The first time Annie Sweet sees 43 Stanley Road, the house is so perfect she almost feels as though it has chosen her.
She longs to move in, but with her husband seeming more distant, and her daughter wrapped up in her friends and new school, Annie is left alone to mull over the past.
Soon she becomes consumed by the house and everyone who has lived there before her, especially a young chorus girl called Lily Painter, a rising star of the music hall whose sparkling performances were the talk of the town.
As Annie delves further into Lily's past she begins to unravel a dark episode from Edwardian London, that of two notorious baby farmers, who lured young unmarried mothers with the promise of a better life for their babies. Until Annie solves the mystery at the heart of the scandal, the ghost of Lily Painter will never be able to rest.
Based on a real period from London's rich history, Caitlin Davies skilfully blends fact and fiction to bring to life part of our sinister past. Spanning an entire century, from the journals of an Edwardian police inspector to a doomed wartime love affair, The Ghost of Lily Painter is an engrossing and poignant novel from a hugely talented writer.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 352 pages
- Publisher: Cornerstone
- Publication Date: 02/06/2011
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780091937034
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Review by literarytiger
An interesting story although I wasn't sure that it held together that well. The 'ghost' of the title seemed almost an afterthought - it really wasn't needed and I found its addition a little bit strained. The story of the baby farmers was really interesting and the research around that was good, but it all came together a little too neatly. Unfortunately, I also found the daughter of the main character, Molly, unpleasant which irritated me throughout. Interesting read, but I wouldn't go back a second time.