Today I’m excited to introduce Mary Hooper on our stop of her UK Blog Tour to celebrate the publication of Velvet (if you haven’t read my review already you can here)
ILLEGITIMATE BABIES – Then and Now
Babies often feature in my novels, because babies, especially if they‘re born to underage mothers, make good, involving, dramatic stories. This was true twelve years ago when I wrote the MEGAN books, and is still true now.
Many of my historical novels have babies in them (Grace, the baby lowered out of a window in a basket in AT THE SIGN OF THE SUGARED PLUM; the two new-born babies exchanged at the beginning of THE REMARKABLE LIFE AND TIMES OF ELIZA ROSE, poor Grace’s baby in FALLEN GRACE and now, in VELVET, a baby stolen to order. In my books, which are concerned with social history rather than crime or magic or science fiction, babies are a catalyst. They bring drama, love, conflict, shame and (usually) abject poverty into a story.
An underage, single girl having a baby these days does not have an easy time of it. Contrary to what some of the newspapers say, she will probably not get her own flat as a matter of course. She will be broke, she will have to decide between a packet of disposable nappies for the baby or a pair of tights for herself. She’ll be left behind when her friends go clubbing, go on holiday or even just to the shopping mall (they‘re not going to hang around while the baby is fed, changed, sick down itself and changed again). And what about the huge gap in the unmarried mum’s education? What about all those exciting things she was going to do?
Go back a hundred years, however, and the situation was very much worse. An unmarried mother was regarded as the lowest of the low. There was no welfare state, no health service – and most hospitals would only allow you through the doors to deliver your baby if you were married. If, later, your child was ill and you couldn’t afford to call in the doctor, then that was just too bad. And where would you live? Rooms were available, but how could you afford one when you had no money coming in? How would you feed and clothe your infant? If you lied about the baby and managed to get a job, who was going to look after it while you worked? There were no registered child-minders and no properly run nurseries. If your mother didn‘t live nearby (and hadn‘t already disowned you for having brought shame on the family) then the only way you could get your baby looked after was to take him to a baby farm…
One lucky winner has the chance of winning a copy of Velvet plus Mary Hooper’s backlist including.. At the Sign of the Sugared Plum, Petals in the Ashes, The Remarkable Life and Times of Eliza Rose, At the House of the Magician, By Royal Command, The Betrayal and Fallen Grace! (I’m so jealous…I’ve read Fallen Grace too but would love to read the others!!
All you need to do to enter is fill in the form below. Closes 21st September. UK Only Winner will be notified by email.