I read the first 5,000 words of this book as an excerpt in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards Contest of 2008. The novel was a finalist and a standout in my mind. Don't ask me why it's taken me this long to read the book, I would strongly suggest that if you are a fan of historicals that you don't wait!
"The Wet Nurse's Tale" is a combination of the story of young Susan Rose, the child of a wet nurse who becomes one herself, and some of the women who have sent their babies to Susan Rose's mother. Susan isn't the most appealing among her many sisters and for that she's thankful. The beautiful one got raped by the Master at the Big House. Her sister Ellen not only lost her virginity but her fiancee as well and ultimately drowned herself. Susan is however the smartest and the spunkiest.
Susan gains her first child, Joey, from the Master's son Freddie who is much kinder than his father. Still, she leaves the Big House. As soon as Susan's father realizes she can make money wet-nursing, he sends her away from her child to serve in other's homes succoring the infants of the wealthy.
Her second child is the son of a Hebrew dentist and is taken from her when the Master's wife believes it is again Freddie's child. The babe is sent to a distant cousin in London. In a daring plan, Susan Rose decides to run away and travel to London to care for her own child.
Despite not knowing how to read, Susan's amazingly clever. Her thoughts become quite real as you read the pages. This story's very much worth reading and one of the most compelling and compassionate historicals I have ever encountered.
As I said, I am sorry I took so long to read this book. I genuinely hope that you will read this review and get to it sooner!
Rebecca McFarland Kyle, June 2012