If anyone has seen the movie "The Magdalene Sisters", this book is a milder version of it. It kept my interest but I felt the the main character was not treated as harshly as the stories I've heard about the Magdalene Asylums.
Heartrbreaking, but realistic portrait of both the humanity of and the stigma attached to unmarried mothers just 50 years ago.
I enjoyed this story about a young Irish-Catholic girl who became pregnant "out of wedlock"--(sounds like a disease, doesn't it?). She was 'graciously' accepted to a home for unwed mothers run by an order of nuns. They agreed to provide a good, clean, place to work (at the laundry service run by the nuns) and live until her baby was born, and then would find a loving Catholic home to adopt the baby. Things were rough in the 50's and unwed women were considered 'wild and wanton, women who had no morals or upbringing'. The were forced to live a hard, austere, life if the "father" chose not to marry her. The mother then gave the baby up for adoption and went back to her home as if nothing had happened. These poor women became so down-trodden that many of them just stayed at the laundry for the rest of thier lives. This is a wonderfully written accoun of that era. It had a fast start and kept up the pace right until the surprise ending. The characters are well-developed and you feel as if you really did know them.
I have seen this book on Amazon several times while looking for memoirs about women who have lived inside the Magdalen laundry facilities. I never bought this one becuase I thought it might not touch on my emotions as much as a true story would. Well, I ended up finding this at my local Goodwill so I decided I would go ahead and read it. I'm really glad I did! I stayed up way past my normal bedtime becuase I just couldn't bring myself to put this book down!
The Magdalen is about Esther a country girl from a small fishing community in Ireland in the late 1940's to early 1950's. When tragedy strikes Esther's family leaving Esther and her mother at odds with eachother it makes Esthers situation even more difficult. Esther has a secret and it's not one taken lightly in the Ireland run by the church. She can't hide this secret for long becuase soon it will be showing itself to the world. When Esthers mother finally confronts her Esther is relieved to finally be able to confide in her family, but the reliefe is short lived as tension and anger fill the families small seaside cottage to the brim.
Being a religously devout woman Esther's mother turns to their parish priest to help them find a solution to Esther's problem. Reluctantly Esther agrees to the priest's suggestion that she go stay in a Magdalen laundry facility run by the nuns. It might seem like the right solution to Esther's family, but for Esther it's down right heartbreaking.
Although I really enjoyed this book a lot I only gave it four stars becuase the begining is a bit slow.
This is a great book.
From back cover Esther Doyle is a true child of Connemara. She is a simple girl with a true heart, and the wild and tangled land of the West sings in her bones. But when Esther is betrayed by her lover and left unmarried and pregnant, the sea and sky are both lost to her... Order to find out what happpens.