Title: Finding Eadie
Author: Caroline Beecham
Published: July 2nd 2020
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Rating: 4 stars
The author of Maggie’s Kitchen and Eleanor’s Secret delivers another compelling story of love and mystery during wartime.London 1943: War and dwindling resources are taking their toll on the staff of Partridge Press. The pressure is on to create new books to distract readers from the grim realities of the war, but Partridge’s rising star, Alice Cotton, leaves abruptly and cannot be found.
Alice’s secret absence is to birth her child, and although her baby’s father remains unnamed, Alice’s mother promises to help her raise her tiny granddaughter, Eadie. Instead, she takes a shocking action.
Theo Bloom is employed by the American office of Partridge. When he is tasked with helping the British publisher overcome their challenges, Theo has his own trials to face before he can return to New York to marry his fiancee.
Inspired by real events during the Second World War, Finding Eadie is a story about the triumph of three friendships bound by hope, love, secrets and the belief that books have the power to change lives.
‘All she could think about was holding Eadie.’
With two highly regarded historical novels under her belt Caroline Beecham returns with another powerful and well researched historical drama. Finding Eadie is a compelling story that combines problems in the wartime publishing industry with the heartbreaking business of baby farming, along with a touch of investigative intrigue and romance. Finding Eadie is a moving tale from a trusted author.
Opening in London in the heart of the wartime period in 1943, Finding Eadie reveals how the publishing industry both flourished and struggled during the war years. London based publisher Partridge Press is unable to gain essential resources, which creates great distress for the staff of the publishing house. With the pressure on to provide books to those left on the home front, the staff at Partridge Press have to come up with a number of ingenious ways to ensure that their business continues to serve its customer base. One of their pivotal employees, Alice, has been instrumental in supporting the company during these trying times. However, Alice holds a secret that will see her disappear from the publishing world for a short time. During her absence from Partridge Press, Alice gives birth to a baby girl. Alice does not reveal who the baby’s father is and despite this scandal, Alice’s mother declares she will support her daughter. But all this changes when Alice’s mother Ruth takes baby Eadie away and Alice is left utterly bereft. Meanwhile, Partridge Press has a new savior in the form of Theo Bloom, who comes from their US offices. Theo has been issued with the responsibility of assisting the British division of Partridge Press to deal with their current wartime challenges. As Theo works to save the London based publisher, he faces some tough life decisions. Over the course of this rich historical drama, the characters of Finding Eadie learn the true value of love, family, friendship, trust and promises.
Finding Eadie is the third historical fiction release from Sydney based writer Caroline Beecham. I am pleased to say that I have read and enjoyed Beecham’s previous two novels. Finding Eadie is yet another wonderful release from this author. Caroline Beecham’s latest is an impressive tale, especially in terms of the research that underpins this novel. I am sure Finding Eadie will please fans of Beecham’s previous work and I am confident that it may earn her some new readers too.
Finding Eadie is underscored by quite a heartbreaking situation and devastating practice that occurred during the war years. Due to the absence of the adoption act, babies were able to be taken and used as a trade commodity. This upsetting practice occurred not just in Great Britain, which is the central focus base of this novel, but also further abroad. I could only think about the impact this had on not only the mothers, but their families and eventually the babies themselves as adults. It would be difficult to learn that you were a product of a baby farming scenario. The long lasting impact would definitely be a trying one emotionally and psychologically. Anyhow, I digress, Beecham does a more than fine job of outlining the background to this situation in an informed, sensitive and insightful manner. Intertwining this emotionally fraught subject within a narrative gives this topic the realism and the emotional weight it deserves. I felt a great deal of empathy for mothers such as Alice, who discovered soon after giving birth that their baby has been taken away. This aspect of the story also takes on a mystery come investigative style thread which I enjoyed. It took me deep into some of the more shadier elements of the underworld in London during this time. Beecham also pads out this aspect of her story with plenty of historical detail.
Another dominant feature of Finding Eadie is the publishing focus. I have read a lot of wartime stories over the years, but I can’t say I have seen this topic touched on before. These episodes of the novel were authentic, revealing and completely engaging. It was a pleasure to learn more about this aspect of the war. It was great to see Alice at work in her position at Partridge Press and how Theo Bloom, a pivotal character to this tale, enters the proceedings. The character of Theo provides the reader with an additional glimpse into the publishing industry that was struggling to meet high demands. Theo’s role in the story also provides the audience with a nice gentle dose of romance, which offsets some of the distress, pain and devastating loss experienced by the characters.
Finding Eadie is a considerate and carefully researched historical drama. I enjoyed the combination of setting, characters, themes and the comprehensive history that underscores Caroline Beecham’s latest release.
Finding Eadie by Caroline Beecham was published on 2nd July 2020 by Allen & Unwin. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of Finding Eadie, Caroline Beecham, visit here.
*Thanks extended to Allen & Unwin for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.
Finding Eadie is book #98 of the 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge