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The Workhouse Children

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Tears and tribulations, laughs and heartbreak, from an exciting new talent. Perfect for the fans of Jo Cox and Lyn Andrews. When Cara Flowers' beloved grandmother dies she leaves her not only an enormous fortune but also a huge responsibility – to find their estranged family. Cara's quest leads her to the doors of the imposing Bilston workhouse where families are torn Tears and tribulations, laughs and heartbreak, from an exciting new talent. Perfect for the fans of Jo Cox and Lyn Andrews. When Cara Flowers' beloved grandmother dies she leaves her not only an enormous fortune but also a huge responsibility – to find their estranged family. Cara's quest leads her to the doors of the imposing Bilston workhouse where families are torn apart with no hope of a better life. Shocked by the appalling conditions, Cara vows to find a way to close the workhouse and rescue its residents. Fraught by countless hurdles her mission becomes personal when she is left asking why was she raised by her grandmother, and what has her missing mother got to do with the looming workhouse?


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Tears and tribulations, laughs and heartbreak, from an exciting new talent. Perfect for the fans of Jo Cox and Lyn Andrews. When Cara Flowers' beloved grandmother dies she leaves her not only an enormous fortune but also a huge responsibility – to find their estranged family. Cara's quest leads her to the doors of the imposing Bilston workhouse where families are torn Tears and tribulations, laughs and heartbreak, from an exciting new talent. Perfect for the fans of Jo Cox and Lyn Andrews. When Cara Flowers' beloved grandmother dies she leaves her not only an enormous fortune but also a huge responsibility – to find their estranged family. Cara's quest leads her to the doors of the imposing Bilston workhouse where families are torn apart with no hope of a better life. Shocked by the appalling conditions, Cara vows to find a way to close the workhouse and rescue its residents. Fraught by countless hurdles her mission becomes personal when she is left asking why was she raised by her grandmother, and what has her missing mother got to do with the looming workhouse?

30 review for The Workhouse Children

  1. 4 out of 5

    Care

    A simple, one-dimensional novel on an often overlooked aspect of English history. Cara Flowers inherits a fortune and a mission when her grandmother dies - a mission to find the rest of her family. Along the way she gains more perspective into the local workhouse where conditions are dire and people are struggling with nowhere to go. Guided by a strong sense of justice, Cara starts a crusade to help the poor of the town of Bilston, rescuing and rehousing the homeless and the workhouse's oppresse A simple, one-dimensional novel on an often overlooked aspect of English history. Cara Flowers inherits a fortune and a mission when her grandmother dies - a mission to find the rest of her family. Along the way she gains more perspective into the local workhouse where conditions are dire and people are struggling with nowhere to go. Guided by a strong sense of justice, Cara starts a crusade to help the poor of the town of Bilston, rescuing and rehousing the homeless and the workhouse's oppressed. While the topic of the novel is interesting and deserves more attention in literature, The Workhouse Children unfortunately fails to stun. The novel spans what seems to be at least a couple years, but fails to realistically portray that passage of time or encourage the reader to believe it. The characters lack depth and nuance - each character seems fitted into a specific personality type with no room for growth, and the decisions characters make sometimes seem to come out of nowhere. They are also not portrayed particularly realistically - it seems unlikely that an heiress, upon her grandmother's death, would immediately become best friends with her maid and cook to the point where they seem to do little work or that it is so simple to rehouse impoverished, starving families in dilapidated houses. Characters' emotional states seem boiled down and simplistic, with reactions being described with no particular finesse. The novel also seems to gloss over many things, and the premise of Cara having enough money to do everything she does (help several families and individuals subsist for at least a short period, purchase large swaths of land, etc.) without having to worry much about the sustainability of her projects seem infeasible. All in all, I found it particularly difficult to buy into the premise of the novel and truly enjoy the writing. While covering an interesting topic, not a very engaging or realistic work of historical fiction. Thanks to the publisher for a digital copy!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sonya Heaney

    I am interested in the subject matter of this book, and have recently been reading a bit about the working classes of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. And so I requested The Workhouse Children for review. While the research was very well done, the story was tell instead of show, making it hard to care about the characters. If you are reading this book to get a peek into life a century and a bit ago, there is plenty of information here. There’re lots of little details that were researched well. I I am interested in the subject matter of this book, and have recently been reading a bit about the working classes of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. And so I requested The Workhouse Children for review. While the research was very well done, the story was tell instead of show, making it hard to care about the characters. If you are reading this book to get a peek into life a century and a bit ago, there is plenty of information here. There’re lots of little details that were researched well. I also appreciated the use of a real place as the setting, and enjoyed doing some research of my own as I read. I only wish I cared about the characters. Perhaps some of my issues with the story come from the fact different genres focus on different things. Romance is often a more emotional genre than women’s or historical fiction (this book is historical women’s fiction), and the reader experiences feelings and reactions alongside the characters. I found here that I was watching people experience things from afar. I know I tend to go overboard with commas when I type, but the lack of commas in this book sometimes made it a struggle to comprehend. For example: I had to go with John on the cart until you were born Charlie. This was an editing issue that should have been dealt with in the publication process. So, if you’re looking for a book that’s heavy on the history, you might enjoy this. However, if you’re looking to connect with the characters, you might struggle a bit. Review copy provided by NetGalley.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jantine

    I received a free copy through Netgalley, in return for an honest review. This book is, unfortunately, a DNF. The writing is what we Dutch call 'houterig'. The sentences are often too long and crammed with information, like it has to be told, even while this background could've been shown in other ways. It read like 'this happened. We are now here. It is called like this because of ... This happens, then this happens. Two weeks later this happens, a week later this happens.' The story read like a I received a free copy through Netgalley, in return for an honest review. This book is, unfortunately, a DNF. The writing is what we Dutch call 'houterig'. The sentences are often too long and crammed with information, like it has to be told, even while this background could've been shown in other ways. It read like 'this happened. We are now here. It is called like this because of ... This happens, then this happens. Two weeks later this happens, a week later this happens.' The story read like a flat, emotionless thing, while this part of English history should've been full of emotions. The book was totally not right somehow, so I couldn't manage to read on.

  4. 5 out of 5

    maria seilius

    Oh dear ! I have mixed feelings about this novel . On the one hand the story itself is basically a good one . On the other hand though, it just does not read as believable in any way shape or form . Fiction by its definition does not need to be true , however it does need to read as if it is . Unfortunately this book fails to do this . I did enjoy the storyline but struggled with the actual writing and I will not be reading anything else by this author .

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anne Wilson

    I gave it the minimum 1 star for the premise. It should have been a good story but it was so poorly written it was a waste of my time

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shirley Revill

    Really enjoyed this story. Very well written. Easy to read and hard to put down. Recommended.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    I was rather disappointed with this book after it was recommended to me by a friend. Although it has a nice idea - a young naive girl of 19 inherits money and property and aided by a few ex servants sets out to rescue and rehabilitate the occupants of the badly run workhouse. It was all so unlikely and so many things just fell into place so easily that I couldn't believe in the story or characters. She keeps on buying derelict properties, taking families ground down by poverty and putting them i I was rather disappointed with this book after it was recommended to me by a friend. Although it has a nice idea - a young naive girl of 19 inherits money and property and aided by a few ex servants sets out to rescue and rehabilitate the occupants of the badly run workhouse. It was all so unlikely and so many things just fell into place so easily that I couldn't believe in the story or characters. She keeps on buying derelict properties, taking families ground down by poverty and putting them in these uninhabitable hovels and suddenly they manage to become master builders and astute businessmen and women overnight and turn them into warm and loving well run communities!! Too far fetched, trite and mawkishly sentimental for my liking.

  8. 5 out of 5

    The Badger

    The author lists “reading” as a hobby. Less than two chapters in, I would presume that most of us wish the farthest she’d ever strayed from “reading” was calligraphy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Linda Lpp

    I found reading about the strength of Cara Flowers the protagonist refreshing. For the time period with widespread unemployment and poverty Cara rose to the challenge laid out to her by her recently deceased dear grandmother. After all she was a grieving, very young woman left seemingly alone in this world. But all that she accomplished, all the odds she faced and overcame added to the charm of the book. This was one story I was sad to see end.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Akemi

    I enjoyed this book until about the last 4 chapters. It vilified one of my favourite characters, and became overwhelmingly predictable.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

    The Workhouse Children is a debut novel by Lindsey Hutchinson. It is 1901 in the small town of Bilston (which is in the industrial West Midlands). Cara Flower’s grandmother, Henrietta Selby, has just passed away, and left Cara very well off (house and money). Her grandmother left a letter for Cara giving her the task of looking for any lost relatives and to care for them. This is puzzling to Cara who believed she had no other family. Cara had been raised by her grandmother, and she would never s The Workhouse Children is a debut novel by Lindsey Hutchinson. It is 1901 in the small town of Bilston (which is in the industrial West Midlands). Cara Flower’s grandmother, Henrietta Selby, has just passed away, and left Cara very well off (house and money). Her grandmother left a letter for Cara giving her the task of looking for any lost relatives and to care for them. This is puzzling to Cara who believed she had no other family. Cara had been raised by her grandmother, and she would never speak about Cara’s parents. It turns out that Cara’s mother, Elizabeth married someone inappropriate causing an estrangement. Martin Lander, the family solicitor, suggests that Cara check the Bilston workhouse. Cara is shocked by the conditions in the workhouse and how it is managed by the Master and Matron (Fred and Ada Tulley). She does, though, find her thirteen-year-old brother, Charlie. There is a sister, Daisy, but Fred Tulley had sold her as a servant (and pocketed the money). It seems Fred and Ada are doing everything possible to run the workhouse cheaply so they will have extra money (so they can live comfortably). Cara sets out to empty the workhouse and make it obsolete (after finding Daisy). But the local Magistrate of Bilston, Joseph Purcell (as well as the Tulley’s) is not happy with Cara’s plans. Will Cara succeed with her mission? Will Cara be able to find out what happened to her parents and why they did not raise her? The Workhouse Children is nicely written and easy to read. I did find The Workhouse Children to be an uplifting, sweet story (unrealistic, but a good read). It would be lovely if there were more people like Cara in this world. I did enjoy reading how Cara tackled the problem of the workhouse and discovered her family history. I give The Workhouse Children 3.5 out of 5 stars. I did find that the author would sometimes go into a little too much detail with her descriptions (it bogs down the story). The Workhouse Children is a British novel so it contains British expressions and slang (must of them can be figured out). I did find some information to be repeated (do authors think we forget things one chapter to the next). The story is told from different viewpoints which can be confusing (I wish the author had stuck with the third person point-of-view). The Workhouse Children could do with a little editing (just a little too long). The Workhouse Children is a good first book and the story will linger in your mind long after you finish it. Ms. Hutchinson’s next book The Wives’ Revenge.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    2.5 stars rounded to 3 stars. I gave this book 3 stars because I did enjoy the storyline and found it interesting learning about the workhouse, the conditions in which the 'inmates' lived and how they ended up living there. However, as other reviewers have mentioned, there was a lot which happened in the novel which did not seem believable---not the descriptions and conditions of the workhouse---but the life and actions of the heroine, Cara Flowers. After her grandmother's death, Cara finds out 2.5 stars rounded to 3 stars. I gave this book 3 stars because I did enjoy the storyline and found it interesting learning about the workhouse, the conditions in which the 'inmates' lived and how they ended up living there. However, as other reviewers have mentioned, there was a lot which happened in the novel which did not seem believable---not the descriptions and conditions of the workhouse---but the life and actions of the heroine, Cara Flowers. After her grandmother's death, Cara finds out that she may have siblings she knew nothing about. She herself is 19 years old and has lived nearly her entire life raised by her grandmother. She has no memory of her mother or father. She sets out to find other possible family members and the first person she finds is her 12 year old brother, Charlie, who lives in the workhouse. After discovering the horrid conditions of the workhouse, she sets out to find ways to help the people there as well as continue her search for other family members which she has found out includes a younger sister named Daisy. In the course of her involvement in helping the people at the workhouse, she works with an attorney, Martin Landers. A romantic relationship evolves between them. I won't go any further into the plot to avoid spoiling for others. However, I felt that too many circumstances fell into place too easily in the story. At the beginning of the novel, Cara is 19 years old but the reader is not really given any information as to how she learned how to run her grandmother's business or even how it is run although we are reminded often how wealthy she is. There is not much depth to her character beyond her efforts on behalf of the workhouse situation. Even the romantic relationship never seems very real.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lucy-Bookworm

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Whilst quite typical of its genre, I found The Workhouse Children well researched in terms of the historical fact and location (it is set in the West Midlands, around the Wolverhampton area) The story line was a bit far fetched & idealistic in terms of the amounts of money that would have been involved but that didn't stop it being an enjoyable read. Basically, the story centres around Cara Flowers, who was raised by her grandmother. Grandmother dies, leaving Cara a small fortune, a house & a let Whilst quite typical of its genre, I found The Workhouse Children well researched in terms of the historical fact and location (it is set in the West Midlands, around the Wolverhampton area) The story line was a bit far fetched & idealistic in terms of the amounts of money that would have been involved but that didn't stop it being an enjoyable read. Basically, the story centres around Cara Flowers, who was raised by her grandmother. Grandmother dies, leaving Cara a small fortune, a house & a letter tasking her with finding and then looking after any further relatives. Cara is puzzled but sets about finding out her own background & discovering relatives she was unaware of. She finds them in the Workhouse where she is appalled by the conditions & the rest of the book tells of how she uses her money to improve the lot of the workhouse inmates through her philanthropy. I did feel that the solicitor suggesting she checks the workhouse was a bit too "convenient" for the story - surely there should have been some more searching, adverts in the paper etc first - I would have loved to see a bit more of a traditional search for these mysterious long lost relatives before the suggestion of checking the workhouse! Overall I enjoyed the book, and it kept me wanting to read till the end - I now want to find out "what happened next"

  14. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    I have mixed feelings about this book. Overall I liked the story, but much of the story was a bit of a stretch for me. Our protagonist is 19 years old and has been pretty much been taken care of her entire life. When her grandmother dies, she is suddenly very wealthy and tasked with finding family she never knew she had. One of the most unbelievable parts for me was how everything worked out so well for Cara. She wanted to buy buildings, not only was she able to buy them, but she suddenly had th I have mixed feelings about this book. Overall I liked the story, but much of the story was a bit of a stretch for me. Our protagonist is 19 years old and has been pretty much been taken care of her entire life. When her grandmother dies, she is suddenly very wealthy and tasked with finding family she never knew she had. One of the most unbelievable parts for me was how everything worked out so well for Cara. She wanted to buy buildings, not only was she able to buy them, but she suddenly had the business acumen to get them for a great deal. She was able to create all these jobs and everyone prospered. I could not fully accept that an area that was so poor, was so easy to build back up in a relatively short time line. I do totally get that most people when given a chance can prosper, but in our story it was almost instant. They get a house, no more problems. An aspect of the book I did not like was the foreshadowing, little comments at the end to intrigue us, but really unnecessary. There were not any real surprises in the story, even though she did try to put a twist at the end. It became obvious to me what the ending would be early on. It is obviously a happy ending, but not a surprise ending.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jim Sibigtroth

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I liked this but I think it would be best for more mature readers say in high school. The first chapter goes into rather graphic detail about a horrific beating by an abusive husband and it is witnessed by two small children. There is also a murder, a sexual assault, and and a sex scene by an unfaithful fiancee. Although these make this inappropriate for young readers, they are not what the book is mostly about. The main message is about the remarkable accomplishments of a young woman of 17-18 ye I liked this but I think it would be best for more mature readers say in high school. The first chapter goes into rather graphic detail about a horrific beating by an abusive husband and it is witnessed by two small children. There is also a murder, a sexual assault, and and a sex scene by an unfaithful fiancee. Although these make this inappropriate for young readers, they are not what the book is mostly about. The main message is about the remarkable accomplishments of a young woman of 17-18 years old, who changes the lives of the poorest people in her town. She outwits public officials, gets the poorest of the poor out of the workhouse, off the bread lines, and into productive jobs, and transforms whole neighborhoods in a depressed town where many collieries and businesses have gone out of business.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Jones

    I wanted to like this book, but between the one dimensional characters I couldn't find myself caring about at all, the events which were one after another so far removed from anything approaching "could maybe happen," and the little errors that I found more distracting than forgettable (at the start of the book, the kids were two years apart, further on they were a single year apart and then two years apart again?) I just couldn't. I like a lot of fluffier historical fiction, the kind that can h I wanted to like this book, but between the one dimensional characters I couldn't find myself caring about at all, the events which were one after another so far removed from anything approaching "could maybe happen," and the little errors that I found more distracting than forgettable (at the start of the book, the kids were two years apart, further on they were a single year apart and then two years apart again?) I just couldn't. I like a lot of fluffier historical fiction, the kind that can have events that are dubious or beyond average luck, but this just took it to a level that wasn't enjoyable.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Louraine Millington

    Workhouses I didn’t like reading this novel, it made me think of my great aunt Annie who was also in a Workhouse in 1910 in East Stonehouse, Plymouth, Devon, because she was an epileptic. She died in there at the age of 18 with a severe epidemic attack, her mother beside her who was not an inmate. I’d hate to think Aunt Annie had gone through all this. The novel itself is a great read. I only hope that not all workhouses were as terrifying as this on has been described. My family still haven’t b Workhouses I didn’t like reading this novel, it made me think of my great aunt Annie who was also in a Workhouse in 1910 in East Stonehouse, Plymouth, Devon, because she was an epileptic. She died in there at the age of 18 with a severe epidemic attack, her mother beside her who was not an inmate. I’d hate to think Aunt Annie had gone through all this. The novel itself is a great read. I only hope that not all workhouses were as terrifying as this on has been described. My family still haven’t been able to find where Annie was buried due to the bombing in WW11, thankfully Liza knew where her daughter was buried which helps bring closure.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I bought this as an e-book long ago but couldn't get into it because of the style of writing - particularly the excessive use of the present continuous tense. ("doing words ending in "ing"). I found it in my collection recently and tried again. I managed a lot more but had to give up, read the final chapter and piece together the plot by searching the e-book for the names mentioned there. I concluded the that the plot is excellent. It would make a good TV drama. What a shame about the style. I won I bought this as an e-book long ago but couldn't get into it because of the style of writing - particularly the excessive use of the present continuous tense. ("doing words ending in "ing"). I found it in my collection recently and tried again. I managed a lot more but had to give up, read the final chapter and piece together the plot by searching the e-book for the names mentioned there. I concluded the that the plot is excellent. It would make a good TV drama. What a shame about the style. I won't chose another of this author's novels I'm afraid!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Thebrit

    I'm not sure why I chose three stars, I don't really think it was worth more than two. There were several grammatical mistakes and the story was nice but too nice, no one could organize all the things Cara did in such a short time and have nothing go wrong. What surprised me most was the frequent usage of the term "wench". I always thought that described a girl of those times and earlier, waiting tables in a bar, not something you would call a friend. I'm not sure why I chose three stars, I don't really think it was worth more than two. There were several grammatical mistakes and the story was nice but too nice, no one could organize all the things Cara did in such a short time and have nothing go wrong. What surprised me most was the frequent usage of the term "wench". I always thought that described a girl of those times and earlier, waiting tables in a bar, not something you would call a friend.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emma Hickman

    Fantastic novel I really enjoyed reading this book the main female character was highly likeable and I really enjoyed reading how the story unfolded it was sad at times and sometimes with some tense situations and it is really an easy read. I look forward to reading more from this author.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Virginia Catsoulas

    It was a good book. Cara never stopped in her mission to help the unfortunate. She inherited wealth from her Grandmother and used it unselfishly helping others. Workhouses existed and she brought out the abuses people suffered. There is nothing worse than not having a voice and to be abused or forgotten.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Betty

    This book tells of life in a small English town around the turn of the twentieth century. A young girl is charged by her grandmother's will to find the rest of her family. She finds her brother in the work house. What she sees there leads to her using her inheritance to make changes in the town. Is there more family? Read and find out. This book tells of life in a small English town around the turn of the twentieth century. A young girl is charged by her grandmother's will to find the rest of her family. She finds her brother in the work house. What she sees there leads to her using her inheritance to make changes in the town. Is there more family? Read and find out.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    Workhouse children Not satisfied with the ending. It seems as if most of the men in this book turns into black guards and adulterers. I expected a sweet romance but was disappointed. I like that Cars goes around doing good deeds but surely she should find someone who supports her passion not just wants to take her money.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Furney

    Very sensitive subject matter brought to life with historical context that I can only assume the worst, in that the Victorian era and even later, assume humanity, albeit throwaway humanity should be dealt with. I feel this author did a wonderful job at bringing one family's plight into prospective. Our society should take care not to allow these things to ever happen again. Very sensitive subject matter brought to life with historical context that I can only assume the worst, in that the Victorian era and even later, assume humanity, albeit throwaway humanity should be dealt with. I feel this author did a wonderful job at bringing one family's plight into prospective. Our society should take care not to allow these things to ever happen again.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Loretta Libhart

    The book had a good story line and provided some feel good entertainment. However, it lacked depth, realism, and historical grounding. As life is heavy right now, it was okay to take a spin around a tale with easy, positive outcomes for distressed people. Not likely to read more by this author.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marc Clegg

    A 1at for this author and loved it I really enjoyed this book, since reading Beezy Marsh books I have grown a real interest in these books, if you like kitty neals and Gilda O Neil you will love Lindsey hutchinson. A touching heartwarming story of a family hit with tragedy but all ends well in the end

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emma Brierley

    A real page turner I loved this book. Beautiful and endearing and a fabulous read. Cannot wait to see more from this author.... would like a second book following this family please. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joan A. Watkins

    Amazing story LOL what story ! So well written so real makes you feel you're right in the middle of everything . It was very sad and then it was very happy . It's a must read . So read and enjoy . Very hard to put down Amazing story LOL what story ! So well written so real makes you feel you're right in the middle of everything . It was very sad and then it was very happy . It's a must read . So read and enjoy . Very hard to put down

  29. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    All in all, I would call this an enjoyable read. It certainly has it's share of colorful characters! I do not know if the story is entirely believable, but it was fun to read and I would definitely try reading another of Lindsey Hutchinson's books. All in all, I would call this an enjoyable read. It certainly has it's share of colorful characters! I do not know if the story is entirely believable, but it was fun to read and I would definitely try reading another of Lindsey Hutchinson's books.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stanley S Sutton

    Interesting But Sometimes Boring! T enjoyed this book and the storyline was interesting but at time the story became bogged down and I found myself skipping ahead. That is the reason I only gave it three stars.

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