Thursday 9 July 2020

The Paper Bracelet by Rachael English BLOG TOUR @EnglishRachael @headlinepg #ThePaperBracelet @RandomTTours

For almost fifty years, Katie Carroll has kept a box tucked away inside her wardrobe. It dates from her time working as a nurse in a west of Ireland home for unwed mothers in the 1970s. The box contains a notebook holding the 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. The information she possesses could help reunite adopted people with their birth mothers, and she decides to post a message on an internet forum. Soon the replies are rolling in, and Katie finds herself returning many of the bracelets to their original owners. She encounters success and failure, heartbreak and joy. But is she prepared for old secrets to be uncovered in her own life?

The Paper Bracelet by Rachael English is published in paperback today, 9 July 2020 by Headline. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour.

The Paper Bracelet is a fiction story inspired by true events. I don't think there are many people who are unaware of the terrible and horrifying things that happened to unmarried mothers in Ireland. There have been news reports, and films and books written about this subject, detailing the absolute cruelty dished out to these women.

Rachael English has written a story within The Paper Bracelet that looks at the events through different eyes.

Katie Carroll worked as a nurse for many years at a one of the homes for unwed mothers. During her time there she kept the paper bracelets that the babies born at the home wore, along with a notebook recording details of the women and their babies. Now retired and recently widowed, Katie feels that it's time to try to return these bracelets; to track down those babies.

The reader is also told the story of Patricia, one of the mothers in the home way back then, and it is through Patricia that the real horrors and cruelties are laid bare.

An especially interesting addition to the story is that of the stories of some of those babies; adopted and moved throughout the world, Racheal English gives them all a unique identity, each one of them dealing with life in different ways.

This is, at times, quite heartbreaking to read, it also evoked a lot of anger in me. My own mother was an Irish single mother in the 1960s, I was her baby, and she fought hard to keep me. Sadly, for the majority of unwed pregnant women in Ireland, they didn't get that opportunity and the effects have been long lasting and shameful for the country.

The Paper Bracelet is sensitively and respectfully written by this skilled author. It is a story that shouldn't be hidden away, ever. 

Rachael English is a bestselling novelist and presenter on Ireland's most popular radio show, Morning Ireland. 

During more than twenty years as a journalist, she has worked on most of RTÉ Radio's leading current affairs programmes, covering a huge range of national and international stories.

Author page on Facebook

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