A review by Emma Streeton
Inspired by true events during the Second World War, Finding Eadie is a story of love, friendship, hope, heartbreak and books. Alice Cotton is a young woman working for a publishing house in London. She loves her work and her colleagues but she has a secret that she can’t share with them. Alice is pregnant and unmarried. She abruptly leaves London and goes to stay with her aunt in Brighton to have the baby. Her mother has promised to help once she gives birth. But what her mother chooses to do instead will break Alice’s heart and change her life forever.
Meanwhile Theo Bloom has been sent to London from the New York publishing office to help them cope with the challenges the war has given them. Paper is being rationed and they need a sure-thing hit book. Alice has an idea for such a book but her colleagues are baffled by her whereabouts.
Can Alice rescue herself as well as the publishing house she so dearly cares about?
‘A novel didn’t really begin until the reader was engaged enough to want to accompany the characters on their journey.’
This book started for me from the prologue and kept my interest and engagement all the way through to the end. Finding Eadie is historical fiction at its very best, with the perfect balance of drama, romance and history. This was a book I found difficult to put down. I became so invested in the character of Alice and her desperate attempt to find her daughter Eadie that I made very short work of this novel.
Truth behind the fiction
That true events inspired this book makes it all the more heart-breaking. Alice’s search for Eadie shines a light into the baby farming rife during the world wars. This was something I was ignorant of. It shocked me to discover that selling babies was fairly common place at the turn of the twentieth century, made worse by the wartime conditions of desperation and poverty. Alice Cotton is an inspiring brave and determined heroine. I absolutely held my breath for during the dramatic climax of her search for Eadie.
(Several years ago it shocked me to learn that the Royal Hobart Hospital continued to take unmarried mothers’ babies while telling mothers their babies died, right up until the mid- to late- 1980s. If I hadn’t been forced into marrying my daughter’s father, we might have suffered this fate because I was 17 and without a supportive family. – Editor)
The importance of books
It is no secret that I love books and reading! This story highlights the hugely important role that books played during wartime years and the challenges faced by publishing houses to keep books being printed. Today we tend to view books as pure escapism. However, Beecham draws attention to the comfort books offered soldiers on the frontlines, how books distracted the public during raids and how books provided readers with key information to understand world events. I salute the power of books.
What a great read from Caroline Beecham. I will most definitely add this author to my list of those to look out for. Finding Eadie is a treasure of a book that I keep on my book shelf ready to loan to others.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Imprint: Allen & Unwin (Allen & Unwin)
Pub Date: July 2020
Format: Paperback, 368 pages
Category: Fiction & related items