even found myself warming to Gwen and understood her perspective.  So many emotions …

The Love Child has also been an amazing journey through a time in history that saw women fighting barriers to careers in the medical profession after WWI.   It seems so archaic now.  It makes you realise just how far we’ve come (and in diagnosing and treating illnesses).   I was reminded of Call the Midwife when Alice was giving talks to newly formed mother and baby clinics.  Alice is driven to make changes.

Through December 1917 to 1940 I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster.  Characters have faced and overcome challenges forcing growth and achievement.  I’ve been reminded of how relationships with others mature as we do and it’s made me realise the importance of those I love and want to be a part of my life.  An outstanding read.


Rachel Hore worked in London publishing for many years before moving with her family to Norwich, where she teaches publishing and creative writing at UEA. She is married to writer D. J. Taylor and they have three sons.  |  Website  |  Twitter @RachelHore  |  Facebook RachelHoreAuthor


I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 8+ years. My love of reading, crocheting and being out in nature are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school. I'm passionate about early help and sharing strategies with families to empower and help build resilience. I'm a member of of my Local Authority's Early Help Operational Board, working alongside other professionals to instigate change and growth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *