Lily: A Tale of Revenge from the Sunday Times bestselling author
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We feel that Coram children come to value the rules of behaviour put upon them. Under the tutelage of people like Nurse Maud, they soon understand the difference between right and wrong. Do you not agree?’ Ez a történet nemcsak hogy felnő az atmoszférikus, szívbe markoló regénykezdethez, hanem még emeli is a tétet… Bámulatos történetmesélés, ahol a bosszú és a jóvátétel egységben valósul meg.” – Mail on Sunday And so the scene is set for this slightly different tale from Rose Tremain. I haven’t read any of her books before, but I am a fan of historical fiction, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Let’s get one thing out of the way, though. Yes, there are definitely echoes of Sara Collins “Confessions of Frannie Langdon” in here, and it would be hard not to make comparisons, but actually, the story is quite different. Across the years, the policeman who found her keeps watch over Lily and when he meets her again, there is an instant attraction between them and it is this story which takes us forward. But some of the best bits are where Lily and her friend Bridget venture out into London.
It is Marianne who tells this piercing story of first love, characterising herself as ignorant and unworthy, whilst her smart, ironic narration tellingly reveals so much more. Finding her way in 1960s Chelsea, and supported by her courageous Scottish friend, Petronella, she continues to seek the life she never stops craving. And in Paris, beneath his blithe exterior, Simon Hurst continues to nurse the secret which will alter everything. Across the years, policeman Sam Trench keeps watch over the young woman he once saved. When Sam meets Lily again, there is an instant attraction between them and Lily is convinced that Sam holds the key to her happiness - but might he also be the one to uncover her crime and so condemn her to death?Lily is a foundling, born in London but belonging nowhere. Her memory of a stint with foster parents, in a countryside setting which is a Constable sunset compared to the Doré hellscape that is Victorian London, sustains her through her later years at the Foundling Hospital. There, she is abused (in every sense of the word), isolated, desperate. Life regains a modicum of its early colour when she is apprenticed to a larger than life wigmaker - Lily finds a facsimile of family, of belonging. The darkness, though, remains - but it's in her soul, where she guards a fierce need for revenge, and later, a dark and terrible secret.
Marianne, being 15 and wildly enamoured with a distant teenaged Simon is affectionately driven to distraction hoping to “ascend to heaven together in the pale blue Morris Minor” A Lily Rose Tremain legsötétebb hangulatú könyve, legalábbis azok közül, amiket eddig olvastam. Megrázó őszinteséggel mutatja be a tizenkilencedik századi Anglia árnyékos oldalát, a lelencházak kegyetlen világát és visszaéléseit, az árvák kilátástalan, kiszolgáltatott helyzetét. Olvasás közben akarva-akaratlanul is eszembe jutott Stacey Halls Lelence, és hogy mennyivel szerencsésebbek voltak annak a könyvnek a szereplői. In London, in the winter of 1850, baby Lily Mortimer is found abandoned at the gates of a park by a young police constable, who takes her to the London Foundling Hospital. As was the custom she is fostered out, to a farming family in rural Suffolk, where she is loved, and taught to sew. At the age of six she is returned to the hospital, to be sent out to work. Because of her sewing skills she finds herself at Belle Prettywood's Wig Emporium, where she finds favour. But Lily has a secret which will haunt her and determine her fate.Novelist Rose Tremain appointed as new UEA chancellor". BBC News. 14 April 2013 . Retrieved 9 May 2014.
I see there is some criticism of the switching timelines. However, I feel added to the story as it unravelled slowly and served an important purpose in strengthening the connection between the past and present, as well as building empathy for the protagonist as we see her childhood. It’s a moving tale, frustrating in parts, heart-breaking in others. I have to admit to skimming a few parts of the book, really just because I wanted to see where this was all going. Parts of the story are told in retrospect, which can be a bit frustrating, but slowly the tale is told. I was pleased to receive a NetGally ARC to review, but I’ll be purchasing the book for another read when it comes out.
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But fairy tales are often close to horror stories. Like all children at the Foundling Hospital, Lily spends her formative years with a foster family, in her case helmed by the lovingly maternal Nellie who lives on a Suffolk farm. At the age of six she is abruptly wrenched away (this was standard practice) and returned to the hospital where Tremain imagines a loveless climate of abuse on a par with that at Ireland’s Magdalene Laundries.