The Paper Bracelet is an emotional story inspired by true life events. I am sure many people are aware of mother and baby homes where young women, in years gone by, were sent to have their babies if they were pregnant and unmarried. Conditions were often harsh and babies were removed from women without their consent.
This book looks at the story from the point of view of Katie, a former nurse at the fictional mother and baby home Carrigbrack, in the west of Ireland. Katie has recently lost her husband and begins to take stock of her life. While Katie worked at the home as a young nurse, she tried to make life a little easier for the women there and kept a record of many of the babies who were born there. Completely against the rules, she kept the paper bracelets for each child which recorded very basic details about them. Now, with the help of her beloved niece Beth, she becomes determined to reunite the bracelets with the babies and ultimately their mothers.
As I mentioned at the beginning, what makes this book a very emotionally engaging read was the fact that any of these stories could be true as all these kind of events did take place. By focusing on a few particular cases, the author made me feel very connected to the characters and eager for them to find a resolution. As I’m sure happened in real life, we see that not all the stories have a happy ending. Some searches are unsuccessful, some mothers do not want reunited with their children having hidden their past from their families, sometimes it is too late and a reunion cannot happen because of a death. But there are some mothers who were desperate to hear from their children and overjoyed to have contact again and it was those particular stories which I found so poignant to read about.
The Paper Bracelet was a very moving story which at times was upsetting to read, particularly when reading about the treatment of the women in the home, but at other times was joyful. The author told this story with great sensitivity and in my opinion perfectly balances the heart-breaking strands of the story with the heart-warming aspects. I found The Paper Bracelet an engaging, thought-provoking and compelling read.
My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part in the tour and to the publishers for my review copy of the book from Netgalley. The Paper Bracelet is available now as an ebook and will be published by Headline on 9th July. Please support an independent bookshop if you can. Alternatively you will find buying options on the Headline website here: The Paper Bracelet
From the back of the book
Every baby’s bracelet held a mother’s secret…
Inspired by heartrending real events, the gripping new novel from No. 1 bestselling author Rachael English. Readers of Diane Chamberlain and Kathryn Hughes will love this book.
For almost fifty years, Katie has kept a box of secrets.
It dates from her time working as a nurse in a west of Ireland mother and baby home, and contains a notebook with details of the babies and young women she met there. It also holds many of the babies’ identity bracelets.
Following the death of her husband, Katie makes a decision she has long kept at bay. She posts a message on an internet forum, knowing that the information she possesses could help reunite adopted people with their birth mothers.
Soon, the replies are rolling in, and Katie encounters success, failure, heartache and joy as she finds herself in the role of part-detective, part-counsellor – chasing down leads, piecing together stories, and returning many of the bracelets to their original owners.
But there is one bracelet in the box that holds the key to a story that may never be told …
The Paper Bracelet is a gripping and moving story of secrets, lies and a love that never dies.
About the author – in her own words
I’m the author of five novels (so far): Going Back which was shortlisted for the most-promising newcomer award at the Irish Book Awards, Each and Every One, The American Girl, which was a number one bestseller in Ireland, The Night of the Party and The Paper Bracelet.
Like many authors, I also have a day job. I’m a presenter on the RTE radio programme, Morning Ireland.
If you’d like to get in touch, I’d be delighted to hear from you. You can find me on Twitter: @EnglishRachael or on Facebook: Facebook.com/RachaelEnglishwriter