What It’s About:
In 1859, women have few rights, even to their own children. When her husband dies and her children become wards of a predator, Martha—bereaved and scared—flees their beloved country home taking the children with her to squalor of New York City. She soon finds herself nearly destitute.
The Home for the Friendless, an aid society, offers free food, clothing, and schooling to New York’s street kids. Martha takes the children to the Home for what she thinks is short-term care. Martha discovers that the Society has indentured her two eldest out to work in New York and Illinois via the Orphan Train, and has placed her two youngest for permanent adoption in Ohio. Martha begs for her children back, but the Society refuses. Rather than succumb—the Civil War erupting around her—Martha sets out to reclaim each of them.Goodreads
Thank you to Sibylline Press and Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I was pleasantly surprised with The Bereaved. My absolute favorite part is that this book was based on the author’s family history. At the end of the book, the author explains what started her on her journey and the resources she used to uncover her family history. Historical fiction books are my favorite because they take people, places, and events from history and build a full story that transports you to that time. It makes learning about history so much fun. There was another historical fiction novel I read this year that was also inspired by the author’s family history, you can check it out here.
The Bereaved span the years of 1859 – 1866, mostly set in New York City. The author did an amazing job with building the setting and characters. There was alot of detail in the book, but the pacing of the story still moved along at a steady pace. I learned interesting things about the Orphan Train and the conditions of living in New York during that time period. It was eye opening to read about what life was like for widowed women and children to survive. There were a few moments that I teared up, which is not something I do often.
Historical fiction about women trying to survive in a patriarchal society are some of my favorite books. I love to compare and contrast what the women are experiencing in the book with what I experience in modern day. If you are interested in these types of books, check out some of my other reviews below!