The Orphanage Girls Reunited by Mary Wood

The Orphanage Girls Reunited by Mary Wood

A gritty and gripping  saga




Mary Wood never pulls her punches in her historical sagas – she knows life for many women was brutal, especially poor ones, and that even the well-to-do were often powerless in the face of a patriarachal society, well into the 20th century.

The first book in this trilogy, The Orphanage Girls, explored the fate of three young girls, Ellen, Ruth and Amy, bonded together by their harsh experience in an Edwardian orphanage in London.

This book picks up on that story, but is an easy stand-alone read, with the background filled in through the narrative so that a new reader will quickly pick up the threads.

This story concentrates on 11-year-old Ellen, who, having been consigned to the orphanage by her father, is abruptly removed by him and sent to live with her grandmother near Leeds.

The illegitimate child is confused and forlorn – why doesn’t her father love her? When she learns that her mother is a prostitute and that together she and her father have at least one other child, a young son, she is determined to track them down.

But for the moment she settles in Leeds, cared for and loved by her grandmother and housekeeper Dilly.

But her troubles aren’t over. There’s a cruel governess to deal with, and then a dreadful act of violence that recalls all the wicked abuse she suffered in the orphanage.

Despite her youth, Ellen must draw on all her strength and resources to overcome the trauma of the past.

As the years go on, she is reunited with Ruth, and the two forge fresh adventures on the battlefields of Flanders.

But they never forget Amy, sent off to Canada – the orphanage girls will never be fully reunited unless they can track her down.

This was not altogether an easy read. Some themes, while gritty and powerful, are also distressing,  with episodes of physical and sexual abuse, both recalled from the past and in the present narrative.

It leads to upsetting scenes of the traumatic effect it has on Ellen – her panic attacks are vividly described, and all too realistic.

But these scenes are very necessary to the story, giving the reader an opportunity to learn about the infancy of talking therapy for people with mental health problems.

Finding the emotional support she needs enables Ellen to rise above her past, and to begin to learn to trust again.

Themes of loneliness and abandonment pervade Ellen’s earlier story in the first few chapters, but as she grows stronger, the happier themes of family, friendship and romance come into their own, and this becomes an inspiring read.

There’s still tragedy to come, but as Ellen grows in strength and spirit, you just know that she’ll cope with what life throws at her.

The story completes satisfactorily, but there are a couple of tantalising threads from the very beginning of the series to be resolved in the third book.

I can’t wait to read it!


The Orphanage Girls Reunited by Mary Wood is published by Pan Macmillan in paperback and ebook

About the Author

Born the thirteenth child of fifteen to a middle-class mother and an East End barrow boy, Mary Wood’s childhood was a mixture of love and poverty. Throughout her life Mary has held various posts in office roles, working in the Probation services and bringing up her four children and numerous grandchildren, step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren. An avid reader, she first put pen to paper in 1989 whilst nursing her mother through her last months, but didn’t become successful until she began self-publishing her novels in 2011.

Her novels include All I Have to Give, An Unbreakable Bond, In Their Mother’s Footsteps and The Breckton Novels.

Find her on Facebook @MaryWoodAuthor

Visit her website here

Follow her on Twitter @AuthorMary


Thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on this blogtour and to publishers Pan MacMillan for the copy of the book.

Catch up with the rest of the blogtour at the links on the poster

  • Anne Cater
    Posted at 09:00h, 13 December Reply

    Thanks for the blog tour support x

  • Mary
    Posted at 09:00h, 14 December Reply

    Oh, Karen you have done me proud, thank you so much. Your insightful review is an amazing read and underpins all I try to convey in the lives of these girls. Thank you for all your support. I am going to run a comp whereby to gain a ticket in the draw my lovely followers come to your blog, read your review and leave a comment. I hope you are able to moderate them for me by tomorrow, thank you, much love, Mary x

    • Karen Byrom
      Posted at 10:00h, 14 December Reply

      Thank you so much, Mary. I really enjoyed reading this, and am looking forward to the third book.

  • Anna Saul
    Posted at 09:23h, 14 December Reply

    Great review I have just started it and I KNOW I am going to totally gripped by it

  • Chrissy Dawes
    Posted at 09:24h, 14 December Reply

    Fantastic blog

  • Karen Willis
    Posted at 09:31h, 14 December Reply

    Great review. Can’t wait to read it.

  • Pauline Totten
    Posted at 09:31h, 14 December Reply

    Great review next on my list of books to read

  • Kim Stevenson
    Posted at 09:33h, 14 December Reply

    I am loving this second book in the series, I am almost finished, loving every minute of it, what a great review I couldn’t have said it better, can’t wait already for book 3 x

  • Elaine Fryatt
    Posted at 09:35h, 14 December Reply

    Super review.

  • Elaine Stephen
    Posted at 09:36h, 14 December Reply

    Great review, you should write books!

  • Meena Kumari
    Posted at 09:37h, 14 December Reply

    Fabulous review

    • Karen Byrom
      Posted at 09:58h, 14 December Reply

      Aw, thank you so much. I love writing as well as reading, so maybe one day …

  • Lisa Crosbie
    Posted at 09:38h, 14 December Reply

    A brilliant book to read x

  • Dawn Etchells
    Posted at 09:38h, 14 December Reply

    Great review and if the first book is anything to go by, it will be an emotional journey.

  • Jacqueline Pennells
    Posted at 09:44h, 14 December Reply

    Great review. Really looking forward to reading it. Xx

  • Chapple Carolyn
    Posted at 09:45h, 14 December Reply

    Mary gives a great insight to how life was

  • Margaret Craw
    Posted at 09:51h, 14 December Reply

    Great review can’t wait to read this book hope Santa remembers my copy xxx

  • Sue Bellwood
    Posted at 10:01h, 14 December Reply

    Great review, and can’t wait to read it.
    Lovely blog!

  • Elizabeth Calder
    Posted at 11:05h, 14 December Reply

    Another brilliant review! I am looking forward to finding out what comes for the girls.

  • Ann Downing
    Posted at 14:06h, 14 December Reply

    A great review. I’m almost finished reading the book and loving it!

  • Beverley Ann Hopper
    Posted at 14:34h, 14 December Reply

    Brilliant thanks Karen

  • Carol Roberts
    Posted at 17:13h, 14 December Reply

    Sounds brilliant, can’t wait to read this one xx

  • Michelle Fraser
    Posted at 17:22h, 14 December Reply

    What a great review, I am looking forward to reading this new book by Mary Wood

  • Janice Campbell
    Posted at 21:25h, 14 December Reply

    A great review for Mary’s latest book

  • Anna Saul
    Posted at 12:38h, 15 December Reply

    Great review I am hooked and totally absorbed – tissues required early on

  • Sarah Lizzie
    Posted at 15:39h, 15 December Reply

    Thank you for sharing your great review – fabulous blog! xx

  • Elaine Fryatt
    Posted at 16:00h, 15 December Reply

    Great review, the book sounds great.

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