Thank you to the team at Head of Zeus for the opportunity to join the blog tour and for a proof copy of the book.
From the outside, Eleanor and Edward Hamilton are the epitome of a perfect marriage but they’re harbouring a shameful secret that threatens to fracture their entire world.
London, 1929. Eleanor Hamilton is a dutiful mother, a caring sister and adoring wife to a celebrated war hero. Her husband, Edward, is a leading light in the Eugenics movement. The Hamiltons are on the social rise, and it looks as though their future is bright.
When Mabel, their young daughter, begins to develop debilitating seizures, their world fractures as they have to face the uncomfortable truth – Mabel is an epileptic: one of the undesirables Edward campaigns against.
Forced to hide the truth so as not to jeopardise Edward’s life work, the couple must confront the truth of their past – and the secrets that have been buried.
Will Eleanor and Edward be able to fight for their family? Or will the truth destroy them?
This is the second book review on my blog today and I’m pleased to say that it is another 5 star read. I don’t rate many books at 5 stars but some books stand out from the crowd, and this is one of those books.
This book is set in the late 1920’s, after the War to end all wars, and having studied this era at school, I knew the Great Depression was during this timeline. However, what we didn’t study at school was the rise of the Eugenics movement, where wealthy people in the US and the UK were trying to ensure that they could stop unsuitable people from having children, to reduce the number of people born with disabilities and low IQs.
As a mother, this story broke my heart, as young Mabel started to develop seizures. As the seizures become more regular, her parents, Eleanor and Edward, sought medical help and kept her diagnosis secret.
Eleanor finds herself in a quandary. Should she let the medical experts take charge and take Mabel away from her, or should she defy her husband and seek alternative, less barbaric help? Edward has other secrets he is hiding from Eleanor and their marriage is in danger of collapsing.
This book is stunning and it makes you question what you would do in this situation. This is not an easy read, there are some traumatic sections, but it is a compelling read, one that makes you think and one I’ve enjoyed discussing with my family and friends.
I’ve had Louise’s debut novel, People Like Us, on my Kindle for ages, and I must bump it up my reading list, having enjoyed her beautiful writing. Hopefully if you are still reading through this review, you will appreciate how much I enjoyed the book, and will feel inspired to read a copy too.
Louise Fein was born and brought up in London. She harboured a secret love of writing from a young age, preferring to live in her imagination than the real world. After a law degree, Louise worked in Hong Kong and Australia, travelling for a while through Asia and North America before settling back to a working life in London. She finally gave in to the urge to write, taking an MA in creative writing, and embarking on her first novel, Daughter of the Reich (named People Like Us in the UK and Commonwealth edition). The novel was inspired by the experience of her father’s family, who escaped from the Nazis and arrived in England as refugees in the 1930’s. Daughter of the Reich/People Like Us is being translated into 11 foreign languages, has been shortlisted for the 2021 RNA Historical Novel of the year Award, and has been long listed for the Not The Booker Prize.
Louise’s second novel, The Hidden Child, will be published in the Autumn of 2021. Louise lives in the beautiful English countryside with her husband, three children, two cats, small dog and the local wildlife who like to make an occasional appearance in the house. Louise is currently working on her third novel.
Website and newsletter sign-up: https://www.louisefein.com
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