22 August, 2016

The Slaidburn Angel by M. Sheelagh Whittaker

The author was tracing her roots through her mother's mother, when she came upon an intriguing story. There had been a murder in the family. A little child had died back in the 1800's and her grandmother's stepmother and her sister had been tried for the murder.

Joining forces with some relatives from across the world who were also looking into the story of the little boy Thomas, they were able to travel from Canada to the scene of the murder in the north of England, and examine parish and other records.

As they looked deeper into the tragedy they came to realise just what had happened and how the little boy had died. The author writes about the events through the eyes of her grandmother, a young girl at the time. This helps her to unravel the mystery.

This is a tragic tale, and highlights the plight of unmarried mothers and illegitimate children in the 19th century, but it is a moving and very well told story.

Title: The Slaidburn Angel
Author: M. Sheelagh Whittaker

Reviewed by Clare K at Massey Library

Clare K works at Massey Library in West Auckland. She believes that there is nothing you can't learn from a book, and the more you know the more you grow.


  1. Thank you Clare. I am touched by your review. I loved writing that book and, as I am sure you noticed, my sister Penny found our first clues about the murder on the net while she was living and web surfing in Wellington, NZ.
    My latest book, a novel called 'Evaline: A Feminist's Tale' is just out and you can get it from Amazon. It would be wonderful to learn your reaction to that story.

    1. Thankyou for the reply, it's great to think that an author is reading our thoughts from far away. I've asked the Auckland Libraries to purchase your new book and will look forward to reading it, and I'm sure it will be just as absorbing as the first.


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