A Daughter’s Gift

Written by Maggie Hope
Review by Valerie Loh

Set in the northeast of England at the start of 1910, this dramatic saga reveals the struggles of strong and desperate ten-year-old Elizabeth to try and protect her siblings after the death of her mother, when the family is split up. Elizabeth and her brother are sent away to a children’s home, her younger sister is placed in the care of an abusive farmer, and her baby brother is left to the care of her aunt. Eventually finding purpose as a nurse, Elizabeth falls in love with wounded officer Jack Benson who is from a different social standing. However, her true sacrifice is made when she tries to protect her sister Jenny.

This is a heartrending tale of hardship, emotional cruelty and physical abuse; not only of Elizabeth, but of other females who have not been able to make a stand and escape from their drudgery and circumstances. However, Elizabeth’s character is appealing, steadfast, loyal and strong. She works hard, is honest and never loses sight of her goal to reunite her family. This fast-paced tale of survival is embellished with a tender romance that seems beyond Elizabeth’s original station in life, yet proves to be her greatest reward. The historical background is skilfully woven through the fiction. The ending delivers some level of justice for past wrongs and is uplifting and promising for the future of both Elizabeth and her young family.