Today I am happy to be on the tour with M J Lee and his fourth book in the series Jayne Sinclair Genealogical Mystery The Vanished Child. I was attracted to the book by its distinctive sandy cover showing a seemingly barren land, cross monument and smiling boy as well as its blurb. I was left heartbroken and shocked when I watched the film Oranges and Sunshine based on a true story which covered the same time period so I was intrigued on reading another viewpoint on the dark time in our history.
The Vanished Child by M J Lee
Title: The Vanished Child
Author: M J Lee
Purchase Link – myBook.to/vanishedchild
What would you do if you discovered you had a brother you never knew existed?
On her deathbed, Freda Duckworth confesses to giving birth to an illegitimate child in 1944 and temporarily placing him in a children’s home. She returned later but he had vanished.
What happened to the child? Why did he disappear? Where did he go?
Jayne Sinclair, genealogical investigator, is faced with lies, secrets, and one of the most shameful episodes in recent history as she attempts to uncover the truth.
Can she find the vanished child?
This book is the fourth in the Jayne Sinclair Genealogical Mystery series, but can be read as a standalone novel.
Every childhood lasts a lifetime.
On the surface this book appears to be a light mystery; M J Lee’s gentle writing style is easy to read and quickly draws you into the story but the heartbreaking and traumatic thread running throughout when investigations reveal a murky secret in our recent history make it a deeper and more important book to read. It is a secret everyone should know about. Tissues are required so grab some before you start.
The unusual premise of a genealogy mystery is fascinating. I have dabbled in searching for my own ancestors online and know how addictive unearthing stories can be. There are so many things you can find and it is clever to blend this into fiction. Though this book is part of a series, it was easy to slip into the characters lives without reading the previous books and I developed a connection with both protagonists Jayne Sinclair, the genealogical investigator and Harry, the vanished child she is hunting for. These connections are important as they make you care. I enjoyed Jayne Sinclair as a character but it was Harry’s story who made me turn the pages. He is migrated to Australia as part of Britain’s shameful scheme, Child Migration Programme. Between 1920 and 1970’s more than 130,000 children former colonies especially Australia and Canada by churches and charities. The aim was to populate the Instead of the better life they were promised many were sent into hard labour or servitude* It is a difficult subject to write about but M J Lee dealt with it sensitively and obviously well researched.
Would I recommend?
The Vanished Child is well worth reading and several more books have been added to my TBR.
Martin has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a University researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, TV commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflakes packets and hotel websites.
He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the North of England. In London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and London Festivals, and the United Nations.
When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, researching his family history, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake and wishing he were George Clooney.
Social Media Links –
Twitter – https://twitter.com/WriterMJLee
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/writermjlee
Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources and M J Lee for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion.