The Stolen Baby by Diney Costeloe, (aka Diney Delancey), is the first book I have read by this author, but is her fourteenth published book.
It’s set in Plymouth at the height of the Blitz in World War II, and based on a true story. This book will tug at the heartstrings of every mother as it deals with the trauma of neonate death, and a baby’s disappearance.
Maggie and Colin Petersen have moved to Plymouth from London after the trauma of their baby’s death, just a few hours after his premature birth.
Colin knew Maggie didn’t want to move to Plymouth, but had hoped that a transfer would be a fresh start for them both, and it came with a promotion, from Constable, to Sergeant.
Then there’s the Shawbrookes. They’re a typical family of the times, on a night that will change their lives forever. David, an Air Raid Warden, is out on patrol. Nancy, his wife, is home with the five younger children.
On that fateful night when the air raid sirens go off, Nancy hustles the sleeping youngsters from their beds and down the road to the public air raid shelter. It’s only when 18-year old Vera flies into the shelter that it is realised that baby Freddie is still in his cot, in the home, on his own.
Eleven year old Ernie Drake stops outside a badly damaged house and is surprised to hear a baby crying. When Sergeant Colin Petersen places the heavy hand of the law on his shoulder he insists he wasn’t out looting but thought he’d heard someone inside.
Petersen discovers the baby and convinces himself that the rescue centres will be overwhelmed. He’ll just take the baby home for the night, and hand it in to the rescue centre in the morning.
For his wife Maggie, a baby arriving in the house is like a dream come true.
Meanwhile it becomes apparent that baby Freddie survived the bombing, and that someone has him, and doesn’t plan on giving him back. But who, and where, and how to track them down?
Costeloe does a fabulous job of bringing the reality, the impact and the experiences of the Blitz to life. The amazing resilience of those who dealt with the trauma of losing homes and family and yet retained the tenacity to keep on keeping on.
The characters are three dimensional, their actions and reactions completely appropriate for the time period. The images of the destruction caused by the bombing clearly painted and for those of us a little older, whose early lives preceded the internet, the memories of how slowly information disseminated and communication occurred are remembered.
A gripping story that keeps you engrossed from beginning to end.
With many thanks to Head of Zeus and Beauty and Lace Book Club for the opportunity to read and review The Stolen Baby by Diney Cotesloe.
A first class read, highly recommended for lovers of historical fiction.
Author: Diney Costeloe
ISBN: 9781789543322 (e-book)
Copy courtesy of Head of Zeus
Diney Costeloe is the author of another book club read, The French Wife.
A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading The Stolen Baby by Diney Costeloe. You can read their comments below, or add your own review. Sign up for our club here.
I love to read, for many years my passion has been science fantasy but recently I’ve discovered many fabulous Australian women authors and am devouring all the new genres I am being exposed to.
In addition to reading and reviewing books I enjoy photography, spending time with my husband, daughter, grandson, 2 dogs and a cat and am an aspiring author.