The Child Left Behind

Written by Gracie Hart
Review by Marilyn Sherlock

This is a Victorian social history/romance story and is the second in a trilogy involving the Wild family and the Ellershaws, the wealthy local landowners of Levensthorpe Hall.  In the first book Mary-Anne Wild goes to America leaving her baby daughter, Victoria, in the care of her sister, Eliza. In this second book, Eliza is taken on as a seamstress and designer by Grace Ellershaw, and together they run a business in Leeds designing and making dresses for the wealthy ladies of the area. Things begin to get complicated when Mary-Anne returns from America on her own and meets up with Ma Fletcher. She is determined to get her revenge on the Ellershaws and starts a relationship with William Ellershaw.

The book follows a familiar story of such relationships. It is easy to read and the characterisation is good but is spoilt by the careless printing.  There is page after page of missed words in sentences – e.g., “She may have made costumes for performers in New York but she and John never any money to take in a show, and I do hope that she all right” to quote only two and incorrect words – and “our/out” not picked up in a spell-check.   In one paragraph in a row with her Aunt Eliza – “Eliza took the book out of Victoria’s hands” and in the next – “Victoria threw the book down into the chair”. These are only a few examples, but they all tend to disrupt the reader’s concentration on the events taking place in the story. There is to be a third book in the trilogy, but I would respectively suggest to the author and publisher that they address such mistakes. This is an interesting story but a disappointing book.