I chose to read this book as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team and received a copy from the author. This does not alter my review in any way.
This novella is a prequel to Matilda Windsor is Coming Home, which I have not read, yet. It is told as a dual timeline between 1939/1940 and 1964.
Matilda is a victim of a particularly shameful period of history when unwed mothers had their babies taken away and could be locked away in a mental hospital, such as the one in this book, Ghyllside, accused of being morally defective.
This story is told from Matilda’s point of view and at the beginning she appears perfectly well balanced, despite having gone through the trauma of having her baby taken from her. She is optimistic and expects to be home and back with her adored brother within a week. Yet she is betrayed by those who should have looked after her. It is tragic to see her years later, as Matty, having become completely institutionalised but still with dreams of escape.
The thought of losing a quarter of a century to such a brutal regime seems utterly unbelievable and yet it happened and not that long ago in our history. This book is beautifully written and can be read as a standalone although I can see many readers wanting to read on to see what happens next for Matilda.
I previously read and reviewed Sugar and Snails by Anne Goodwin HERE.