Hello dear readers, it’s been a slow month with pretty much consistent rains here in India and reading is kind of slow. These are the times I try and read more of thrillers, non fiction, the type of books which send me on a research, fact finding missions; Best to keep me occupied during the bleak rains. The Vanished Child was a very, very good read, the genealogical aspect absolutely engrossing. This review is a part of the Blog Tour organized by the lovely Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources. Do check out the other blogs on the tour.
Title – The Vanished Child
Author – M. J. Lee
Rating : 4/5
Location set in – England and Australia
Profession of lead characters – Genealogical Investigator
What would you do if you discovered you had a brother you never knew existed?
On her deathbed, Freda Duckworth confesses to giving birth to an illegitimate child in 1944 and temporarily placing him in a children’s home. She returned later but he had vanished.
What happened to the child?
Why did he disappear?
Where did he go?
Jayne Sinclair, genealogical investigator, is faced with lies, secrets, and one of the most shameful episodes in recent history as she attempts to uncover the truth.
Can she find the vanished child?
This book is the fourth in the Jayne Sinclair Genealogical Mystery series, but can be read as a standalone novel.
As mentioned in the story summary above, Jayne Sinclair is a genealogical investigator, the vanished child, is her latest case we read about in this story.
This story is particularly close to Jayne as she helps find the lost brother of her step mother. Her search takes them on an emotional roller coaster filled with nerve wrecking moments. It is not only about searching someone from the past they never knew about until recently, it is also about uncovering secrets of their past.
Jayne and her step parents are at a vulnerable place in their lives emotionally and physically for her parents, when they begin this search. Their emotions, vulnerabilities are reflected in the reactions to every step and it’s result, they take in the search. Their search was successful and as happy as it was possible given the circumstances.
The story is inspired from true events of child immigrants, when young children from UK’s orphanages were sent away to Australia in the 1950’s. I hadn’t previously heard about the child immigrants so had no idea what to expect. It deals with children in not very happy or safe situations. As the story progressed it was clear that the children’s experience is a sensitive topic and the author portrays the emotions of this experience well. I could feel the loneliness, the neglect, the fear and uncertainties of the children. It was heartbreaking and emotionally difficult to read about what the children went through to benefit people who could very well afford skilled and physically fit labour for work. It was pure exploitation and it shows a side of human nature which leaves a lot to be desired.
From the fiction point of view, this story kept me engaged with it’s fascinating genealogical aspect. I was fascinated by Jayne as she unravels the past via internet, visit to the people and places from the past, old records and such. I haven’t read any other books in this series but now I definitely see myself picking them up in the future. If you are a fan of historical fiction, ancestry or a good old mystery you will enjoy this story. Or if you want to try reading more non fiction but not sure try this book as it’s based on true events.
Martin has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a University researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, tv commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.
He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the North of England. In London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and London Festivals, and the United Nations.
When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, researching his family history, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake and wishing he were George Clooney.
Reviewed by Bharti