About the Book:
Shilling Grange Orphanage, England, 1948. She was their only hope. Now they are hers. A gritty, heartbreaking and unforgettable story of love and hope in the darkest of times.
Clara Newton is the new Housemother of Shilling Grange Orphanage. Many of the children have been bombed out of their homes and left without families, their lives torn apart by the war, just like Clara’s. Devastated by the loss of her fiancé, a brave American pilot, she is just looking for a place to start again.
But the orphans are in desperate need of her help. Funds are short, children cry out in the night,and tearful Rita tells Clara terrible stories about the nuns who previously ran Shilling Grange. Clara cannot bear to see them suffer, but what does she know about how to look after eight little ones?
Clara can’t get anything right, and then she accidentally ruins Rita’s only memento of her mother. Overwhelmed, she wonders if they’d be better off without her. But she’s not completely alone. Living next door is Ivor: ex-Shilling Grange resident, war hero, and handyman with deep brown eyes. He doesn’t trust Clara and she is fiercely independent, but he has a way with the children. And with his support and the help of other locals, Clara begins to find her way.
As she heals from her grief and adjusts to her new life, Clara wonders if she has finally found her home and family among the orphans. Can she find the strength to fight for them when nobody else will? And dare she open her heart to love again?
A heart-wrenching and totally gripping read. Fans of Before We Were Yours, Diney Costeloeand The Orphan Sisters won’t be able to put this book down.
The Orphanage by Lizzie Page is the first book in the Shilling Grange Children’s Home series. Page really knows how to set a scene as well as introduce extraordinary characters faced with everyday life challenges. Page has the ability to draw her readers in right from the very first page.
Clara Newton’s life isn’t exactly how she wished it would have turned out. She has been let go of her pencil pushing job, her American fiance has perished in the war, and her living arrangements are perilous at best. This all changes when she is hired as the Housemother of the Shilling Grange Orphanage. How hard can this job be? They are only kids, right? With her organizational skills and her eye for detail, she could have this orphanage running smoothly in no time. Oh how wrong she is. Nothing is as it seems at the orphanage, the kids are…well kids! Clara soon finds herself overwhelmed and ready to quit. But, do the kids in her charge and Clara actually have things in common? Much more than Clara could have ever dreamed is possible! HAs Clara truly found her home?
I must admit, I fell in love with this story and it was such a great opening to what looks like an amazing series by Lizzie Page. I loved getting to know each of the children and all of their different personalities and how Clara interacts with each one, often really not knowing what she is doing or if she is doing the right thing. It is wonderful to see how they come into their own with each other as well. There is also a little bonus for Clara as well as some tension when she gains the attention of not one but two men. One being her neighbor, war hero, Ivor Delaney, who knows all too well what living in an orphanage is like.
I really enjoyed this story and I definitely can not wait for book two to come out. What a fantastic start to this series. This is a definite five star read for me.