By Alison Rattle, published by Hot Key Books.
The eldest child of a poor family living in the slums of London, Queenie, dreams of a better life with more money. When she finds an advertisement for a job working at the house of two sisters, Mrs Waters and Miss Ellis, she runs away from home to begin work as a carer for the many babies that the two sisters own. The babies came from women who had no husbands and did not want to be looked down upon in society, so hid away for months in the Waters and Ellis house, gave birth, then carried on with their lives leaving the child behind. All the while, babies are slowly disappearing, with Miss Waters claiming that they have been adopted. But Queenie is getting suspicious, and is determined to track down the truth of the baby farm.
In a higher-class part of London, a girl of the same age as Queenie called Ellen is living a lonely life inside of a house in which nobody cares about her. When her handsome cousin Jacob comes to stay after the death of his mother, Ellen begins to feel less lonely. But after a huge betrayal from Jacob, Ellen is about to fall into Queenie’s life in the strangest way, and together they will solve the crime behind the ‘baby farming’, become the greatest of friends, and discover something that will change their whole lives forever…
***WARNING: SPOILERS IN THE REVIEW BELOW!!***
I really enjoyed this! I wasn’t sure I’d really get into the story; I don’t read historical fiction much; but I really got hooked on it, and couldn’t stop reading. I liked the switching of the narratives every other chapter, and how the two girls come together and discover they are related under coincidental circumstances. Both teenagers came from very different, very interesting… at points frightful backgrounds, and I loved reading about them. I think that, after reading the authors note, the story became so much more real. Alison Rattle said that she had stumbled across the characters of Miss Waters and Miss Ellis and their crimes of Baby Farming whilst researching for something else. It was really shocking to hear that the events in this book were actually based on something that had really happened before!
The whole crime conspiracy building throughout the book kept me guessing about the ending, and when it came to the final pages I was shocked at the unpredictable closing paragraphs. It really tugged at my heartstrings- the unfortunate death of my favorite character (I’m not saying any names!).
Overall, The Quietness made for a really riveting, well written read. Highly recommended for YA’s and Adults alike!