The Little Orphan Girl by Sandy Taylor
Today I am so happy to be part of the Blog Blitz for The Little Orphan Girl by Sandy Taylor. Many thanks to the author, Noelle at Bookouture and NetGalley for offering me the chance to read the book and post an honest review.
Ireland, 1901: The work house gates clanged shut behind us, as me and the mammy walked down the hill towards the town. I was six years old and leaving the only home I had ever known…
When Cissy Ryan’s real mother comes to claim her from the workhouse, it’s not how she imagined. Her family’s tumbledown cottage has ice on the inside of its windows and is in an isolated, poverty-stricken village in the muddy Irish countryside. But when Cissy is allowed to help neighbour Colm Doyle and his horse named Blue on their milk round one morning, Cissy starts to feel as though friendship could get her through anything.
It’s Colm who looks in on Cissy’s grandfather when she starts at the village school, and Colm who tells her to hold her chin high when she interviews for a position at the grand Bretton House. But in the vast mansion with its shining floors and sweeping staircase, it’s Master Peter Bretton who captures Cissy’s heart with his dark curls and easy laugh.
As Cissy blossoms from a skinny orphan into a confident young girl, Colm tells her she’s as good as anyone and she begins to believe anything is possible. But not everyone with a kind smile has a kind heart, and Cissy doesn’t know that further sorrow lies in store for her.
When Cissy finds herself desperate, alone, and faced with a devastating choice, can she find the strength to survive?
I can’t say how much I loved this deeply moving, beautifully written story about Cissy, The Little Orphan Girl, set in Ireland at the turn of the last century.
We meet Cissy for the first time when she is just six years old and is collected from the workhouse by a stranger who tells her that she is her ‘Mammy’. The first chapters captivated me as we see the world through the eyes of a child who has never stepped out of an institution. Having believed she was an orphan she now has to adapt to life in the Irish village, and to a mother and grandfather, she never knew existed.
My heart ached for the child who actually missed the workhouse and the people in it because that is the only home she knew.
The book is highly atmospheric and the dialogue is so expertly written that you can actually hear the strong Irish accent when the characters speak. I loved reading about Cissy’s journey through life from child to a woman. Her friendship with Colm is utterly adorable and Cissy even managed to warm the heart of ‘the devil himself’ her miserable grandaddy. Times were hard for Cissy, she faced prejudice and poverty but friendships and family helped her through.
A thoroughly enjoyable, heartwrenching novel but also full of joy and love, truly hard to put down!
Sandy Taylor grew up on a council estate near Brighton.
There were no books in the house, so Sandy’s love of the written word was
nurtured in the little local library.
Leaving school at fifteen, Sandy worked in a series of factories before landing a job at Butlins in Minehead.
This career change led her to becoming a singer, a stand-up comic and eventually a playwright and novelist.