Celia Mulligan is madly in love with Andy McCadden and is thrilled when he proposes to her, but her father will have no daughter of his marrying a mere farmhand. Defying his wishes, Celia and Andy elope by ship to England. While on board, Celia meets Annabel, a demure young woman who shares with her the awful secret of her pregnancy. A friend of her father's forced himself upon her and she has been left alone to deal with the shameful truth.
Intending to throw herself on her brother's mercy, Annabel begs Celia to accompany her to Birmingham as her lady's maid. With no job and with nothing to offer, Andy encourages Celia to accept - he can find employment and save for their future. But neither of them can foresee the turbulent events that will follow, and soon Celia will be torn between the man she adores and the love of a vulnerable child ...
Another Man's Child by Anne Bennett was published in paperback by HarperFiction on 19 November 2015 and is the author's nineteenth novel.
It's a long long time since I last read a book by Anne Bennett, when I look back at my reading list, I see that it's been almost ten years ... crikey, where does time go to? Years ago, most of my reading was made up of romance and sagas, I inherited that love from my Mother who introduced me to Catherine Cookson and Josephine Cox many many years ago. In recent years, especially since I began this blog, my reading has changed considerably, and my old favourites have been left along the way side.
I know it's the weekend before Christmas, and we are all supposed to be rushing around the shops in a frantic panic; making sure that we have satsumas, brussels sprouts and dates, but I've spent most of Saturday evening and Sunday morning wrapped up in Another Man's Child. It has been the perfect story for me; easy to read with warm and comforting characters and an opportunity to revisit my mother's homeland of County Donegal, Ireland too.
Another Man's Child is based on a true story from Anne Bennett's family history, and it is this that adds another layer to the telling. The heart of the story is that age-old romantic problem; that of the disapproving father and the lovers who are determined to be together, what ever it takes. Celia and Andy are very much in love, but Andy is just a poor farmhand and Celia's father is furious at the thought of his daughter lowering herself by marrying him. Celia and Andy do what many have done before them, and more will do in the future. They take a boat to England, a place that promises them a future together, with nobody to judge them or their love.
Whilst travelling, Celia forms a friendship with Annabel; a lady who has found herself in a terrible situation. Annabel offers Celia a job as her maid, and Andy, knowing that this will help him to find work once in England encourages her to accept.
The story takes many twists and turns, and Celia's strength as a character shines through, her fortitude and resilience are tested and proved by events that none of them could foresee.
Another Man's Child is a story of hope and loyalty and overcoming the odds. Anne Bennett has a real skill, and creates warm and lifelike characters who the reader can relate to and cheer on. Her settings are fabulous; from the small town in the rugged Donegal countryside, to the sprawling city of Birmingham.
The writing is powerful and the imagery is wonderful. This story flows seamlessly and the author has no trouble at all in engaging the reader, and sweeping them along as the characters play out a very moving and emotional story.
My thanks to the author and the publisher who sent my copy for review.
Anne Bennett was born in a back-to-back house in the Horsefair district of Birmingham. The daughter of Roman Catholic, Irish immigrants, she grew up in a tight-knit community where she was taught to be proud of her heritage. She considers herself to be an Irish Brummie and feels therefore that she has a foot in both cultures.
She has four children and five grandchildren.
For many years she taught in schools to the north of Birmingham. An accident put paid to her teaching career and, after moving to North Wales, Anne turned to the other great love of her life and began to write seriously.
In 2006, after 16 years in a wheelchair, she miraculously regained her ability to walk.
To find out more about Anne and her books, visit her on Facebook, Twitter and her website: