Rating: 4/5 stars
Published: April 1st 2018 by Aria
Genre(s): Fiction; Mystery; Thriller
Pages: 466 (eARC – Kindle)
“First in a gripping new thriller series featuring investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil. If you love Broadchurch you’ll be completely hooked.
TV journalist and media darling Oonagh O’Neil can sense a sinister coverup from the moment an elderly priest dies on the altar of his Glasgow church. His death comes as she is about to expose the shocking truth behind the closure of a Magdalene Institution. The Church has already tried to suppress the story. Is someone also covering their tracks?
DI Alec Davies is appointed to investigate the priest’s death. He and Oonagh go way back. Oonagh now faces the biggest decision of her life. But will it be hers to make? What secrets lie behind the derelict Institution’s doors? What sparked the infamous three-day riot that closed it? And what happened to the three Maggies who vowed to stay friends forever? From Ireland to Scotland. From life to death.”
This is one of those books that I requested on a whim from the publisher on NetGalley. I’ve been having a lot more of these urges lately but so far it’s looking good. I’ve been able to schedule and commit to eARCs to the best of my ability. Seriously, how in the world do you bookworms out there cope with the urge to tap away on those Request buttons?! Now, on to the review!
Oonagh O’Neil is collecting information and doing a research for her show featuring the Magdalene Institution. It was a place where girls shunned by society are put. A lot of scandals and whispers surround the Magdalene Institution and how the girls in there were mistreated. Apparently, that wasn’t the worst of it and Oonagh was getting close to the truth. However, Father Kennedy died as Oonagh was about to find out more about the Magdalene Institution from him, and this is where readers embark on an adventure with Oonagh.
To make sense of the mystery surrounding Magdalene Institution, the author takes us back to the time where that place was up and running and one chapter introduced us to Irene Connolly and the events leading up to her admission to the Magdalene Institution. She was raped by father who was a doctor, a respectable man in the community and subsequently got pregnant and gave birth. To readers dismay and rage, she was raped again afterwards and got pregnant again. The first time, her mother thought she was just being a wild teenager but this time the mother had to see what was happening because Irene hadn’t left the house since the first pregnancy and there was only one man in the house. Then, the worst happened: Irene’s mother refused to acknowledge the truth even if she could see it, which left Irene alone with no one to trust. Except maybe one: Father Kennedy. So she ran to him. Then the rest was history. Father Kennedy advised Irene’s parents to admit her to the Magdalene Institution. This was just one girl’s story.
What are the chances that I stumbled upon yet another book inspired by true events? Glasgow Magdalene Institution and the three-day‘ riot’ (aka inmates breaking out) told in this book were real. It was closed in 1958 following an inquiry into ill-treatments of the inmates. However, no one was ever held accountable for the mistreatments and abuse the girls had to go through. Unlike in The Lost Children, the Magdalene Institution wasn’t run by the Catholic Church, rather they raised enough funds from the commercial laundry that the inmates worked in.
The Lost Children is a book of tragedies. Towards the end of it, I was struggling to see more to it. If anything, the author makes me count my blessings. The true evil in this book is not where people would think. Everyone is hiding something.
Somehow, I think this book is missing an essence that is crucial in delivering the story of awful secrets kept, hence the 4 instead of 5 stars. It’s probably because it’s mostly told from the perspective of an investigative journalist trying to unearth the truth instead of the people actually suffering through the injustice. Still, Theresa Talbot did a respectable job in shedding light to history and in making readers more aware of the cruel things happening out there. The Lost Children is a whole lot different to Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate, despite practically surrounding the same issues. Theresa Talbot directs readers to focus on mothers wronged instead of children stolen as in Before We Were Yours.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy via NetGalley. All opinions are my own and are based on the uncorrected reader’s proof version.
Content warning(s): Rape, pedophilia, domestic violence
This book ticks off item(s) from my reading challenges this year!
✅ 7: A book set in a country that fascinates you (2018 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge). Well, this book involves two countries (Ireland & Scotland) I’m fascinated by so… two birds!