A Rousing Historical Novel about Canadians-in-the-Making
London, 1870s. A newborn baby, abandoned in a gutter, stubbornly refuses to die. Katie becomes a street child in a part of London where few reach their 20th birthday.
Enter Amelia Radmore, genteel, sheltered radical determined to send destitute youngsters to Canada to start new lives as part of the nascent child emigration movement. Amelia little guesses that her naive, unconventional fundraising efforts will trigger a fierce battle of ambitions stretching from the lowest criminal dives into the path of the Prince of Wales himself.
Strawberry Rose, raising money for Amelia, seizes the chance to take London by storm as a dazzling musical sensation, oblivious to the pitfalls in her path.
Red Nell, a powerful underworld potentate, delights in fleecing Amelia’s charity.
Nouveau riche Louisa Crisp sponsors Amelia in a desperate bid to social climb way out of her league.
Her sons, Adam and Henry, each obsessed with Rose, find themselves violently at each other’s throats.
Rose discovers just how horrifying a price she must pay for success and true love when Bertie, Prince of Wales, steps lustily into the mix, eying her for himself.
Through it all, Katie joins fellow cast-offs in a struggle to stay alive. Will is a chimney sweep’s climbing boy, Cully, the rickety survivor of a cellar sweatshop, and Laura the pampered but illegitimate darling of an Elizabethan manor tossed out by grasping relatives.
Gullible, earnest Amelia remains their only hope.
The question, for children and grownups alive, is are they daring enough to escape the strangling clutches of the Old World and grasp the freedom of the New
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I enjoyed this book so much I had to hop out of bed before dawn just to finish it.
“I loved The Tomorrow Country. It’s a gripping, dramatic read from start to finish. It tells the story of four very different children thrown onto the trash-heaps of 1870s London and fighting to survive them, a young woman risking her way up the steps of society’s ladder as a salon singer while fighting off suitors and navigating a forbidden love, territorial wars between local overlords that echo Dickens’s The Adventures of Oliver Twist and cause havoc for the children, and the struggle of English charities to rescue them, with the plan to ship them off to the farmlands of Canada into the hoped-for safety of a healthy countryside and foster care. Almost everyone is plotting something, usually nefarious and dangerous, while the protagonists battle desperate odds. The period detail is vivid and realistic, the conflict constant and often breathtaking, with characters that run the gamut through all the shades of gray to black. Definitely a page-turner, something to keep one awake late into the night. I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel and trusting it will explore both a little-known period of Canadian history and the fates of Hamilton’s haunting characters.”
I read The Tomorrow Country written by Gail Hamilton a month ago. I like to read and have read al ot of books now that I am retired. Most of these are soon forgotten but this particular book will stay with me for several reasons. Obviously much research has gone into the writing and you feel as if you are right there in the story. This is a subject that most of us have heard a little about but to have it laid out so clearly with so much detail of the day makes it more like a movie than a book.
After reading the book, my wife discovered that her grandmother was one of these little immigrants. She came to Canada as an 8 year old on the ship Dominion with 13 other children 8-12 years old and a minister, landing in Quebec to start her new life.
Looking forward to the next book.