The Five Shilling Children

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

What a wonderful story of family life and loyalty!  I cried and laughed as I was drawn in as a family member looking in.  Thank you
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Minnie Fitch and her 5 children live in squaller, they constantly have no food, heat or decent clothes as any money she gets her husband Gerald either drinks or gambles away.  He is an abusive man and has thoughts that Adam 10 years and Polly 9 years are not his children so he sells them to Reed's orphanage for 5 shillings. 

The orphanage is run and owned by Una Reed, who is strict and takes no-nonsense. The children are well-fed, have a clean bed and new friends but are distressed and long for their mother. 

A new boy Rodney Dukes comes to the orphanage, his behaviour is a challenge for Una and a bully to the children.  He picks on Polly and makes her cry Adam is furious and wants his revenge so he seeks out boxer Billy Marshall to teach him to box, sneaking out of the orphanage at night to learn.  

Polly is sold to a rich family leaving both the children and their friends distraught. 
Adam with the help of his friends escapes from the home to find Polly. Unbeknown to him his mother and older brothers are also searching for both of them.  
The story unfolds the journey of the family and their struggle to find each other.

It is traumatic in places, and an excellent book, with believable characters, you feel drawn in from the beginning and find yourself hungry to pick the book up again to see what happens next.
Thank you so much, NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this lovely book.
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The Five Shilling Children by Lindsey Hutchinson takes to Wolverhampton in the heart of the Black Country.  Polly and Adam Fitch are sold to Reed’s Orphanage by their father for five shillings each.  They miss their mother (not their bully father), but they are thankful for a warm bed to sleep in each night plus hot meals to eat. They are especially grateful that they still have each other.  Adam has always been protective of Polly. The siblings become close friends with the other children at the orphanage.  The bond strengthens over time making this assortment of children a family.  When Una Reed sells Polly to a wealthy family, Adam escapes the orphanage with the help of the other kids to get his sister back.  The Five Shilling Children is a heart wrenching tale.  I like that the author gives us different perspectives:  the children, their mother, a nanny, and two ladies at the orphanage.  It is shocking what these children suffered at the hands of adults.  I was drawn into this emotional novel right away and I stayed up late to finish it.  I wanted to see what would happen to Adam, Polly and their makeshift family.  As the story evolves, we find out why Gerald Fitch went from a loving husband and father into an abusive man who drank through his earnings.  I enjoyed the various storylines in the book and how it all tied together.  The Five Shilling Children is my favorite book by Lindsey Hutchinson.  The love between Adam and Polly was strong and touching.  I loved how the kids came together and were loyal to each other.  It was so sweet that they never forgot to pray for help and guidance.  The Five Shilling Children is an emotional historic novel with a nasty nanny, a famine of funds, a supportive pugilist, a vile father, and hopeful children.
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When you pick up a Lindsey Hutchinson book, you just know you are going to be lost for hours in what will essentially be another good read. There is just something about historical fiction that pulls you in and keeps you there until the end. And THE FIVE SHILLING CHILDREN is no different.

Ten year old Adam Fitch and his nine year old sister Polly are sold for five shillings each to Reed's Orphanage by their bully father, Gerald, who leaves them there without a backward glance. Distraught and missing their mother, the children still have each other and soon discover that life for them is somewhat an improvement on the one they had scavenging and living hand to mouth with their parents and three brothers. Now they have their own beds, three generous meals a day, proper schooling and a new group of friends that treat them better than anyone else ever had.

But then Rodney Dukes arrives. Loud, brash and disruptive without any respect for authority, he doesn't care who he hurts and takes great pleasure in bullying everyone, especially young Polly. This prompts Adam to sneak out on a nightly basis to learn how to box after watching pugilist Billy Marshall win a fight. Billy agrees to teach Adam upon realising that he is the son of a woman he once new and secretly loved, Minnie Fitch. The lessons are successful and Adam becomes accomplished at defending his sister from bully, Rodney, who is humiliated and in turn bides his time to take Adam by surprise.

One Sunday when the children would usually walk to church, they are told to stay in their rooms. Adam and his roommate Joe are looking out the window to see what is happening outside. They see a horse and carriage come up the drive and stop at the orphanage's entrance, as a wealthy looking couple step out. Several minutes go by before they reappear holding the hand of a young girl, who is squirming and kicking out. Adam is aghast to discover it is Polly, who has been sold to the wealthy family as a companion for their spoilt daughter Cora. Adam runs downstairs and out the door screaming for his sister as they disappear, his heartbreaking howls of distress heard by everyone. But the one affected most by Adam's distress is his nemesis Rodney, who comes to his aid and comforts him. Everyone at the orphanage feels Adam's sorrow and their hearts break for him...all except the owner, Una Reed, who sees selling the children a profitable business to make way for new additions.

The remaining children band together to help Adam hatch a plan of escape so he can search for Polly. Despite them all coming to depend on each other, Adam knows he must leave if there was to be any chance of him reuniting with his sister again. But where were they to go from there? They couldn't go home...not as long as Gerald was there. And would they ever see their new friends again? The only ones they have come to depend on for companionship and love - what is to become of them?

Across town that is a far cry from where she had come, Polly finds herself in a new home with a new family. And she hates it. Cora is vindictive and spiteful, doing anything she an to get Polly into trouble just for her sheer pleasure. And their governess, Prudence, believes the little minx every time as she seems to take as much pleasure from doling out discipline to Polly at Cora's every whim. She yearns to go back to the orphanage, to Adam, to May and all her friends. She hates it here.

Meanwhile back on Banks Street in the Fitch household, Minnie has had it with her abusive husband Gerald. Out of work, he has taken to gambling every last penny on cock fights and then drinks his winnings at the public house, returning home drunk with not a farthing left for his starving family. Minnie kicks him out but Gerald is not going quietly. He continues to return, banging on the door and demanding Minnie let him in. But she refuses and he acquiesces. During the day when she goes out scavenging for some morsels for her family she has taken to locking the doors to prevent Gerald from gaining access. This, however, does nothing to dissuade him as she returns once again to find the window smashed or the door broken on its hinges, and Gerald sitting in his chair by the hearth demanding she get his dinner. But Minnie has hardened. This man who sold her two children, buried another and gambles and drinks away any penny that crosses his palm, she will not stand for his ways anymore. But as he raises his hand once again to punch her into submission, Minnie knows things will never change.

THE FIVE SHILLING CHILDREN is a heartbreaking tale of poverty and hardship surrounding the Fitch family. With no money for food or coal, the must scavenge on a daily basis for the dregs that others have rejected just to get through another day or night. With five children to feed, life is harsh. So when Gerald sells Adam and Polly for just five shillings each, against Minnie's wishes, he doesn't take the money home to feed and warm his family but rather drinks it all away...again.

You will fall in love with little Adam and Polly and the other children, and find yourself cheering them on throughout all the hardships they face. You will enjoy seeing them get the better of their elders as they seek a better life together.

THE FIVE SHILLING CHILDREN will definitely play with your emotions and you will laugh as well as cry along with the children. But it Minnie my heart mostly went out to. I felt her pain and cried when she cried. To feel so utterly trapped, destitute and hopeless. I so waited with baited breath to see if Gerald got comeuppance and cringed for Minnie every time he reappeared.

A wonderfully heartbreaking and yet heartwarming tale, THE FIVE SHILLING CHILDREN will make you laugh and cry in equal measure. I was wondering how it was all going to end happily for all and was not disappointed.

THE FIVE SHILLING CHILDREN is an enjoyable and quick read I thoroughly recommend for any historical fiction fans.

I would like to thank #LindseyHutchinson, #NetGalley and #Aria for an ARC of #TheFiveShillingChildren in exchange for an honest review.
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Oh, this is a grand tale! Heart-wrenching and heartwarming, it has everything going for it!

Adam and Polly Fitch have no idea where they are headed when their father takes them away from home, until he knocks at a door and hands them over in return for five shillings each - then leaves without a backward glance. They didn't come from a perfect home, but they are heartbroken at being parted from their mother and brothers, one of whom is only a babe in arms. At least they still have each other, and pledge to stick together whatever life has in store for them. Settling in to the orphanage, they soon make friends with the other children living there, but it's a good job none of them know what's ahead of them . . .

I'm very fond of historical sagas like this one; set in times when poverty was a very serious state of affairs (far worse than not having the latest model of mobile phone), it is astonishing how some families managed to survive. This is a well-plotted and attention grabbing novel; it pulled me in from the very first page and kept me there until the very last. With terrific characterisation and several riveting story lines, all cleverly intertwined, this is a saga I heartily recommend. Not my first read by this author, and it won't be the last - Lindsey Hutchinson consistently delivers superb books. A five star read, no doubt about it!

My thanks to publisher Aria for my copy via NetGalley, and to Vicky Joss for my spot on this Blog Tour. Of course, this is my honest, original and unbiased review.
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This was a brilliant piece of historical fiction following the Fitch siblings as they adjust to life in an orphanage after being sold by their father for only five shillings.  It was an emotionally brilliant read!
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The Five Shilling Children by Lindsey Hutchinson is a nice work of historical fiction. 

Nine-year-old Polly Fitch and her ten-year-old brother, Adam, are sold for five shillings each to an orphanage by their abusive father, Gerald. They’re distraught, but they have each other, three filling meals a day, their own beds and a brand new set of friends that treat them better than their biological family ever did. The one exception being new arrival, Rodney Dukes, whose bullying of Polly prompts Adam to hatch a plan to sneak out of the orphanage to learn how to box. Pugilist Billy Marshall agrees to train Adam after he realizes that Adam is the son of an old secret crush, Minnie Fitch. 

Polly is eventually sold to a wealthy family and Adam remains in the orphanage. His distress is so profound his nemesis, Rodney Dukes, comes to his aid and comforts him. Everyone in the orphanage is upset at his profound sorrow, except the owner, Una Reed. All the children band together to help Adam escape so he can search for his sister. The children have come to depend upon each other and now long for independence and the type of companionship and love that can only come from family. The question is: what makes a family? 

The Five Shilling Children is an excellent read. The characters are fully-developed and completely relatable. The plot is engaging and has surprising twists. The ending is wonderful. I truly enjoyed this novel and rate it 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend it to readers who enjoy fiction with a historical backdrop. 

My thanks to Aria and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. However, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine and mine alone.
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Lindsey Hutchinson writes with plenty of grit, guts and heart and in her latest novel, The Five Shilling Children, she has once again penned an emotional, heart-wrenching and enthralling saga sure to go down a treat with 
fans of Mary Wood and Cathy Sharp.

Life for Adam and Polly Fitch is anything but easy. With a bullying and tyrannical father who delights in making their life hell and in torturing their mother, the Fitch siblings have known their fair share of grief and turmoil despite their very young age. The future looks very bleak for them, but it’s about to get even bleaker when their father sells them for just five shillings to Miss Reed’s orphanage. The young siblings are absolutely devastated at leaving behind their mother and their three younger brothers, but with nothing else left to do, they end up leaving everything that is familiar to them and the people they love with all of their heart for the orphanage.

Run with a rod of iron by the wicked Miss Reed, Adam and Polly quickly realise that they must stick together if they are to survive this horrible ordeal. Life at the orphanage is going to be challenging and heart-breaking, but if they look out for one another, they might just manage to make it a tad more bearable – and luckily for them, the orphanage has a merry band of children who take the Fitch siblings under their wing and form a family of sorts that will support them through thick and thin. Adam and Polly soon begin to feel like they’ve found a measure of comfort at the orphanage thanks to their friends, but all that changes when they receive the dreadful news that Polly has been sold to the rich Bellamy family, leaving Adam devastated that he will never see his beloved sister ever again.

Having started boxing training, Adam is determined to fight for his sister. He has lost so much already and is not willing to lose Polly. Will the Five Shilling Children manage to stay together? Will happiness ever be within their reach? Or are they just destined to spend the rest of their life mired in misery and despair?

The Five Shilling Children is a tale of sacrifice, the ties that bind and family loyalty that draws you in from the very beginning and keeps you engrossed throughout. Lindsey Hutchinson knows how to write compelling sagas that touch the heart and have you reaching for the tissues and The Five Shilling Children is packed with plenty of drama, emotion and pathos that are sure to bring a tear to even the most jaded of eyes.

A highly satisfying Black Country saga from a master storyteller, find a comfortable chair and get ready to lose yourself in Lindsey Hutchinson’s The Five Shilling Children.
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Polly Mitch was sold to Miss Reed 
The orphanage does have one kind of family and their own feeling of escape from Miss Read .
I had an ARC from ARIA
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Minnie has had enough! She is married to a drunkard and a bully and she is done. He has gone and sold Adam and Polly to Reed's Orphanage for 5 shillings apiece. To make matters worse instead of buying food or coal has has drunk his was throw all the money. Her house is barely a roof over their heads. Her two older sons spend their time begging and groveling for scraps of food. This is no way to live. 
Then to make matters worse her baby, John has died of pneumonia. 
Meanwhile Polly and Adam are in the orphanage. They are warm and getting food to eat. They are also being schooled. Something they had not had before. The bad thing is that everyday brings the threat of Una Reed selling one of them off to someone else. Adam, ten years old, has promised himself, nothing will ever happen to his little sister.....nothing.
A remarkable book with an astounding ending.
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A wonderful story of loss and hope....children who despite the odds never give up.  This is my first Lindsey Hutchinson and it will not be my last!!!!
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Lindsey Hutchinson’s The Five Shilling Children is the first book I have read written by this author. She wrote a complex, intertwined story of life for the those in the Black Country years ago. The two main children Adam and Polly stole my heart as they make their way upstairs in the first chapter. This is not the first book that I have read of family members selling the children but it is the most memorable.

Foes becomes friends, family takes sides and some even get their comeuppance in the end. Many characters in this story but all have very clear roles so that they do not become confusing. Adam is as apt a hero as I have ever read, even with him being only ten. Intelligent, being a better judge of character than his mother, quick study, hard honest worker and possesses a heart that is determined to protect his sister, he is unforgettable.
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This story revolves around the Fitch family and the hardship they endure on a daily basis.  They have no money, no food or coal to heat them. Life is harsh. Gerald, the father drinks most of his wages. Minnie, the mother has three sons, a daughter and a baby to try and find food for as well as her husband. The two eldest sons try their best to scavenge the markets for rotten food and vegetables to bring home. Adam and Polly are just ten and nine. Their father takes them against Minnie's wishes and sells them to Reeds Orphanage for five shillings each. This is where their adventure starts  and Minnie's heartbreak begins. 

This story will play with your emotions. Several books you read tell you about the hardships of that era. My heart went out to Minnie, married to Gerald who is a drunk and a bully. Adam and Polly soon make new friends in the orphanage.  But its  ot long  before the despicable Miss Reed, the owner, sells Polly to a wealthy family. Dam vows to find his sister and we meet a few lovable rogues on his journey. 

When you pick up a Lindsey Hutchinson novel you know firstly, that you are going to be reading a good book, secondly, you will lose a few hours as the book pulls you in and wont let you go until you've finished it. Theres a lot of heartbreak  ut there is also some laugh out loud moments too. I loved all the kids and how they all stuck by each other. I  couldn't wait to see if Gerald got his comeuppance. But my heart went out to Minnie. When she cried, I cried. I was happy everything came together in the end. I read this book in one sitting. 

I would like to thank Netgalley, Aria and the author Lindsey Hutchinson for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I loved this story! I loved how all of the character's lives intertwined and we could read from their different perspectives.

I'm not sure how realistic it was but it was heart-warming and an even better-than-expected ending!

I felt invested in the characters and once I started reading, I couldn't put it down.

A brilliant, new, Victorian British historical fiction novel.
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I read this book in a afternoon, It was very ‘ploddable’ but didn’t build up to an exciting finish, I expect you could compare it with an unromantic Mills and Boons.
It did very much highlight how mothers fought to look after the many children they did have often going out with food for days on end themselves and how even children as young  as 6 had to go out looking for food for the family along with coal to heat their homes.
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A lovely heartwarming story l
This book was well written and made me smile and cry in equal amounts 
A brilliant well written book
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This had me captured from the very beginning,makes you feel for the characters that come alive. How they lived like that is beyond me and makes me appreciate things alot more.  Thank you again netgalley. Amazing book and author yet again.
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Net Galley gave me this book to read and I really enjoyed the story,the characters and the way you get to know all these people especially the kids! If started  out really well so I interesting funny and tears!.Horrible the way they had to live,two stories going on well really three they turned into one!.It keeps you going I  what will happen next. The only thing that got to me was it just kept on and on where it didn't need to be! It was like it just  kept repeating itself,day after day,same thing over and over and it didn't have to! You do need to read it has a surprising end!!! Makes you think how fortunately your life is!! Enjoy!! 🙉🙈🙊
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I loved this book from start to finish I laughed cried and cursed Minnie’s plight was heartbreaking as was the children’s I loved the feel of the book it transports you back in time great story line and a perfect ending
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Ms. Hutchinson had me at the first page. I did not want to put this book down. You will be reading long into the night. It is one of the best that I have read this year. The story of the Fitch Family's struggle to survive with no money, nothing to eat and no coal for heat  breaks your heart. Many were hurting financially at  this time period. But when this family got a  little money the father went out and got drunk. If he won while gambling, he never purchased food or coal, he went to the taverns. The love that is expressed between the youngest brother and sister is so sweet. It was a very difficult time and a hard story to read about. I can not imagine selling my children for any amount of money. Lindsey Hutchinson was able to draw hope out of this darkness.  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Aria Publishing through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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