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Letters from Alice

by Petrina Banfield

Biography / Autobiography History The Real World

LoveReading View on Letters from Alice

Letters from Alice is an enchanting mix of mystery, social history and family dynamics. It focuses on the work of almoners (usually women), who were the forerunners to modern social workers, responsible for the welfare of hospital patients and their families. Petrina Banfield brings to life the sounds, sights and aromas of 1920s London in a cleverly crafted drama that reads like fiction but is steeped in fact. I was mesmerised by almoner Alice Hudson’s story, which is based on original archive material – reports, newspaper articles, letters, receipts and even weather reports. Letters from Alice was hard to put down, with its realistic colourful characters, a mystery to solve and vivid descriptions of the grit and grime of the poorest parts of London. This is a thought-provoking read and also incredibly moving, highlighting the hardships experienced by many families at that time. Yet despite the sadness of the story, I also found myself full of hope, knowing that these hardworking almoners were fighting for patients’ rights and welfare. If you have an interest in social history (whether non-fiction or fiction), this is a perfect choice for you - a delightful story, a learning experience and a joy to read. Perfect for fans of Call the Midwife and other British dramas.

Victoria Goldman

Letters from Alice Synopsis

Two women. One secret. Will they be able to keep it under wraps? It is a stormy evening in 1920s London. When newly qualified almoner, Alice, stepped into the home of Charlotte, a terrified teenager who has just given birth out of wedlock, she did not expect to make a pact that would change her life forever. Thrown into secrecy after an unexpected turn, Alice is determined to keep bewildered Charlotte and her newborn baby safe. But when a threatening note appears, she realises that Charlotte may need more protection than she first thought. But from who? Based on extensive research into the archive material held at the London Metropolitan Archives, and enriched with lively social history and excerpts from newspaper articles, LETTERS FROM ALICE is a gripping and deeply moving tale, which brings the colourful world of 1920s London to life. Full of grit, mystery and hope, it will have readers enthralled from the very first page.

Letters from Alice Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

A lovely story based on real-life facts. Alice beginning her work as an Almoner - feeling she had taken on more than she could manage finds a way through to a satisfactory resolution. Full review

Wendy Smith

A totally captivating account of a newly qualified almoner in London's East End. Well written, well researched, based on real life stories. So different from what you have read so far, a must for any historian. Full review

Sharon lowe

Alice is an almoner at the Royal Free Hospital in the 1920's - she is responsible for the social care for a number of patients who we read about in the book, including Charlotte, who carries a dark secret. Full review

Dawn Vanstone

A story of mystery, sadness and deceit set in the 1920's in the area surrounding the London Hospital. Alice, a Lady Almoner, tries to help the poor and sick, particularly Charlotte an expectant teenager whose parents are not supportive of her plight. Full review

Lynne Rapson

Permitting the author some considerable artistic licence, this makes for a great educational and interesting read and one that I do recommend. Full review


Letters from Alice Press Reviews

`A brilliantly clever look at the almoners, the pre-cursers to the NHS's social workers, this story is expertly crafted, blending extensive historic fact with a beautiful, deeply moving story based on real life events. You won't want to put it down.'

Christina McDonald, author of The Night Olivia Fell

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780008264703
Publication date: 09/08/2018
Publisher: Harper Element an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780008264703
Publication date: 9th August 2018
Author: Petrina Banfield
Publisher: Harper Element an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 320 pages
Genres: Biography / Autobiography, History, The Real World,
Categories: True stories: discovery / historical / scientific, True crime,

About Petrina Banfield

Petrina Banfield is a writer, mother and bookworm. She has always wanted to write, but kept her dream under wraps while working at Surrey Police during the day, and ghosting books for other people at night. Petrina's other passion, for fostering and adoption, was sparked in her teenage years, after discovering that her father was taken into care as a young baby and then separated from his identical twin at the age of five. Petrina registered as a foster carer in 2007 and became an adoptive parent a few years later, but it was in trying to reassemble the scattered fragments ...

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