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The Throwaway Children

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Gritty, heartrending and unputdownable – the story of two sisters sent first to an English, then an Australian orphanage in the aftermath of World War 2. Rita and Rosie Stevens are only nine and five years old when their widowed mother marries a violent bully called Jimmy Randall and has a baby boy by him. Under pressure from her new husband, she is persuaded to send the g Gritty, heartrending and unputdownable – the story of two sisters sent first to an English, then an Australian orphanage in the aftermath of World War 2. Rita and Rosie Stevens are only nine and five years old when their widowed mother marries a violent bully called Jimmy Randall and has a baby boy by him. Under pressure from her new husband, she is persuaded to send the girls to an orphanage – not knowing that the papers she has signed will entitle them to do what they like with the children. And it is not long before the powers that be decide to send a consignment of orphans to their sister institution in Australia. Among them – without their family's consent or knowledge – are Rita and Rosie, the throwaway children. * * * * *Enjoyed this book? The Lost Soldier by Diney Costeloe is out 1st July 2015. Search: 9781784972561


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Gritty, heartrending and unputdownable – the story of two sisters sent first to an English, then an Australian orphanage in the aftermath of World War 2. Rita and Rosie Stevens are only nine and five years old when their widowed mother marries a violent bully called Jimmy Randall and has a baby boy by him. Under pressure from her new husband, she is persuaded to send the g Gritty, heartrending and unputdownable – the story of two sisters sent first to an English, then an Australian orphanage in the aftermath of World War 2. Rita and Rosie Stevens are only nine and five years old when their widowed mother marries a violent bully called Jimmy Randall and has a baby boy by him. Under pressure from her new husband, she is persuaded to send the girls to an orphanage – not knowing that the papers she has signed will entitle them to do what they like with the children. And it is not long before the powers that be decide to send a consignment of orphans to their sister institution in Australia. Among them – without their family's consent or knowledge – are Rita and Rosie, the throwaway children. * * * * *Enjoyed this book? The Lost Soldier by Diney Costeloe is out 1st July 2015. Search: 9781784972561

30 review for The Throwaway Children

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ruby Tuesday

    Wow! What an unexpected goodie this turned out to be? I loved it, it had me in tears in parts. There were so many parts to the story where I felt that I knew what was going to happen next but willing it not to. Just so tragic that I actually cried in places. This would make a fabulous made for TV drama. I read somewhere that the author had written books in the 80's then raised a family and has returned to writing. I think that the author is a superb writer of post war family sagas and hope she w Wow! What an unexpected goodie this turned out to be? I loved it, it had me in tears in parts. There were so many parts to the story where I felt that I knew what was going to happen next but willing it not to. Just so tragic that I actually cried in places. This would make a fabulous made for TV drama. I read somewhere that the author had written books in the 80's then raised a family and has returned to writing. I think that the author is a superb writer of post war family sagas and hope she will publish another book soon as I would definitely be preordering it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jackie White

    Loved it loved it loved it! Couldn't put this book down & read it in under 24 hours. Such a sad but 'real' story with some happy parts to balance it out. Brilliant book - I'll now be downloading other books by Diney Costeloe & have high expectations !! Loved it loved it loved it! Couldn't put this book down & read it in under 24 hours. Such a sad but 'real' story with some happy parts to balance it out. Brilliant book - I'll now be downloading other books by Diney Costeloe & have high expectations !!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    Don't waste your time I am not sure why so many people loved this book. It was not well written, the author wrote like a beginner still in public school. Maybe that's harsh but I am seriously disappointed in spending money on this book.The language is simple, no description. It's like a piece a student in junior high would write. The plot is simple enough: two girls are abandoned by their mom when she remarries and has a new baby. The grandmother cannot take care of them, the abusive stepfather wi Don't waste your time I am not sure why so many people loved this book. It was not well written, the author wrote like a beginner still in public school. Maybe that's harsh but I am seriously disappointed in spending money on this book.The language is simple, no description. It's like a piece a student in junior high would write. The plot is simple enough: two girls are abandoned by their mom when she remarries and has a new baby. The grandmother cannot take care of them, the abusive stepfather will not allow the girls to come back. He tricks the mother into signing them away to the ever care home for girls. Here is where the story loses its foundation. The mother loves her little girls yet allows her abusive new lover to sign them away. She covers for him when her mother comes asking reasonable questions... The author inputs an inner dialogue randomly into the sentences and changes points of view pretty quickly. It's easy to follow but it's not well done. The mother, for instance, tries to rationalise selling her girls off by thinking the older one, Rita, is too troublesome. How unbelievably stupid. The rest of the book, what I could read anyway, was just so weak and contrived. I ended up finding myself reading just to see if it got better and then I began scanning the story, progressing just because I paid for it. Then I decided I had enough and I stopped to think about how to write a review on it. My kobo has me at 35% read but I did not read that far, really, since scanning is not reading.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    After the war, many children in England were orphaned and needed a place to live. Rita and Rosie were not orphans but ended up in an orphanage when their mom remarried and her abusive, violent husband forced her to sign them away to the government since he had no desire to bring up someone else's brats. Mavis' mom, Lily was horrified that her daughter would do this and she volunteered to have the children live with her and that way they could still see their mom. When tragedy befalls the family, After the war, many children in England were orphaned and needed a place to live. Rita and Rosie were not orphans but ended up in an orphanage when their mom remarried and her abusive, violent husband forced her to sign them away to the government since he had no desire to bring up someone else's brats. Mavis' mom, Lily was horrified that her daughter would do this and she volunteered to have the children live with her and that way they could still see their mom. When tragedy befalls the family, however, Mavis does put the girls into care. Little does she know that she is relinquishing all rights and that now the head of the orphanage can make any decisions that they desire. After several months, the girls are shipped off to Australia in order to get rid of Rita who sticks up for herself and her sister and is considered obstinate and belligerent. What will become of two little girls who end up on the other side of the world? Do they have a chance to ever find their way back to England? What type of life do they have while in the orphanage? This was a very interesting piece of historical fiction. Costeloe's writing style effectively put you into the story feeling the heartaches, fears, joys, and worries of the girls. There were times of suspense and wonderful descriptions. It was also a pleasure to become acquainted with a new author. Well done, Diney.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Hazel Went

    While this story was initially compelling, towards the end (without giving anything away) I started to lose patience as it felt as though the author was trying to impose disaster upon disaster on the protagonist(s). This resulted in a feeling almost of farce towards the end, which I am sure was not the intention. There was redemption, both for the story and the main character, and perhaps in a different mood I might have interpreted the book differently, but I was left with a less positive impre While this story was initially compelling, towards the end (without giving anything away) I started to lose patience as it felt as though the author was trying to impose disaster upon disaster on the protagonist(s). This resulted in a feeling almost of farce towards the end, which I am sure was not the intention. There was redemption, both for the story and the main character, and perhaps in a different mood I might have interpreted the book differently, but I was left with a less positive impression than I otherwise might have had. The story is a fascinating one, following two children who are given up for adoption and subsequently deported to Australia as part of the mass deportations of children in care after World War II. The development of the relationship between the two sisters and their gran, that between their mother and her partner, and between the sisters themselves, contributed to the power of the story to draw the reader in.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

    I can't quite understand how this is rated so highly. Maybe it's just not my style, but to me it read like a soap opera in book form. I found it a struggle to keep reading.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kelly-louise Charter

    I cannot tell you, how many time I sat with a lovely glass of red and cried while reading this book. With some inspirational characters it definitely made me want to read on... I need to find out what happened for Rosie and Rita. You never truly imagine just how bad things are going to get for these two little girls. Heartrenching, tear jerking and absolutely beautiful.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

    Just... no. I started out intrigued, and then everything slowly went downhill. It was like the author wanted to use every cliche that existed. All the caretakers were evil and terrible people. the pacing was so odd. Everything just felt... bad. Anyway, didn't like it very much.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    This book really tore at my heartstrings with a situation I'm sure was more familiar than people realized after WW II. A story that shows love can overcome the worst situations life delivers and some children can persevere, becoming stronger. Others, however, are not so fortunate and can't acclimate to the life they were delivered to. The last 3 chapters were so moving there were many tears shed. Really enjoyed reading this one -- 9 out of 10.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gill

    Imagine a world where children are not wanted, where they are given away by their parents and they are sent away halfway across the world. Sadly this world exists, this novel is not based on true events but inspired by them. Rita and Rosie Stevens are nine and five when their mother is persuaded by her new husband to give her children away, not realising she is signing away her rights as their mother. The girls are sent to an orphanage in Australia, this novel follows their journey into early adu Imagine a world where children are not wanted, where they are given away by their parents and they are sent away halfway across the world. Sadly this world exists, this novel is not based on true events but inspired by them. Rita and Rosie Stevens are nine and five when their mother is persuaded by her new husband to give her children away, not realising she is signing away her rights as their mother. The girls are sent to an orphanage in Australia, this novel follows their journey into early adulthood. This novel made me angry. I was angry at the pathetic mother who was so easily persuaded to simply give her children away. I was angry at her new husband who was so obviously wrong for her. I was angry at the orphanage owner who seemed just evil with no redeeming features. But most of all I was angry at the author for writing such a one dimensional story (OK angry is a strong word, disappointed maybe). None of the characters had any depth to them, we don't see the world from their point of view, we don't understand their motivations which makes their actions seem irrational, simply serving to progress the plot. The plot was quite obvious (with a few surprises and none of them pleasant). Of course the orphanage would be horrible, of course the person in charge of the children would be bitter and twisted, of course anything which could go wrong, went wrong. I spent this novel turning the page and grimly nodding, as expected. I found the idea of this novel intriguing, told well this could have been a harrowing story where I'd be routing for the girls, but no, I was simply going through the motions to finish it. Sorry, not a goer for me (although Amazon seems to disagree with me, giving this novel 4.7/5).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Loved this book couldn't put this book down.its a sad story two sisters who's dad died and her mum marries a nasty peace of work,who marries her only if she gets rid of her kids they live with there gran till she has an accident and they get taken into care they get sent to Australia life in the care system is really bad full of lies and deceit. Great writing want to read more of this author.a book worth reading.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Nystrom

    This book is undeniably in my top three books of all time. A story so heartbreaking but so wonderfully done. Only a true story teller can tell such a story. I admire that Diney Costeloe has the skill to write such an amazing and inspirational book. Her characters are beautiful and truly represent the strength of human spirit.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Robbi Leah Freeman

    Hard to rate, more 3.5, because it will keep your interest, so read rest of review: No children were ever meant to be throwaway children. Diney Costeloe writes the heart wrenching story of Rita and Rosie, two young girls put into the orphan system in England and sent on to Australia. The story set after WW2 in England explains how a mother will do the unthinkable and turn her back on her daughter's. It's too much for the mother Mavis when being a single parent with two little girls finds out she Hard to rate, more 3.5, because it will keep your interest, so read rest of review: No children were ever meant to be throwaway children. Diney Costeloe writes the heart wrenching story of Rita and Rosie, two young girls put into the orphan system in England and sent on to Australia. The story set after WW2 in England explains how a mother will do the unthinkable and turn her back on her daughter's. It's too much for the mother Mavis when being a single parent with two little girls finds out she is pregnant by her boyfriend Jimmy. Jimmy will marry her but only if the daughters leave. I had so much trouble with the character of the mother, she was weak, beaten and even ignored her mother's advice, when her mother was the only one helping her. Lily, Mavis's mother and Rita/Rosie's grandmother is the stable character in this book but there are some things she doesn't even think of or do that keeps these girls in the orphan system. Rita is a strong 9 year old girl and she feels it her job to watch over her 5 year old sister Rosie. I loved her character and how strong she is throughout the book. Warning this book is hard to put down and its not a sunshine and happy book. I would have liked to find out more about why the system kept kids in and other loose ends that were left dangling. Also the first part of the orphan journey takes most of the book and then we fly through the last span of Rita's life that is in the book. Please don't take me wrong because the book is a good read and I would try other books from this author. She knows how to pull the heart strings.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kathie

    I had hoped this book would be more historical fiction with factual information on why and how the British social services decided to send orphans and children to Australia after WWII. Will have to look for something non-fiction. This is the story of Emily Vanstone a self-serving, wealthy spinster, with too much time on her hands looking for a way to feel good about herself deciding to basically ruin the lives of hundreds of kids in England and Australia. The main characters, Rita Stevens and he I had hoped this book would be more historical fiction with factual information on why and how the British social services decided to send orphans and children to Australia after WWII. Will have to look for something non-fiction. This is the story of Emily Vanstone a self-serving, wealthy spinster, with too much time on her hands looking for a way to feel good about herself deciding to basically ruin the lives of hundreds of kids in England and Australia. The main characters, Rita Stevens and her little sister Rosie, get caught up in this mess and it's a formulaic sad story of abuse, overstepping of authority, and greed as these kids attempt to grow up with some semblance of normalcy after having lived and worked like slaves in either Laurel House or Laurel Farm. Being run on a shoestring budget with little to no money going to the kids for food or clothes and all of it being pocketed by unloving and abusive staff, the reader continues in the muck until the end which does its best to create a "happy ending" .

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    How horrible to think you are unwanted by your family. This is what two little girls thought when they were put in a children's home just after the war. But really they were wanted by their gran but an unfortunate set of events meant they got sent to Australia instead and were told a pack of lies instead. A sad but probably realistic tale had me in tears at certain points but certainly worth the read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    David Danielson

    The writing is good. But I was so distressed with how the young girls at the orphanage were treated that I couldn't sleep. I had to stop reading about a quarter of the way through. I understand that it may reflect how children were treated. And I know there are places in the world today where children are treated even worse. But it bothered me too much to continue reading. Because of that I can't recommend it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Julia Sandler

    This book was one I couldn't put down. It was captivating & heartbreaking, even quite distressing at times. I became completely engrossed in the lives of sisters, Rita and Rosie, determined to see their story out. Expect a lot of tears. A really great novel that will really steal your heart. This book was one I couldn't put down. It was captivating & heartbreaking, even quite distressing at times. I became completely engrossed in the lives of sisters, Rita and Rosie, determined to see their story out. Expect a lot of tears. A really great novel that will really steal your heart.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    I found this book by accident on OverDrive. What a surprise! This was very well written. It was sad and maddening at parts but I do believe it was true to the story and no other outcome could have worked for certain characters. I will absolutely be looking for more books by this talented author.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mary Pat Van Schyndel

    This was one of the best books I have ever read. I loved the story even though at times it seemed a bit too easy to find Rosie. Loved the characters and the situation the story was about.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sumee

    Heart wrenching story of two little sisters sent off to orphanage. Some of the events were painful to go through. Not for the sensitive hearts

  21. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    This was very interesting to me as I knew nothing about growing up in an orphanage in 1940. The fact that it takes place in Australia is irrelevant. I found it very compelling and very hard to read in other places. I gave it 4 1/2 stars instead of 5 only because I felt the ending was very rushed

  22. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    The Throwaway Children by Diney Costeloe is a historical tale of love and loss, heartache and disappointment, bravery and courage. Set just after World War II and spanning nearly twenty years and two continents The Throwaway Children is a marvellous read. It made me smile, it made me cry and it made me angry. The book is not called The Throwaway Children for nothing. It is a tale of unwanted children. Children who are thrown away because they are inconvenient. There were many orphans following th The Throwaway Children by Diney Costeloe is a historical tale of love and loss, heartache and disappointment, bravery and courage. Set just after World War II and spanning nearly twenty years and two continents The Throwaway Children is a marvellous read. It made me smile, it made me cry and it made me angry. The book is not called The Throwaway Children for nothing. It is a tale of unwanted children. Children who are thrown away because they are inconvenient. There were many orphans following the second world war and there were children who were believed to be orphans. Homes for unwanted children were set up. Some were run by people who believed they were improving the lot of the poor by removing their children but children will thrive where there is love and not if there isn't. "She had done God's work. Remorse and guilt never came to mind." Do-gooders never saw the bigger picture, they were singularly focused in their aims, believing if they allied themselves with God, they were doing His work. The novel has some very difficult scenes to read. There is domestic abuse, child abuse, sexual abuse and unbelievable cruelty. Diney Costeloe pulls no punches, life was hard for unwanted children. I know it is a novel but there were times when I just felt so angry. Children are a gift from God. They are innocent, to be protected and loved. The children in the novel were unloved, unwanted and abused. They were corrupted by the very adults who should protect them. Diney Costeloe writes with such sensitivity that I 'felt' their pain. The novel is not without hope. Great love was shown. Rita and Rosie's father died in the war but their love for him persisted. "Her Daddy would always be her Daddy." The bond between siblings was strong, as was the love of their maternal grandmother. Even in the bleakest of situations, hope glimmered. The novel is written in the third person from several viewpoints but mainly seen through nine year old Rita's eyes. Rita is strong, feisty, full of love and care, and vulnerable. The reader gets to know her intimately and I liked her. The Throwaway Children is an epic read. It was all consuming and I was a mass of conflicting emotions by the end. It was brilliantly told. I can highly recommend the tale of a generation of throwaway children.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Janet C-B

    Well written historical fiction novel about 2 children placed in an orphanage when the mom signed over guardianship due to social, and financial circumstances. This book was an eye-opener to me about orphanages in post war England, as well as the practice of moving children from England to orphanages in Australia during that same time frame. For me, it was incredibly sad to read about the series of tragic events that happened in the lives of the sisters, Rita and Rosie. At times, it was hard for Well written historical fiction novel about 2 children placed in an orphanage when the mom signed over guardianship due to social, and financial circumstances. This book was an eye-opener to me about orphanages in post war England, as well as the practice of moving children from England to orphanages in Australia during that same time frame. For me, it was incredibly sad to read about the series of tragic events that happened in the lives of the sisters, Rita and Rosie. At times, it was hard for me to continue reading. I thought the character of Rita was very well developed, as well as some of the other main characters. The book had an unrealistic ending, but I won't criticize the author on that point. In the end, it was a worthwhile book to read. I would offer a caution about to a person who is contemplating reading this book. Make sure it is a good time in your life to read about a series of tragic events that happened to young children. I would rate the book about 3.5, but lowered the rating due to the heavy emotional content.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gillian Michelle

    One of the best books I've read since As the Crow Flies over a decade ago. I was immersed in the story, living in Rita and Rosie's world from the very first page. I've been on an emotional roller coaster since starting this book and I'm terribly sad it's over. Books like this don't come around often. It is wonderfully written with no filler or fluff. So much happens, but it all happens at the exact pace it needs to. My only wish is that Betty's story would be addressed one more time, but I'll jus One of the best books I've read since As the Crow Flies over a decade ago. I was immersed in the story, living in Rita and Rosie's world from the very first page. I've been on an emotional roller coaster since starting this book and I'm terribly sad it's over. Books like this don't come around often. It is wonderfully written with no filler or fluff. So much happens, but it all happens at the exact pace it needs to. My only wish is that Betty's story would be addressed one more time, but I'll just live thinking she found who was searching for her... Forever an optimist I guess! I look forward to more books by this author, but can't read too many like this as I can't put it down and that makes work difficult!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Candace Worrell

    This book was beautifully written but if I read another page I would have to call a suicide hotline. This isn't a tragic story of life, where some things are bad but there are a few bright spots. This is unremitting misery piled upon horribleness. I was listening to it during my commute and found myself finding excuses to delay turning it on. I couldn't bring myself to give up, because it is a well-written, engaging book. Then I realized I was about eight hours in with eight more to go. I read s This book was beautifully written but if I read another page I would have to call a suicide hotline. This isn't a tragic story of life, where some things are bad but there are a few bright spots. This is unremitting misery piled upon horribleness. I was listening to it during my commute and found myself finding excuses to delay turning it on. I couldn't bring myself to give up, because it is a well-written, engaging book. Then I realized I was about eight hours in with eight more to go. I read some spoilers--and I just couldn't do it. Their lives go from horrendous to worse. So I'm done. Reading for me is escapism. I try to keep the crap of life out of my leisure reading. I'll read the post for that.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    I would give this book ten stars if I could. Beautiful and so heartbreaking. Two little girls aged 5 and 9 find themselves put into care when their widowed mother marries a vicious man who wants nothing to do with them. The orphanage is one that gives social services it's bad name and the girls are shipped out to Australia without family consents. The sisters try hard to stay together but of course they get separated when one of the girls finds adoptive parents. A fabulous read and while it may I would give this book ten stars if I could. Beautiful and so heartbreaking. Two little girls aged 5 and 9 find themselves put into care when their widowed mother marries a vicious man who wants nothing to do with them. The orphanage is one that gives social services it's bad name and the girls are shipped out to Australia without family consents. The sisters try hard to stay together but of course they get separated when one of the girls finds adoptive parents. A fabulous read and while it may be a composite of the story of many children sent away from the uk in the 50ies it was sad to read. Yes, I cried on the last page for all those children who lost their families and their innocence.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    This was a beautifully written and poignant story set after the second world war, in which 2 young sisters are given up to the state and institutionalised. Despite their Grandmother's desperate efforts to have them returned to her care Rosie & Rita are shipped off to Australia, as part of the dreadful British migration policy that saw thousands of children sent overseas during the 20th century, to harsh conditions and all too often to terrible abuse. The story details the trials faced by the gir This was a beautifully written and poignant story set after the second world war, in which 2 young sisters are given up to the state and institutionalised. Despite their Grandmother's desperate efforts to have them returned to her care Rosie & Rita are shipped off to Australia, as part of the dreadful British migration policy that saw thousands of children sent overseas during the 20th century, to harsh conditions and all too often to terrible abuse. The story details the trials faced by the girls and their family as they all try to make sense of the events that have led to their separation, following Rita and Rosie to their adulthood. This was a fabulous read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Oh wow. I am not even sure where to begin. What a thoroughly heart breaking book. If you are in an emotionally unstable place in your life, wait to read this until you are more secure. It details depravities that most of us will never encounter and do not want to know about. It does offer glimpses into the resiliency of the human spirit and the kindness of strangers, but mostly you read about lowest form of human life and the cruelty that they inflict on others without a care in the world. I am Oh wow. I am not even sure where to begin. What a thoroughly heart breaking book. If you are in an emotionally unstable place in your life, wait to read this until you are more secure. It details depravities that most of us will never encounter and do not want to know about. It does offer glimpses into the resiliency of the human spirit and the kindness of strangers, but mostly you read about lowest form of human life and the cruelty that they inflict on others without a care in the world. I am so glad to have read Rosie and Rita's story, but it was very hard to do so.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    What a gem! My first and definitely not my last Costeloe. Many emotions, the wonderful story starts in the aftermath of WWII where a young woman loses her husband and is overwhelmed by taking care of her two girls. In comes a horrible bloke, as the English call them...the girls are put up for adoption and there are many "adventures." I listened to this on hoopla, amazing!😍

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kessex1

    This book deserves all the credit it has been given. So emotive and warming, I simply felt every emotion going! The characters are so brilliantly described and you become so attached to Rita, the older sister. I would advise anyone to read this book just bring your tissues!

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