Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Saturday, 8 December 2012

The Adoption - Anne Berry

This moving story is told in three voices: that of the biological mother Bethan, the adopting mother Harriet and the little girl Lucilla, adopted when only a few months old.

Lucilla was born as the result of a wartime romance between Bethan and a German prisoner of War, Thorston, seconded to help out at Bethan’s parents, Seren and Ifan Haverd’s Welsh mountain farm. In disgrace, as her brother Brice had been killed by Germans, and with the love of her life therefore driven away, Bethan gives birth to her first daughter but is forced to give her up for adoption. The recipient couple, Harriet and her husband Merfyn are strict, god fearing and bigwigs in the preaching of temperance. Her mother finds Lucilla to be too much of a tomboy and more than a bit of a rebel, and their relationship is always strained. When Lucilla is told that she had been adopted she feels nothing but relief and curiosity about her birth parents and her extended family. As the years pass by and Lucilla’s own family grow up, so she starts to make a serious attempt to find her birth family, supported by her husband Henry. Spurred on by her own daughter having a family of her own Lucilla at last uncovers her past but sadly with heartbreaking results.

This is an involving page-turning story, well written and with plenty to think about. Poor Bethan, ever the dutiful daughter had an arranged marriage forced upon her and very soon a second daughter is born, who she fails to nurture, still grieving for her firstborn. Her life is without light. Lucilla, remarkably well adjusted and with her own happy marriage built on love and trust, thirsts to know her birth mother. These two characters are wonderfully drawn, making you feel full of empathy for them, but Harriet is selfish, her dreams of a feminine daughter never realised, so bitter and unloving. 

There are some surprising twists and turns, the most welcome being a surprisingly happy ending – a real tearjerker which flooded me with relief and rounded off the story so well.

Reviewed by Joan Hill - Guest reviewer

Thank you very much indeed to Joan for kindly reading and reviewing this novel for The Little Reader Library, and for her thoughtful review. Joan is a very keen reader, a retired teacher who always loved reading stories to her class and delighted in seeing the joy on their faces as they were wrapped up in the stories. Joan loves reading - thrillers, family sagas, murder-mystery, romance, biographies and autobiographies, historical fiction - but not fantasy, supernatural or sci-fi. She loves to discuss what she's read, and says the next best thing is to express her opinion in the form of a review and hear what everyone else thinks - it is amazing how this can bring the novel to life even more.

'The Adoption' is published by Ebury
You can follow the author on twitter @anneberryauthor and visit her website here.
Thank you to the publisher for kindly sending a copy of this novel to review.


  1. Great review Joan, this sound like a great read. Will keep an eye out for it.


    1. Thanks very much for commenting on Joan's review :)

  2. Great review. This book hits home to me, so I will have to get it, as I'd never heard of it.


    1. Thanks very much for commenting Lisa. I'm glad this book sounds like one that would mean something to you.

  3. Not my usual kind of read but I really enjoyed this review and I love the cover!


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