Thursday, March 22, 2018

Secret Child Book Review

Secret Child Book Review
Secret Child (2015) is a true story from a time when individuals of different religious backgrounds could fall in love but not easily marry and where children born out of wedlock were considered unwanted and considered 'the unfortunates.'  Most women who found themselves pregnant and unmarried in 1950s Dublin, Ireland were unable to keep their children.

Secret Child tells the story of Cathleen, a woman who found a forbidden love and lost it because of the divide between the Protestant and Catholic religions and then found herself pregnant. She was one of the fortunate few to stumble across Regina Coeli, which may have been the only home for unwed mothers in Dublin at that time.

The author does not know how his mother came to find this facility but it was definitely because of the Regina Coeli that his mother, Cathleen, managed to keep her son and hide him away from her family and the rest of the world until he was eight years old. This accomplishment of course was only done with great hardship when she worked long hours and left her young son in the care of a reclusive caregiver at the facility.

Some may have called these children the unfortunates but the children did not see themselves in that light and Gordon, according to Mail Online, considered the hostel paradise. It was, after all, his childhood home where he lived until the age of 8 when his mother eventually reunites with and marries her original love. As a family, they move to London, England and this move perhaps improves their life slightly but also brings with it a host of other challenges, which includes leaving Gordon's Regina Coeli family behind.

This book gives a glimpse into life in the 1950s in Dublin and the early 1960s in London. It is told from the point of view of the child, Gordon Lewis, and written with the assistance of ghostwriter Andrew Crofts. In the book, Gordon returns to Ireland as an adult to uncover the story of his childhood home, which was a happy place in his eyes, and to learn the story of his mother's prior life, which was unknown to him. His cousin asks why he wants to dig up that old history and advises him to let it be. For Gordon, however, it was important to put the story together and understand both his family background and his mother's story.

I recommend Secret Child for those wanting an interesting look into those times in Ireland and a serious subject matter though the book is not a difficult book to read.  Though this story took place in Ireland, we all know that such religious divides existed elsewhere and that unwed mothers faced similar situations in many different parts of the world.

If you are interested, you can read more about the book or order your copy of Secret Child from Amazon by clicking right here.

IMDB says this story is being created as a short film called The Bridge by the author and due for release in 2018.

See you
at the bookstore!

More Ireland:

Order your copy of Secret Child on Amazon.
Visit 1980s Ireland via my My Fifty Dead Men Walking movie review.
Visit Ireland in 1916 my Michael Collins movie review.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. This sounds like an interesting book, Brenda. Times and attitudes were different in the 1950s and religion-torn nations then and now produce their own set of problems. I admire the author for searching out and writing about the facts of his birth and young years in those troubled times. Perhaps his story will help others from similar backgrounds and those facing trying situations in today's still-troubled world.

  2. I think I'd like to read this as soon as I can find time. I'll put it on my want-to-read list and some back when I'm ready to get it. I like memoirs, especially those of others who grew up about the time I did.

  3. Thanks for visiting ladies. I agree, Elf, that the author did a great thing in going back to Ireland on this voyage of discovery. Barbara, I hope you enjoy it if it makes its way to the top of your ever-growing reading list!

  4. It sounds like a great book Brenda! I know I would enjoy the historical aspects and a closer look at Ireland and London. I'm already on Gordon's mothers side. I applaud her for keeping and caring for her son. And, I certainly applaud Regina Coeli for enabling her to do just that. How sad that society had (and still has to some degree) so many rules about what is or isn't acceptable. As to Gordon delving into the past, I would hope it would give him a greater appreciation for his mother and her choices. Add this book to my must-read list now! Thank you for the review and recommendation.

  5. The historical aspect of this book makes it absolutely heartbreaking. Mankind can be utterly evil in their beliefs and behaviours, and of course we know things like this have happened all too often. I found your review compelling and will have to add this book to my collection of reads. Thanks for this one.

  6. This sounds like a good read, Brenda. Thanks for introducing us to it. Those times were troubling for sure.

  7. Another book added to my to-read list! I am interested in stories set in Ireland. And I am very interested in the stories about how humans behave; good and bad.


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