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Title: Children’s Fate
Author: Carolyn Hughes
Publisher: Riverdown Books
Genre: Historical, Thriller
Format Read: Paperback
Thank you to Carolyn Hughes and Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to read this book in the exchange for an honest review as part of Children’s Fate Blog Tour!
Plot Outline: How can a mother just stand by when her daughter is being cozened into sin?
It’s 1360, eleven years since the Black Death devastated all of England, and six years since Emma Ward fled Meonbridge with her children, to find a more prosperous life in Winchester. Long satisfied that she’d made the right decision, Emma is now terrified that she was wrong. For she’s convinced her daughter Bea is in grave danger, being exploited by her scheming and immoral mistress.
Bea herself is confused: fearful and ashamed of her sudden descent into sin, but also thrilled by her wealthy and attentive client.
When Emma resolves to rescue Bea from ruin and tricks her into returning to Meonbridge, Bea doesn’t at first suspect her mother’s motives. She is happy to renew her former friendships but, yearning for her rich lover, Bea soon absconds back to the city. Yet, only months later, plague is stalking Winchester again and, in terror, Bea flees once more to Meonbridge.
But, this time, she finds herself unwelcome, and fear, hostility and hatred threaten…
Terror, betrayal and deceit, but also love and courage, in a time of continuing change and challenge – Children’s Fate, the fourth MEONBRIDGE CHRONICLE.
Review: I have to say straight away, that this book blew me away! Children’s Fate was the best book I read throughout the whole of 2020. I was so sad when I got to the end of the book, and I am pestering my partner to buy me the other books in the chronicle for Valentines day!
Children’s Fate is a well thought-out and researched book that takes you through different aspects and view points of living after the Plague had rocked a community to its core.
Imagine losing two husbands and a few of your children, either from the Plague or another awful occurrence and deciding to make a new life for yourself in a new town so that your surviving children could have a better life. Well, that’s what Emma did. Emma Ward took her two daughters, Bea and Ami and her son, Bart to Winchester to start a new life. Things were going well when a few years after moving to Winchester, Emma was a weaver in a mill, and Bea was in an apprenticeship with an embroideress. But things are not as they seem…
Bea’s mistress, Mistress Brouderer was also running a side line of ‘keeping company with rich men‘ (if you get my drift). In some chapters, we see one of her apprentices being asked to send a package of embroidery to a client, who is then forced to stay there and have relations with that client. Shortly after this, the apprentice leaves Mistress Brouderer and goes back home, where a friend of Emma’s lives next door.
I am not going to lie, I really disliked Mistress Brouderer to the high heaven. She used and abused her apprentices, and knowing the information about her side line work, I was sure that Bea was going to follow the same line of trouble. A few chapters on, Bea is also paired with a client (under the disguise of delivering a package) called Master Marchaunt, and she starts to see this client regularly, whilst stopping her visits to her mother.
Needless to stay, when Emma figures out what is going on, she takes her children back to Meonbridge to start a new life back with her old friends. Now, I loved this part as the community all came around Emma and her family and accepted them back into their fold, with offers of a home and jobs to boot.
As Bea found her feet back in Meonbridge, she goes back to her old habit and starts to sleep with those boys near her age. I was so frustrated with Bea during these chapters, as she had the chance to re-start her life; there was a young boy, Tom Miller, who would have been a perfect marriage proposal! But no, she decided to sleep with everyone, and then she went and left Meonbridge without telling a soul to see Master Marchaunt back in Winchester.
Towards the end of the book, the story line was absolutely fantastic! All loose ends were rounded up really well, and there were some chapters that focused on the lives of others within the village, which deepened the characterisation of them all. Without those chapters, the ending for the book wouldn’t have been as strong.
Overall, if you need a good book to curl up with prompto, this book will seriously be the one you have been waiting for!
About The Author:
CAROLYN HUGHES was born in London, but has lived most of her life in Hampshire. After completing a degree in Classics and English, she started her working life as a computer programmer, in those days a very new profession. But it was when she discovered technical authoring that she knew she had found her vocation. She spent the next few decades writing and editing all sorts of material, some fascinating, some dull, for a wide variety of clients, including an international hotel group, medical instrument manufacturers and the government.
She has written creatively for most of her adult life, but it was not until her children grew up and flew the nest several years ago that writing historical fiction took centre stage in her life. She has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Portsmouth University and a PhD from the University of Southampton.
Children’s Fate is the fourth novel in the MEONBRIDGE CHRONICLES series. A fifth novel is under way.
You can connect with Carolyn through her website and social media:
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Happy Reading, x