Thursday, 3 December 2020

The Ever Open Door

Finished November 29
The Ever Open Door by Julie Band

This debut novel was inspired by the author's own grandfather coming to Canada as a Barnado Homes orphan. Here the Barnado is a small but essential part of the plot. 
The main character here is Rachel Gilmore, oldest daughter of a shipowner in Liverpool in 1888. As the story begins, Rachel is at an event where her stepmother is being honoured. Because her stepmother is ill, Rachel is accepting the honour on her behalf and is escorted by her father. 
Rachel is a smart young woman and has been helping her stepmother with the household accounts as well as her father with his business accounts. 
Her stepmother is a trained midwife and has been working with the city's poor for years, and lately Rachel has been accompanying her on many of her visits. Now she has volunteered Rachel to help another agency with their books. Mrs Birt runs an agency that send orphaned children to Canada, and hopefully to a better future. 
Rachel's father's business is tight financially, and the investors and banks are applying pressure, and her father is considering all his options for the protection of the business, but when he is injured during the unloading of one of his ships, the family faces more immediate difficulties. 
Rachel is a girl who is smart and observant, and she notices the expressions and actions of the people around her. But she is also naive, despite her charitable activities and some of her choices get her into difficult situations. With her stepmother still not well, and her father's business tied up in legal situations, she tries to protect her younger sister Emily and herself. But sometimes she finds herself out of her depth and put into circumstances that place her and her reputation in danger.
I liked the spunk of the main character, and her resolve to do the right thing, even when it is a difficult one. She looks for opportunity and has ingenuity in her ideas. She is also a kind girl, raised to treat people of all classes with respect, and this serves her well. 
I also liked how the plot developed, slowly at first and then becoming a real page turner. I want to know more of Rachel's story to see where it leads. 

1 comment:

  1. I had to look up "Barnado homes" as I'd never heard of it before. It's an interesting story, thanks for sharing :)