Happy Monday! Today we’re feeling Christmassy again, and I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for Christmas Child by Carol Rivers. So happy to bring you an extract…..check it out below!
The 2019 Victorian romance from the Sunday Times bestselling author.
A perfect Dickensian saga for Christmas.
Christmas Day, London 1880. Snow falls … a dying Irish girl clutching her new-born baby drags herself to the sanctuary of an East End orphanage and throws herself on the mercy of the Sisters of Clemency. The nuns raise little Ettie O’Reilly as their own, but the lives of the nuns and orphans are soon crushed by an unscrupulous bishop. The heart-breaking outcome turns Ettie’s life upside down and Christmas will never mean the same again.
Will Ettie ever find her friend Michael Wilson whose secret holds the key to their past? Will Ettie keep her innocence and survive the traumatic events that are about to erupt?
Thirteen-year-old Henrietta O’Reilly scuffed aside a lock of curling copper-coloured hair that fell stubbornly over her brown eyes. The icy water in the big china basin where she toiled, was freezing; her fingers were numb to the bone. Yet, after a hard morning’s laundering, there was still so much to do.
‘A labour of love,’ so Sister Patrick regularly assured her. ‘You’ll be fitting those curling tresses of yours into a halo before long.’
The thought of a halo appealed to Ettie, as she was know by the nuns. All the saints looked radiant in the pictures hanging on the convent walls. Their holy images with auras of gold inspired her. But it was hard to conjure a smile in the ancient orphanage laundry. Draughts as strong as storms rushed in from the broken windows. The mucky steam dampened her clothes. The air smelled strongly of soap and starch, and made her eyes sting.
Not that she minded, for having spent all her life in the care of the Sisters of Clemency, Ettie considered the orphanage her home. Situated in the hamlet of Poplar, East London, it was rare that she ever ventured beyond the high stone walls of the convent.
Sister Patrick was her favourite nun and though she had lived many years in England, she still spoke with her native Irish accent. It was Sister Patrick who, on her way to chapel on Christmas Day fourteen years ago had discovered the dying Colleen O’Reilly.
‘Sure, t’was a heartbreaking sight,’ Sister Patrick had related many times. ‘The ice was hanging sharp as knives from the eaves of the laundry. The snow was banked knee-high. I couldn’t believe me eyes when I saw a tiny figure, fallen against the laundry wall. And there you were, safe in the wee girl’s arms, a tiny speck of life. With the last of her strength, your mother was keeping you warm against her breast. Wrapped only in filthy rags, she was in no fit state to help herself let alone her baby.’
’Where is she now?’ Ettie had asked when she was small.
‘The good Lord called her to be his angel.’
‘Is she an angel now?’
’She’s a Dublin angel for sure,’ Sister Patrick assured her. ‘Colleen O’Reilly, Jesus rest her soul, was from the land of shamrocks just like me. She was born in a road I know well meself called Henrietta Street and she named you after it. Though saints preserve us, we all got lazy and know you as our darlin’ Ettie.’
about the author
“Were there’s muck there’s money!” If my family had a royal crest I’m sure those are the words that would have been hewn into the stone above it.
Mum and Dad were both East Enders who were born on the famous or should I say the then infamous Isle of Dogs. They were costermongers selling fruit, veg and anything else that would stand still long enough!
Their family were immigrants who travelled to the UK from Ireland and France, while others emigrated to America.
As a child I would listen to the adults spinning their colourful stories, as my cousins and I drank pop under the table.
I know the seeds of all my stories come from those far off times that feel like only yesterday. So I would like to say a big heartfelt thank you to all my family and ancestors wherever you are now … UK, Ireland, France or America, as you’ve handed down to me the magic and love of story telling.
Win Five dedicated signed paperback novels by Carol Rivers
One winner will win the following signed books
“Lizzie Flowers and the Family Firm”
“Molly’s Christmas Orphans”
“A Wartime Christmas”
“A Sister’s Shame”
“Eve of the Isle”
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the link below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
tour hosted by
Rachel’s Random Resources
Thanks so much to Rachel for inviting me on to the tour and to Carol and the publisher for sharing the extract with us.
Have a lovely day all