The Last Orphan

The Last Orphan

Frank Shaw, the youngest of the orphaned Shaw children, is just four years old when he is abandoned at the workhouse with his sister Eliza. Bewildered by the dramatic and cruel changes in his life, Frank is bullied unmercifully by older boys. His sister and her friend Ginnie do their best to look out for him, but that ends when Frank and Ginnie are sent to work at Arthur Gillespie’s cotton mill. Frank endures the abuse of the owner and supervisor, and the dangers of the clanking machinery at the mill, for years, even after being injured. Finally, he can take no more and slips away to try to survive on the streets of London. Ginnie, who by now regards him as her little brother, is scared of what might happen to girls with nowhere to go, and refuses to go with him. It’s not long before Frank realises that honest work is not easy to find — and what there is will not give him enough to stave off starvation. When he stumbles across Mercy, a gaunt and hungry young girl with a baby, he spends the last of his hoarded coins on lodgings for them, for a week — and promises that he will not let them go back on the streets. Such a promise, he soon discovers, is not easy to keep. Frank, embittered and almost broken, decides that he will get back at the ‘fat cats’ of London: the men like Arthur Gillespie who cared nothing for the poor and hungry, but only for their own profits. Frank slides further and further a life of crime to support Mercy and her child, until he unwittingly drags Ginnie into his world and threatens the life she has made for herself. Frank has finally had enough. He resolves to get out of London, to make a new life for himself, Mercy and little Lilybeth, but the lure of ‘just one more job’ proves to be his undoing. It looks like everything he has sacrificed to look after the poor and homeless will be for nothing…

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Publisher Blue Gem Publishing
Release Date
ISBN 0992440343
Pages pages
Rating 4/5 (43 users)

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