Coram Boy (Hardcover)
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 9780374315443, 336pp.
Publication Date: March 24, 2005
2000 Whitbread Children's Book of the Year
Published to acclaim in the United Kingdom, this stunning historical novel delves into a hidden side of eighteenth-century England: the world of infanticide and child slavery. Otis Gardiner, the Coram man, makes a vicious living disposing of the unwanted children and illegitimate offspring of distraught young women, rich and poor. Meshak is Otis's oppressed, simpleminded son, who finally discovers an infant he considers special enough to risk saving out of the hundreds who have succumbed to his father's brutality. The infant's father is Alexander Ashbrook, a brilliant young aristocrat disinherited by his family for his devotion to a forbidden career, who is astonishingly unaware that he even has a son, much less that he has abandoned him.
Around this trio and a host of other characters swirls Jamila Gavin's carefully orchestrated plot, in this disturbing, ultimately uplifting novel about sons and fathers, abuse and abandonment, treachery and devotion.
Praise For Coram Boy…
"An exquisitely written historical novel." --The New York Times Book Review
"Gavin has put together a raging cauldron of scandal, secrets, and sin, along with a healthy dose of redemption, justice, and fairy-tale endings . . . [An] immensely involving piece of
historical fiction." -- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"In the great tradition of Dickens, British author Gavin mines English history, contrasting 18th-century city life with that of country estates, the wealthy classes with the povertystricken . . . Gavin paints low-life characters every bit as seductively as the high-society variety, and never shows her hand as the disparate threads of her narrative join together into a seamless whole." - Starred, Publishers Weekly