Synopses & Reviews
2000 Whitbread Children's Book of the Year
Published to acclaim in the United Kingdom, this stunning historical novel delves into a hidden side of eighteenth-century England: the world of infanticide and child slavery. Otis Gardiner, the Coram man, makes a vicious living disposing of the unwanted children and illegitimate offspring of distraught young women, rich and poor. Meshak is Otis's oppressed, simpleminded son, who finally discovers an infant he considers special enough to risk saving out of the hundreds who have succumbed to his father's brutality. The infant's father is Alexander Ashbrook, a brilliant young aristocrat disinherited by his family for his devotion to a forbidden career, who is astonishingly unaware that he even has a son, much less that he has abandoned him.
Around this trio and a host of other characters swirls Jamila Gavin's carefully orchestrated plot, in this disturbing, ultimately uplifting novel about sons and fathers, abuse and abandonment, treachery and devotion.
About the Author
Jamila Gavin has had numerous books for children and young adults published in Britain. Coram Boy was her United States debut. She lives in Gloucestershire, England.