Cover Image: The Mersey Orphan

The Mersey Orphan

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"Using the only weapon in her armory, she attacked with her tongue as a form of defense."
1947 England. An agonizing story of a family and their neighbors in post war poverty, fighting to live in the ruins and through rationing. Evie is trying her best to better herself, earn a higher wage and bring her brother and sister home from Ireland where they had been evacuated to a relatives house. Her mother was pretty rough around the edges and took up with questionable men after her father had been killed in the War. There's an undercurrent of crime in the area loosely tied to the black market. Every one of the people in this community are tough, survivors. There are some interesting twists and mysteries, and you can't help but want the best for these people. Lots of depth and a storyline that keeps you involved to the last page, wondering about a sequel. 

"The war years had given them a determination to get on with life, tomorrow could take care of itself."

"Optimism. Anticipation. Love. And most of all that inner strength that made anything, and everything, seem possible."

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher and NetGalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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This is a well written family saga which I really enjoyed. Set in 1946 in Liverpool, this book draws you in from the start. Great characterisation - I loved both Evie and Connie. Well paced, I enjoyed how the story developed and I liked the element of mystery at the centre of the book. I can't wait for the next installment of Reckoner's Road story. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review
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I liked this book a lot! Great characters, and I loved the small town.
Connie was my favorite character in this historical fiction. There was a great
mystery as well. A bit of a love story, but not too much. I would love to 
read more of Sheila Riley's books. 

Thank you so much, Sheila Riley, her Publisher, and Netgalley for the
chance to read and review this book.
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The Orphan Daughter by Sheila Riley is a very interesting and quick read that is a historical fiction novel that is set 1946-1947 post WWII in Liverpool and focuses on our young female protagonist Evie and all of the adversities and obstacles that she has to be exposed to and overcome during this very bleak time. For what should be the time of optimism, Evie has to go through a lot. 
I enjoyed this character immensely as she is strong, has perseverance, and has real grit. The author did such a great job in creating Evie that the reader cannot help but champion her cause.
The mystery component added another layer of interest to the storyline as well and I look forward to the next installment of this journey.

5/5 stars

Thank you NetGalley and Boldwood for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

9/10/19 submitted  B&N under Rachel_Denise01 and Amazon under RF
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A gritty tale of sacrifice, hardship, tragedy and triumphs, The Orphan Daughter is a first rate Liverpool saga from Sheila Riley’s very talented pen.

Life has been tough for Evie Kilgaren from the very first moment she drew breath. Abandoned by her mother and deserted by her father, it had been up to Evie to raise her siblings in less than ideal circumstances and it’s been one long and hard slog after another. Money is tight and every day is a battle for survival. Finding enough money to feed and clothe herself and her family and keep a roof over their heads is a daily challenge for Evie, but she will not give up. She is determined to give her siblings the best chance in life and to make a better life for all of them, but that soon might prove to be easier said than done.

When all seems lost, kindly landlady Connie Sharp takes pity on Evie and offers her a much-needed job. This seems to be the break that Evie has been hoping for for so long, but just when it seems that things are about to settle down for Evie and her family, secrets from Connie’s past come to light that threaten to jeopardise her stable and newfound happiness forever.

Life for the residents of Reckoner’s Row looks set to continue to be fraught with danger and uncertainty when a body is found in the canal. Who could have perpetrated such a heinous attack? Is there a dangerous murderer living amongst them? And can Evie keep her family safe and united when all the odds are stacked against them?

As the cold nights begin to draw in, there is nothing better than losing oneself in a captivating saga and The Orphan Daughter certainly fits the bill! Written with flair, heart and sensitivity, The Orphan Daughter is a tale of courage, redemption and survival written in the best tradition of Dilly Court and Anna Jacobs. Powerful, emotional and intense, The Orphan Daughter has at its heart a fantastic heroine readers will root for and a cast of brilliantly nuanced characters it is impossible not to care about.

Written straight from the heart, The Orphan Daughter is a must-read for saga fans everywhere!
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Evie Kilgaren had hoped that after the war things would become easier. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case. Evie’s two younger siblings had been evacuated to Ireland and her mother hadn’t bothered to bring them home yet. Her mother Rene seemed more interested in her so called lodger Leo Darnel whom Evie couldn’t get along with forcing Evie to leave home. After going missing leaving Jack and Lucy home alone Evie is forced to give up her room and move back home to become mother to her siblings. This book is a great read telling of the struggles the family have trying to survive while waiting for the return of their wayward mother.
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This is a book of historical fiction about a 19 year old girl named Evie in 1947 Liverpool, England caring for her two siblings after their mother disappears. The story shows some of the harsh realities of post war Europe.

Evie is a strong young woman but very immature for her age. When Connie, the tavern owner, offers her a job cleaning, Evie's pride won't let her take accept it at first even though she and the kids are hungry and cold. She comes off very stubborn and rude and I found her a difficult character to like. In contrast, I liked Connie and Angus, the detective.sent to investigate the warehouse robberies on the docks. 

Unfortunately, this story didn't work for me. I couldn't get invested in these characters and had to push myself to finish the book. The writing was very choppy and the ending was abrupt. I felt there were some loose threads and other storylines were wrapped up too neatly. The character of Evie seemed unrealistic for the time period. A 19 year old should know she needs to save money for rent and not spend it on extras--as she later realizes. Connie's mother, Mim, was very selfish in wanting her adult daughter to stay with her. The mystery element was very light and the solution was easily seen I thought.  Hopefully another reader will have better luck with this book.

Thank you to Netgalley and Boldwood Books for an advance ebook copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I love reading a book that you become absorbed in from the first page. ‘The Orphan Daughter’, has this quality, and it’s an enthralling story, with historically authentic characters, whose lives you feel part of, especially the two main female protagonists Connie and Evie.

The historical period for this book, the post WW2 era, and the terrible winter of 1947 is a time I often heard my grandparents and parents talk about. The historic details are believable, and the setting and characters portrayed using vivid imagery, which brings the book to life.

Evie’s hardships are all too common during this time, the euphoria of the ending of war recedes, leaving the bombed cities, damaged infrastructure and relentless poverty for many. Life is hard in Reckoner’s Row, although the community is tight, it is wary of outsiders and unforgiving to those who break the unwritten laws. Evie wants to get out and make something of her life, but love and responsibility draw her back, into the world she longs to leave. This is an emotional family drama, where women are important, they keep families together, and have to subjugate their ambitions.

Angus is an outsider, there to investigate. He and Connie have an attraction, but she is loath to risk her heart and reputation on a fling. There is a mystery element, in this story, which adds to the family saga theme. The air of menace increases as the story progresses. Connie and Evie find that their daily hardship is not the only danger they face.

‘The Orphan Daughter’ has an authentic historical setting, complex characters, with intriguing elements of crime and mystery cleverly woven into the story. An enticing start to the ‘Reckoner’s Row’ series.

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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★★★★ 4.5 stars

THE ORPHAN DAUGHTER is the first book by Sheila Riley I have read - both as herself and under the pseudonym of Annie Groves. It's an historical fiction novel with a bit of mystery to it, making it an intriguing and interesting read. Set in the post war era of 1946-1947 in Liverpool, THE ORPHAN DAUGHTER is the first in a new series titled "Reckoner's Row", named for the street upon which the story is featured.

Evie Kilgaren is 19 and has plans to make something more of herself than to be a "skivvy" for someone else. She has studied hard for two years at night school in business studies with a focus on bookeeping. She pays for her schooling by doing the menial work of a cleaner whilst dreaming of becoming an office clerk or even office manager. But life has other plans for our Evie.

When war began to threaten their corner of the world, her mother Rene sent her two younger siblings, Jack and Lucy, to Ireland to live with their aunt but has since refused to bring them back to Liverpool. Her father was presumed dead in 1943 when his ship was attacked and since then her mother has taken in a variety of lodgers, the latest being Leo Darnel. Evie does not like Leo and the feeling is mutual. This is only reinforced when Leo burns all of Evie's business studies notebooks as all her hard work went up in flames. A row between them ensues which sees Evie pack a few meagre belongings into a pillowcase and move into her own lodgings on the other side of the canal and out of Reckoner's Row. All the while, saving every penny to bring her brother and sister back from Ireland. 

Little did she know, Rene had eventually brought Jack and Lucy back after kicking out the no-good Leo.

And then Rene disappears. 

Then when Connie, the landlady to the Tram Tavern next door, finds a slumped figure outside the Kilgaren house she is surprised to discover it is young Jack, Evie's 14 year old brother, and even more so to find he had been shot. A nurse during the war herself, Connie dressed his wounds as best she could before writing a note for Evie and had young Lucy, now 10, deliver it to her lodgings on the other side of the canal. 

Evie returns to Reckoner's Row, shocked to learn Jack and Lucy had already returned and their mother was nowhere to be found. She had been gone a few weeks but had done this before, so Evie was sure she would soon return. However, this new turn of events meant her responsibilities now lay back in the very place she'd wanted to escape, what with Jack and Lucy to look after. She would never abandon them as their mother had. Giving up her dreams of bettering herself and leaving Reckoner's Row, Evie swallowed her pride and took the job Connie offered her at Tavern and with it the hand of friendship. Connie became a trusted friend in whom Evie could confide her worries and her fears, and knew she would never be judged. 

Although the war had ended, rationing appeared to be even greater, making way for those who traded in the black market. And Evie feared greatly that Jack would fall prey to the likes of Leo who traded heavily in that market which was rife around the docks. The winter of 46/47 is colder than normal with the canal frozen and food and coal are in short supply. So when Evie begins finding boxes of fresh food they haven't seen since before the war, she begins to think Leo is trying to muscle his way back in.

Then a stranger comes to the Row, taking a room at the Tram Tavern and beguiling Connie who never imagine finding love again. But who is this man and what does he want here? And what of his nightly walks and mysterious phone calls from the phone box when there is a perfectly good phone in the tavern?

With several themes woven into the story, THE ORPHAN DAUGHTER brings to life the poverty and the challenges many families faced in the post-war era with rationing, the black market, family violence, work shortages, love, loss and friendship. As the story unfolds, your heart will break for Evie as she sacrifices her dreams to care for her siblings, and the obstacles she faces. 

I really enjoyed both Evie and Connie. Even Connie's sprightly mother, Mim, brought some sunshine to what was otherwise darker days. Jack, who seemed older than his years, as he took up the role of the man of the house, and even Lucy with her "good shepherd". I look forward to getting know them all more as this heartwarming series develops with such determined characters to rise above the odds.

THE ORPHAN DAUGHTER is perfect for fans of historical fiction, particularly with a taste of mystery, and I do not hesitate in recommending it.

I would like to thank #SheilaRiley, #NetGalley and #BoldwoodBooks for an ARC of #TheOrphanDaughter in exchange for an honest review.
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This is set in my home town of Liverpool in the post-WW2 years. It follows young Evie Kilgaren and her family and neighbours as they deal with black market dodgy dealers, threats & a runaway mother.

This was an interesting read and once I got halfway through, I couldn’t put it down until I’d finished it. It develops at a good pace and you feel invested in how you want it to work out. 

There is an interesting development in the ending as my predicted villain ended up not being exactly who I expected it to be. 

Overall a 4.5 star book as the ending made me wonder whether there is a sequel or if the author will tie up some of the loose ends with the characters.
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I really enjoyed reading this book.  It has a great plot, excellent main characters and I read it in one sitting!  I would highly recommend this book.
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This is a historical fiction with an element of mystery. 
I wasn’t a huge fan of this book and felt it was very under whelming. 
The pace of the story was slow moving and lacked depth
A disappointing read
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Young Evie is left to raise her siblings when they are abandoned by their parents.  Tells of the tough life in the poor dock neighborhood of Liverpool. Great read, you will find it hard to put this one down.
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A great Historical drama set after WWII in Liverpool about Evia who basically didn't have a family, raised herself and her brother and sister.
She had some very real problem to deal with but with the help of her friends she persevered.
Drama,angst,twists in all a interesting story.
Voluntarily reviewed.
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Loved the book,and the close community described.The Characters,Connie and Evia just to mention a few,makes the book a page Turner.A must read for all readers would love to find out what happens to the character's in a sequel to the book.
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The Orphan Daughter by Sheila Riley is a historical fiction novel with a bit of a mystery to it. It is the first book in a series by this author and is set in Liverpool during 1946 and 1947 after World War II.

Evie Kilgaren, our protagonist, has been basically abandoned by her mother and her father did not return from the war.  Her mother, Rene, sent the two youngest children, Jack and Lucy, to Ireland during the war and has not brought them back to Liverpool yet. Rene has also taken in a boarder, Leo Darnel who burns Evie’s business school notebooks. Evie moves out of her mother’s house and eventually her mother brings Jack and Lucy back to Liverpool and kicks out Leo.  Then Rene disappears.

This started a story line that kept me engrossed throughout the well-written novel. The Kilgarens lived near the docks in Liverpool and the winter of 1946-1947 is much colder than normal. The novel interweaves several themes including the poverty in this area of Liverpool at that time, the damage done by the war, rationing that is still a part of the post-war era, black markets, assault, domestic violence, spinsterhood, the difficulty of finding work, friendship, and even love. It also has a couple of twists to it.

Sheila Riley did a great job of bringing this era to life and helping me to visualize both the setting and the characters. Am I interested in reading the next book in this series? Absolutely.  This heartwarming book had spirited characters determined to succeed, had some humor and drew me into Evie’s life.

Many tanks to Boldwood Books, Sheila Riley and Net Galley for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.

Expected publication date: 09/05/2019
Review to be added on NetGalley and Goodreads: 07/26/2019
Review to be added on Amazon and Books-a-Million upon release.
Review to be added to Bookbub when the book is added there.
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A really heart warming read for the winter months. Lovely characters, richly drawn and well rounded. I really enjoyed the time period it was set in too.
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Well i have loved reading about Evie and,Connie and the friendship they form after Connie helps evie's brother and young sister.Rene their mom has vanished which is nothing new but Evie cannot understand how their mother could just walk away.Readers will love this book i know i have as you follow evie through her struggle to care for Jack and Lucy but she finds it hard to accept help from others but thanks to Connie she learns how to.I won't give the plot away but Sheila Riley has a brilliant talent and i love how you are drawn in and walk side by side with Evie and Connie as they walk through life.Excellent story with charactors that pull at your heartstrings.Worthy of the 5*
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