3 out of 4 stars
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Thirteen-year-old Lucy Williamson was to be taken by her nanny by train to meet her parents in Worthing, England. However, her nanny announced it was her aunt’s birthday, and she wanted to stop and deliver her a small present before they journeyed to the train station. After entering the house and meeting the woman who was allegedly the aunt, Lucy discovered she was in a brothel and couldn’t leave. Being a lovely reverend’s daughter and a virgin, she was expected to bring an exceptionally high sum of money.
When Lucy didn’t appear, her parents rushed to the police station, frantically seeking their help in finding their daughter. There, they met a drunken ex-brothel owner, who informed them that their chances of locating Lucy were extremely small. She was most likely in one of the thousands of local brothels or had been shipped out of the country to some private buyer. Getting little help from the police and desperate to track down their daughter, they hire ex-Scotland Yard Inspector Jeremiah Minahan to assist in their search. Will they succeed in finding Lucy and returning her home?
Loss of Innocents by Alvin Bojar is a historical fiction that takes place in London in 1885. I must commend Mr. Bojar for the way he seamlessly merged the three threads running through the book. The first thread is comprised of Lucy’s life during and after the abduction. The second is the search for her by her parents. The last thread is the dangerous battle of several dedicated, real people to enlighten the public about this evil and get the laws changed. Their goal is to end the cruel plight of children like Lucy.
The author has clearly expended a great deal of effort researching for this book; in various instances, he uses individuals’ documented speech. This is a part of English history of which most of us are unaware. It was estimated there were over 10,000 brothels in England by 1885, and many children were tricked into them or were bought from their parents for the purpose of prostitution. The police were paid to look the other way. Even some degenerate members of Parliament regularly visited the brothels and had no desire to see them closed. It took extremely risky dedication by several determined and courageous men and women to try to bring about laws to protect the children. However, this ugly part of humanity has not been completely eradicated as we see in the human trafficking going on even today.
Mr. Bojar’s prose flows in a linear timeline and is easily understood. His descriptive writing transports the reader to 19th-century England and brings the heroes and heroines to life for us to know. Because his writing is so interesting and enthralling, the reader learns about this bit of English history without being bored. The action begins in the first chapter when Lucy is tricked into entering the brothel. Following that, the other characters and the plot are developed, intermittently incorporating danger and suspense into the narrative. This managed to keep me spellbound.
Sadly, the errors encountered in the novel were too numerous to give a perfect score. Therefore, Loss of Innocents receives a rating of three out of four stars. If the mistakes are cleared up, I believe it will be worthy of four stars. I enthusiastically recommend it to readers who enjoy historical fiction that takes place in England in the 1800s. There are several scenes of rape and attempted rape, although the author tries not to provide any more details than is necessary. In addition, torture is mentioned. The scenes involving little children, although not very descriptive, bothered me the most. This may be triggering for some readers. If that is the case, they might want to look elsewhere.
Loss of Innocents
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