The Orphan Child

Written by Catherine King
Review by Sara Wilson

A newborn baby is found on Christmas Day in the grounds of Meadow Hall. Named Sarah Meadow, the orphan is given a home at the Hall and after a few years becomes a lowly scullery maid. Boisterous and outspoken, she finds it hard to conform and, at fourteen, loses her position and dresses as a boy to find work. Falling into the company of honest blacksmith Aidan and the less reliable Danby, she finds companionship and a family – as long as she can keep her disguise. After her secret is uncovered, Sarah is forced into the workhouse and Aidan is prevented from returning for her by tragic circumstances. Eventually she finds a position and meets up with Danby once again, but her heart remains with Aidan. It will take strength of character and luck for her dreams of a settled family life to come true.

There is a lot of drama and story in The Orphan Child. The characters are well-drawn and fight against their circumstances with clenched teeth and gritty determination. Sarah Meadows is a feisty heroine and Aidan and Danby are excellent foils for her character. All-round a good regional saga, well worth reading.