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The Love Child

by Rachel Hore

Relationship Stories Family Drama Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel eBooks of the Month

LoveReading Expert Review of The Love Child

Taking in the two World Wars, this intimate and thoughtfully told novel focuses on two women, one a mother, the other the child she was forced to give up.

Set between 1917 and 1940, taking in the two World Wars and all the social and political upheaval between them, this intimate and thoughtfully told novel focuses on two women. A mother at 19, Alice is forced to give her up her baby, and that baby, adopted and living life miles away, grows up knowing she is different. As the two women live their lives, their two individual stories begin to intertwine. Rachel Hore shows immense compassion in her writing as this story about family, love, loss and hope travels through the decades. I found myself immersed in the story, hoping and willing for happiness to step into the end of the tale. Peppered with notes from history, the years between the wars were bright and alive in my mind. Simply, almost gently told, as bitingly fierce and emotional subjects are handled with sensitivity, The Love Child is a beautifully poignant and hopeful novel.

Liz Robinson

The Love Child Synopsis

The UNMISSABLE brand new novel from Rachel Hore, Sunday Times bestselling author of LAST LETTER HOME, a 2018 Richard and Judy Book club pick

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.


About This Edition

ISBN: 9781471157004
Publication date: 9th January 2020
Author: Rachel Hore
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 448 pages
Primary Genre Family Drama
Other Genres:

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The Love Child 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.

Lovely relaxing book to read, start New Year off with this one.

A really enjoyable book to read, so good is the storyline I read it twice.

The author brings together two different stories and skillfully blends them together to give to the reader a great reading experience.

The book flows simply, the characters are described as if you know them personally and the author gently pulls the reader into the story making the reader feel that they themselves are part of the story. This is a brilliant move by the author.

The story covers many genres and many readers will find themselves on an emotional rollercoaster as the story unfolds.

I'm not giving away any part of the story as this is a book best read with as little prior knowledge as possible of the story.

This is one for your New Year reading list.

Catherine Bryce

An endearing story of love and loss in the interwar years. A mother and daughter separated by social stigma find each other after twenty years. Atmospheric and beautifully told.

In 1917 Alice, a VAD in France, falls in love with a wounded soldier. They meet again on leave in England, consummate their love and Alice falls pregnant. Her lover is killed and she faces the stigma of bearing an illegitimate child. Her parents make her give the baby up for adoption.

Alice forges a new life for herself as a doctor, marries and has three sons but never forgets her secret child.

Irene is adopted and although well treated never feels as though she belongs.
This is written as a dual narrative by Alice and Irene as they come to terms with their incomplete lives. Adoption pre-1927 was not regulated as it is now and when Irene tries to find her mother she comes up against many difficulties. Finally, they find each other almost by accident and eventually meet. 

The book highlights the social situation between the two wars and the difficulties faced by women when their rights were fewer than today. An engrossing read with strong characters and vivid writing. Heartfelt and yet hopeful. I loved it.

Lynne Rapson

A book not to miss. A storyline that captures your heart and draws you in from the first page. Two women, two completely separate lives, one not knowing the other exists, finally reunited. Their journey is at times very emotive, almost unbelievable, but utterly captivating. If you do anything this month, then read this book, you will not be disappointed.

Oh my word, what a book, what a story!!!

This has to be the most heartwarming, thought-provoking and emotive novel I have read in a very long time.

I was drawn into the story and its characters from the very first page. It was as if I was watching the story unfold from the sidelines. I was drawn into and enthralled by the characterisation of the family and the layers of its history.
You could say it was too good to be true, but on another level was completely realistic, plausible and at times very emotional.

Two women, two completely separate lives, finally joined. Hope, despair, disbelief and lots of twists and turns, keep this book alive and the need to keep reading is overwhelming.

A great read, by a great author. Enjoy.

Wendy Stubbs

A lovely story of two strong, female characters who are both determined to get what they want from life.

I wasn't sure what I was expecting from this book as the story did not match the style of the front cover at all. The story starts by introducing us to Alice, a 19-year-old who was a nurse in France during World War 1. It was whilst in France that she fell in love with a soldier and soon after became pregnant. Unfortunately, she was forced to give the baby up for adoption.

We meet this girl who is now called Irene and see her grow up into a strong and determined young lady. Her adopted family come from good social standing however her relationship with her adoptive mother is far from loving and so when Irene discovers she is in fact adopted, the search for her real mother begins.

The story swaps between Alice and Irene's perspective and we go on a beautiful journey with the mother and daughter as they both search for what they want in life. This ranges from progress in their career, falling love and discovering more about their family. Although there are some sad and emotional sections of the novel, overall this book is extremely uplifting and optimistic.

This feel-good novel spans from 1917- 1940 so we get to learn a lot about these two main characters over two decades. Both the main characters are extremely driven and are likeable. The way the book swapped from the different perspectives happened very smoothly and I found the style of writing very engaging.

It gave a good depiction of how women were sometimes perceived within society during the early 20th Century and I think the book described the times in great detail.

Books Bakes Becky

The Love Child Press Reviews

'A gorgeous and deeply absorbing story' TRACY REES

'Simply stunning . . . I savoured every moment of this moving story of love, loss and, ultimately, forgiveness. The Love Child is an absolutely beautiful book' DINAH JEFFERIES

'This tender account, spanning two generations, reveals how the loss affects mother and child across the years. A story that stirs the deepest emotions' WOMAN & HOME

'A poignant story, rich in period detail' SUNDAY MIRROR

'An emotive and thought-provoking read . . . My heart went out to both these two women as they faced such difficult personal decisions that would change their lives forever' ROSANNA LEY

'I really enjoyed this book. Hore tackles difficult subjects with a clever, light touch and a sunny positivity. Her women are brave and good and you desperately want them to win' DAILY MAIL

'A novel that stirs the deepest emotions' WOMAN 'Rachel's stories are always absorbing and intricately woven and The Love Child is no exception. This is a wonderfully moving tale of love and loss, hope and eventual reconciliation, and I very much enjoyed it' BARBARA ERSKINE

'I found her writing warm, compassionate in this story about one girl's search for her true identity amidst the secrets and dynamics of her adopted family. It had a realism about the poignancy of illegitimacy in this pre-war setting' LEAH FLEMING

'The Love Child is a hugely compelling, poignant and moving read. Rachel has great skill as a storyteller and readers are sure to be engrossed and swept away by her clever double-stranded tale' JANE JOHNSON

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781471157004
Publication date: 09/01/2020
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781471157011
Publication date: 05/09/2019
Format: Ebook

ISBN: 9781471156984
Publication date: 05/09/2019
Format: Hardback

View All Editions

About Rachel Hore

Rachel Hore worked in London publishing for many years before moving with her family to Norwich. She is married to  writer D. J. Taylor and they have three sons.

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