Book Review : The Paper Bracelet by Rachael English

May 6, 2020 Book review 6 ★★★★½

Holy moly, I’m feel twisted and wrung out like a wet rag after reading this. The Paper Bracelet by Rachael English broke my heart with it’s tragic theme of what happened in Irish mother and baby homes in the past.  All the more so as it’s many women’s untold story. 

Thanks to Hachette Ireland for giving me for giving me a copy of this book for review consideration. As always, no matter what the source of the book, you get my honest, unbiased opinion.

Book Review : The Paper Bracelet by Rachael EnglishThe Paper Bracelet: A heartbreaking novel of old secrets from a mother and baby home by Rachael English
Published by Hachette Ireland on February 27, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Women, Emotions & Feelings, Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from Publisher
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Every baby's bracelet held a mother's secret...

For almost fifty years, Katie Carroll has kept a box tucked away inside her wardrobe. It dates from her time working as a nurse in a west of Ireland mother and baby home in the 1960s. The box contains a notebook holding the details of the babies and young women she met there. It also holds many of the babies' identity bracelets.

Following the death of her husband, Katie makes a decision. The information she possesses could help reunite adopted people with their birth mothers, and she decides to post a message on an internet forum. Soon the replies are rolling in, and Katie finds herself returning many of the bracelets to their original owners. She encounters success and failure, heartbreak and joy. But is she prepared for old secrets to be uncovered in her own life?

BOOKLOVE cover love Historical Page-Turner Tear Jerker

First Line of The Paper Bracelet by Rachael English

“They skulled in the dark like animals.”

5 things I love about The Paper Bracelet

  • The characters – Patricia in the Mother and Baby home 50 years ago. And Katie a retired nurse who worked there, and wants to reunite the identity bracelets that she collected with their rightful owners. These were characters that I empathised and agonised with from page one.
  • The theme makes for an emotional, intense and heavy plot. But a hopeful uplifting feel to the writing balanced out the heaviness wonderfully. It stopped it feeling too black, and I really enjoyed the lively dialogue and colourful modern setting of the current timeline.
  • The mystery of matching the bracelets with their owners, and seeing how their lives turned out. I invested hugely in their stories and grieved and celebrated along with them.
  • The book felt well researched, and I think it’s a lovely way of keeping this horrible part of our history alive. Women and children suffered inhumane injustices that should never EVER be forgotten.
  • I really appreciated how the two timelines slotted together. Colour me moved and more than a little torn up with sadness.
#ThePaperBracelet by @EnglishRachael made my heart pound with a rollercoaster of emotions. Check out the 5 things I loved about this captivating book. Click To Tweet

Overall this was a powerful read. And my heart pounded from the rollercoaster of emotions that I flowed in and out of. Racheal English is one of my favourite contemporary Irish authors and this book is a perfect example of how her books suck me in.

Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: four-half-stars

Who should read The Paper Bracelet by Rachael English

I can’t recommend this highly enough to you if you enjoy dual timelines, rich character development and intense, emotional plots.   Fans of Patricia Scanlan, Diane Chamberlain and Maeve Binchy should also enjoy.

About Rachael English

Rachael English is a bestselling novelist and presenter on Ireland's most popular radio programme, Morning Ireland.  During more than twenty years as a journalist, she has worked on most of RTE Radio's leading current affair programmes, covering a huge range of national and international stories.
She lives in Dublin, but was born in England and grew up in County Clare on Ireland's west coast.


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6 Responses to “Book Review : The Paper Bracelet by Rachael English”

  1. Kathryn

    Sounds really good, I hate that black part of mothers and babies being separated. So horrible. This one sounds though that it has some good resolutions.

  2. Mystica

    I’ve read about the brutality of those homes before. It was not just heart breaking but showed the double standards that were typical of the times. I wish we could just put it behind us even today it does exist that “what will people say” attitude of lots of people.

  3. Katherine

    Just looking at the cover I was expecting something lighter and happier. This sounds like a seriously emotional and at times tough read. It definitely sounds worthwhile and like a good read.

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