Can you mend a broken life?
by Louise Allen
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 02 Jul 2020 | Archive Date 15 Jan 2021
'It is a riveting book that one is unable to put down, subtly educational both for foster carers and social services alike, while being a heart wrenching and heartwarming read.'
Sarah Anderson, Director of Independent Foster Carers Alliance
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Coverage expected in Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Daily Mail online.
Radio interviews anticipated on BBC Radio 4, Talk Radio Europe and features in Woman & Home, Bella, Pick Me Up, Closer.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 31 members
I wasn't sure about this book initially as the beginning has been told from the point of view of a neglected toddler. The language is quite immature and I didn't think I was going to stick with it- until the narrative shifted. Louise is a foster carer who was previously a looked-after child and she takes care of Stella. She has her own family as well as foster children and the book is about the development of Stella and how well she does in a loving, secure household. Its a sad subject matter but an enjoyable read.
This is a sad story of a little girl who is born to parents who don't really want her. The young mother is unable to care for an infant and the father is absent. Poor Stella is moved around to different houses as an infant and toddler until she ends up back with her birth father after he gets out of prison. Stella narrates a chapter or two at the age of four. She has been left alone, naked, with her dog in a garbage, feces ridden apartment with no food or power. Finally the police show up and take her to the hospital where she then is put in foster care. Stella actually ends up in a nice foster home with an older sister and two older brothers, stable parents and a nice place to live. After 5 years of instability and unknowns, Stella is finally able to slowly settle into her new life with a good family. However, her behavior is some situations warrants concern by her foster mother who rallies Stella's social worker and support team to try and help her. Clearly she was abused, molested and forced into child pornography as a toddler as her actions/words seem to indicate. Sadly, Stella has a long trek back to some semblance of normalcy. The book is written in very basic writing but it is written by the foster mom and how Stella came to be wit her family. A very sad story of abuse and neglect, but redeeming in the end where Stella is able to move on eventually and live her life as best she can.
Loved the way this book was written you don’t usually get the background story or the perspectives of other people when reading abuse stories I loved louise from the off and will be looking to read her other stories xx
this is so sad . I cried Stella is named outside a hospital while her mum is drinking a can of lager with the father so she says the mother has never grown up how this child is treated is just awfull recommend but make sure you have tissues
Stella was born to a teenage mother & named for her parent's favourite lager! Her early years seemed to have consisted of being passed from one household to another. When she was nearly five she was taken into care & went to into the foster care of the Allen family. Louise herself had suffered abuse as a child & now with Lloyd, her husband & two boys now strive to provide a stable environment for the children they care for. Lily has been with them for a long time & like the rest of the family she soon falls under the spell of this quiet gentle soul with the huge eyes. However when everyone is lined up for a group photo & someone says, "Say 'Cheese'" the family realises that Stella has been through even more trauma than they had been led to believe.
This is a heartbreaking story. The battles Louise goes through with social services etc are a sad reminder of how overworked, understaffed & often disillusioned they are. The Allen family are ,I'm sure, just one such family trying to do their best for these forgotten children. It is a story I won't forget for a long time. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this book.
Louise Allen is an experienced foster carer living in the South East of the UK with her husband, two birth sons and a foster child when this true story starts. She is contacted by her manager to take in a new foster child, a five year old girl called Stella who needs emergency care. She willingly agrees to accept young Stella. Her entire family rush around to ensure their home is ready to welcome Stella, making her bed up, getting suitable clothing ready, finding toys and books that a girl of five would enjoy playing with; her two sons disappear without prompting and pick their new family member a bunch of garden flowers to welcome to her into the household.
When Stella arrives she is so tiny and slender that Louise is reminded of a small bird. There is nothing of her. Immediately Louise is filled with empathy and resolves to do everything she can to assure that Stella’s new life within this family will be full of loving, she’d be well cared for and that this new beginning will be a wonderful change for her. Stella is traumatised, very quiet but also very compliant. She nods or shakes her head in answer to questions and when she does speak her voice is almost a whisper. She remembers her please and thankyou without prompting, she eats every morsel she is given, even foods she has not tried before. This is the setting for this brand new series called ‘Thrown Away Children’
Stella settles in quickly. She sleeps well and is happy to join in with all aspects of family life, but before too long a common phrase used by her foster father who was taking a family photograph provokes a startling and shocking response. Louise makes it her urgent task to try to get to the bottom of the matter. Then another incident of being given a chocolate treat on a plate starts Stella flooding with tears and racing off into the faraway hedge boundary of the house and hiding. Something is not right and Louise is very concerned as she begins to suspect Stella has been abused. She initiates the start of an investigation within her support network. If you want to find out what happens next, this novel will soon be released.
I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to review this story. It was a hard read at times but I liked the way it dipped into Stella’s early life, before meeting Louise. I liked the descriptions of outings and the warmth and inclusiveness of the family. I loved the ending as well. I was shocked by the lack of liaison between Social Services and foster carers. I also questioned their dealing with the situation and the decisions they made without even seeing the child or, even out of courtesy, speaking to Louise first. No wonder she felt very frustrated. The system let her down in the worst possible way. Emails with questions were unanswered, and at meetings she was treated very shabbily. This case was definitely mismanaged and I could empathise with Louise’s anger, but still she acted the way true professionals do, calmly and accepting, whilst still seeking clarity and help from other agencies. This system definitely needs fine tuning to ensure vulnerable children are not further damaged. I thought Louise acted with dignity and professionalism. Her family were adorable and the sort of family that are what a foster child needs; consideration, inclusion and welcoming.
I received this title through my membership of NetGalley and from publisher Mirror Books, all in return for an honest review. This is my 4.5* review. If you are compassionate and like meaty true life stories that will touch your heart look no further. This is the story for you. I recommended it as a really good rewarding read.
This book was quite Riveting
It’s about Sarah who about a young girl
She is left by her mother and her father she has no food or water
She gets to having her photo as a no go
I had an ARC
This is the second in a series of fostering experience books, and when I finished it I immediately ordered the first one! I was absolutely enthralled by the story of Little Stella, and I was rooting for her all the way through. Fans of Casey Watson will enjoy this new author, as she has the same determination to fight for the children in her care. At the end of this book there is an excerpt from the next one, which I am already excited to read! I could not put it down and would highly recommend it.
Stella’s Story is the first in a new series called Thrown Away Children. A true story about Louise, a foster mother and Stella a young girl who suffered horrible abuse. This was a difficult read for myself. I personally have experienced childhood abuse, most painfully around the same age as Stella in the beginning of the book. I also am now a mother to a daughter of that age. It’s heartbreaking. It was difficult to read at parts. But over all I felt a sense of hope and thankfulness to Louise and the other adults that helped Stella. I believe it’s an important read even if it is difficult. It shows other survivors they are not alone. Stella was not alone. It shows that there are caring, loving and wonderful people out there that want to make a difference. I recommend to fans of Cathy Glass’s books. I look forward to reading more in the series as they are released. Thank you Netgalley for this advanced readers copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
Release Date: April 2 2020
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