5 Star Review: Fox in the Closet, by Alisa B. Bates (Another stellar debut!!)

Review:

Liverpool in the late 18oos/early 1900s was a cruel place to be for Annie, but she never lost her hope for the future or compassion for humanity. Although fictional, Fox in the Closet is based on a factual ancestor of the author Alisa Bates. The research put in is beyond impressive, and the dedication to her character Annie is lovely. This book is tragic through and through, yet its written in a way that inspires hope and beauty in all situations. Annie finds light, and an upside to her living conditions no matter what barrel she’s scrapping the bottom of.

The book starts out with Annie in love. She’s a barmaid at her brother’s place, and has fallen for a patron. They’ve planed to run away together, but he leaves her stranded, alone with the baby growing inside. From there it spirals from one low to another for Annie all throughout her pregnancy and beyond. After her only family and childhood contact situations turn sour, she bounces from homelessness on the cruel streets of Liverpool, begging for food and taking a couple of abandon children under her wing.

She’s picked up by the authority, and finds herself in a religious placement for distraught women and their babies. It’s an ideal place, yet because Annie is not Catholic, she is only allowed a few weeks stay. They refer her to seek out a sweatshop type workhouse. It’s a less than ideal situation, but at least it offers a roof over her head, a small meal in her growing belly, and has a decent hospital for when the baby is born. It’s an option she can’t pass up.

Annie follows instruction and is admitted in the workhouse, and its much worse than expected. She’s given a mere box with straw to sleep on, it’s lined against a wall with several others. Privacy is non existent, the food is sparce, and the work is grueling. That’s not to mention the tension and hatred the workers have with one another.

Annie winds up having her beautiful little boy Charlie here, which starts a whole new journey for her. The love and devotion she has for her baby is felt deeply. Annie fights through thick and thin to keep him, and to give him a healthy happy life despite their situation. While Charlie is still an infant, he and Annie are placed in a working home as caretakers for an elderly couple. They’re happy, and well for a short time. She’s making a living and their stay is comfortable. Sadly, they’re stricken with red measles and forced back to the workhouse hospital.

The struggle continues as Charlie grows. By the age of three, he’s been in and out of family placement, the workhouse nursery and schooling, and has stayed with Annie another short time as she was able to find work and care for him. The second time Annie was stricken with sickness, it was Cholera, and they barely made it back to the workhouse hospital, as it nearly claimed her life. This time around, Charlie is placed in a home during Annie’s recovery and she’s forced yet again to make a decision of giving Charlie a better life than what she can offer as a single homeless mother in a cruel poverty stricken place.

As the book draws to an end Annie decides to try mending fences with her brother, which is an utter fail. She also makes the decision to try and seek out Charlie’s father. She loved him dearly, and her memories of him nearly convince her that the abandonment was a fluke… nearly!

Annie’s journey is one of a kind. She has a beautiful soul despite her mishap, and loves her son with the kind of dedication that really touches a mothers heart. I absolutely loved her drive and dedication to do what’s best for Charlie no mater what, and her heartache is written flawlessly by Alisa Bates. There is a taste of poetry at the end of each chapter as an emotional sum up, and it’s perfection, I loved it! There is also an index after the story describing situations, wording, and placement as they’re linked to historical facts and places. I love everything about this book, and recommend it with the highest regard!

Description:

Annie Brett waits near the quay of the River Mersey to begin a fresh, new life with her sailor. As the moon sinks lower in the sky, she pines for her true love, though he is nowhere to be seen. If he does not come, he will leave her with a lifelong remembrance and burden. Annie rubs her tightening belly. “I fear we be alone and withered, dear child. Our hearts be properly broken, now.”

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11 Comments Add yours

  1. This is a fantastic review! Thanks for the recommend 😊

    Like

    1. Thanks Jacquie! I feel like there is so much more I could have said about it lol, I actually had to cut my review short. It’s an excellent debut!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. raistlin0903 says:

    A five star review huh? Even though this most definitely isn’t a book that I would normally pick up, your review for it does have me intrigued to say the least. And you usually don’t hand out five star reviews very easily so I will keep this one in mind. As always a wonderful post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YOU’RE BACK!! I’m not going to lie, I about jumped out of my chair in seeing this comment! It’s great to see you in my notifications again, my friend! And thank you, this is such an excellent read! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. raistlin0903 says:

        Haha. Sorry about making you jump out of your chair, but yes I am back. I came back to the world of blogging yesterday, and I hope to stay around for a long while. So..you can expect me to see you popping up more often again in your comments section lol. Thanks for the warm welcome. It’s very nice to talk to you again: missed you 🙂 So..it’s great to be back 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. So exciting! I hope your break away was good in every way. I’ve actually been slacking on the blog, busy busy buys life, and considered an extended break too, but ultimately talked myself out of it *face palm* … I missed you as well, and hopefully we can both get back into the swing of things with ease! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. raistlin0903 says:

        Yeah it was a break that was hard to avoid I’m afraid. My father’s surgery went okay, but he still will probably need quite a while before he makes a full recovery. But I missed blogging too much, so that’s why I am back now 🙂
        Hmm…I do hope your life will become a little bit more relaxed too. Busy is not always bad, but not if it makes you more stressful. But yes, definitely looking forward to spending time here again, and of course talking to you. Please take good care of yourself too..and as I said sometimes it’s good to take a small break. With you working so hard, I’m sure everyone would understand 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’m glad to hear it went okay! Family definitely takes the priority cake! I look forward to your being back 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

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