I was gifted an early copy of The Abandoned and also bought my own Kindle version, as always reviews are completely my own.
Peggy Bowden has not had an easy life. As a teenager, her mother was committed to an asylum and then a local priest forced her into an abusive marriage. But when her husband dies in an accident Peggy sees an opportunity to start again and trains as a midwife.
In 1950s Dublin it is not easy for a woman to make a living and Peggy sees a chance to start a business and soon a lucrative maternity home is up and running.
But when Peggy realizes that the lack of birth control is an issue for women, she uses their plight as a way to make more money. Very soon Peggy is on the wrong side of the law.
What makes a woman decide to walk down a dark path? Can Peggy ever get back on the straight and narrow? Or will she have to pay for her crimes?
Set against the backdrop of Ireland in the 1950’s The Abandoned tells the story of one woman’s fight for survival and her journey into the underbelly of a dangerous criminal world.
Your past and what actions you take, leave traces in your life and come full circle, or do they?
Peggy is a woman who shows all sides to her character in the opening pages of the brilliant debut novel by Sharon Thompson. Set in 1950’s Ireland, it is quickly established the Peggy we meet has an unsettled life so far and continues to battle with past emotions as she carves a new career for herself, with long-lasting consequences. What made Peggy stay on my mind long after I finished reading this novel was how I could dislike a character a lot of the time, yet root for her ,admire her drive and overall her strength to proceed and achieve. Whilst the book is labelled a crime thriller, I think it is so much more, hugely character driven with a nod to Ireland’s past, this passes back and forth through crime and historical fiction easily. I had a sense as I read, that the desire to be loved and needed drove Peggy to circumstances from where she would have to battle, and battle she did. So well that parts of the novel are quite crude and disturbing, but only add to the overall torment I felt that she had buried deep inside her and without inclusion would only tell half the story. You will feel sorrow, you will feel uncomfortable at times, hate for certain characters but overall you will feel a sense of empowerment and silently cheering Peggy through each battle she faces or somehow creates. It is because of this vulnerability that I felt flashes of through her love for some of her girls and her memories from her childhood and young loves, that she finds herself at times her own worst enemy, easy for others to take advantage of. Danger is never more than a sentence or two away and at times you have to feel annoyance as she walks into a situations your gut tells won’t end well.
The book is fast paced , packed full of detail and emotions and just when you have an idea where the story is going, the author adds another dimension to the book which only draws you further into the bowels of an already sensory packed read.
When I came to the end, I felt it came around the corner ,shocking me and left me wanting more. It am only hoping that we get to meet Peggy again, such is her drive and will to survive I have no doubt she could easily fill more pages. I would love to read what she does now faced with the current challenges she finds herself in.
Already familiar with the authors writing I was very pleased to see that part of her humor is dotted throughout the novel, darkened slightly to match the overall theme of Peggy’s story. A strong woman’s story which could only be written by a strong woman, I was delighted to hear that Bloodhound books have announced they have signed Sharon for two further mystery thrillers.