Paper Sparrow
by Magda Palmer

"Bleeding hearts do not speak; they bleed."

Peggy, or Maggie as she would rather be called, endures a childhood of abuse from her adoptive parents. On her own at the age of thirteen, she finds work in a hospital as an aide. Fortunately, after being dismissed from the hospital because of bad publicity about its standards, she finds a family in dear friends and kind employers. When she is barely fifteen, she is raped. Because of her subsequent pregnancy, she must leave her friends to enter a home for unwed mothers. Run by an unscrupulous matron and her helper, Maggie learns that it is common practice to place newborns with families willing to pay for the privilege of parenthood. After giving birth and leaving the home, Maggie finds her life takes many turns as she forges a life from hard work and unexpected adventures.

This historical novel, set in mid-twentieth-century Australia, explores the deplorable treatment of unwed mothers by those who are charged with their care. The novel follows the protagonist to many areas of Australia, from cities to a picturesque countryside as well as to several historical sites. Well-written with lovely descriptive paragraphs of Australia’s offerings, it is an entertaining read which includes information about social change with an underlying philosophical theme that ventures into Eastern religion. Maggie is a captivating protagonist whose plight tugs at the heartstrings. Readers are pulled into the story from the book’s beginning, and the story holds interest until its last words. Those who love historical novels with a strong female protagonist will find this book and its heroine engaging. This is one that will stay with the reader long after its conclusion.

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