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Shadows of the Workhouse

The Drama of Life in Postwar London
Narrated by: Anne Reid
Length: 5 hrs and 5 mins
Categories: History, British
4.7 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The inspiration for the second series of the BBC's phenomenally popular Call the Midwife, starring Miranda Hart. In this follow-up to Call the Midwife, Jennifer Worth, a midwife working in the docklands area of East London in the 1950s, tells more stories about the people she encountered.

There's Jane, who cleaned and generally helped out at Nonnatus House - she was taken to the workhouse as a baby and was allegedly the illegitimate daughter of an aristocrat.

Peggy and Frank's parents both died within six months of one another, and the children were left destitute. At the time there was no other option for them but the workhouse.

The Reverend Thornton-Appleby-Thorton, a missionary in Africa, visits the Nonnatus nuns, and Sister Julienne acts as matchmaker. And Sister Monica Joan, the eccentric 90-year-old nun, is accused of shoplifting some small items from the local market. She is let off with a warning, but then Jennifer finds stolen jewels from Hatton Garden in the nun's room. These stories give a fascinating insight into the resilience and spirit that enabled ordinary people to overcome their difficulties.

©2008 Jennifer Worth (P)2008 Orion Publishing Group

What listeners say about Shadows of the Workhouse

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Loved it

A brilliant insight into the UK life from the late 1800s to 1950s. Loved every minute and great narration. Highly recommended

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I loved the story.

the narators voice was a little anoying, glad it wasn't a long book. great story.

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abridged version

I assumed this was the full story unfortunately it was not otherwise it was fine

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How fortunate we are!

Listening to the past can change your future, It is strange, How we reflect on our own happiness, When we see other's sorrow. Thank you Nurse Lee.

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Heartbreaking

This was absolutely heart breaking. Beautifully written and spoken. Definitely recommend for history lovers. Don't take for granted what we have now.

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  • Kerry
  • 15-01-2017

great read

great history of the workhouses I had no idea of their history prior to listening to this. highly recommended for anyone interested in history or human development through the agas.

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  • Kathcolours33
  • 31-12-2015

Excellent

Excellent book, well worth listening too. The narrator was very good and the stories were heartbreaking, but gripping. Jennifer Worth is wonderful woman with the gift of writing.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Codi
  • 07-12-2015

Had me hooked from the start. Absolutely wonderful

Great narration, wonderful writing and excellent book :)
This was my first non self help book I've listened to and I wasn't disappointed, I can't wait to listen to more Jennifer Worth books :)

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Hazel Cade
  • 14-07-2019

Shadows of the workhouse

Excellent story and narrator i could not put the book down just never wanted the story to end

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  • Amanda T.
  • 27-01-2019

enlightening

Narrator was brilliant! Great book. Reccommend. couldn't put it down as so interesting. Loved it

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  • Heather Whittam
  • 11-07-2018

Over exaggerated

I wanted a fairly easy listening , instead I got over exaggerated experiences and when a heart rendering event turns to incest I just had to delete. Not for a sensitive heart and mind. It makes one wonder why the author felt the need to include perverse actions . Didn't want to listen any further. Also the readers performances of characters simply raised an eyebrow.

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  • Louise
  • 22-02-2018

Beautifully written

Difficult topics are covered from life in the 50s & earlier but this is so well written & provides a thought & emotion provoking glimpse into another era.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-11-2017

interesting.

narrator was good. it was a good listen. would recommend to Call The Midwife fans.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-06-2017

Memorable, engaging but not a cosy bedtime read

If like me you have listened to and enjoyed Call the Midwife, you might be expecting the same sort of sad but ultimately uplifting cosy listening from this book. Be warned - this is not the same book! The stories are invariably harrowing and distressing, though the same thread of love and friendship continues. I'm not sure what they cut out to make this abridged version, was it more or less hardship and suffering? Maybe it was the general everyday life as Jennifer Worth experienced it at Nunatis House, which I feel was lacking in this book. I tend to listen in bed (so may have fallen asleep for parts) but don't remember there being any context for some of the stories, especially about young children, which I'm sure were based on real life but it was hard to understand how these had come to be related to Jennifer Worth.
Nevertheless it was once again a valuable insight into a completely different world, thankfully one that has long-since passed in this case. I don't regret buying the book.
The reading is sensitive and nuanced but a little slow, with some slightly strange accents in parts.

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  • miss emma c thomas
  • 28-05-2017

fantastic book

fantastic book can not wait to read hear another war time midwife book 5 stars all the way

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  • Hayley Graham
  • 22-01-2017

Heartfelt story's

After reading call the midwife I continued straight onto this book. The narration was extremely easy to listen to due to the soft paced manner it was read in. Description of the people and places again took you into the book as if standing there yourself.
True accounts of the horrific lives of children in a workhouse to an elderly man ending up in the workhouse building many years later when converted into to an 'old peoples home' are simpy heart breakIng and I honestly had many tears whilst listenIng to this book.
Very much recommend but with the advanced warning to have tissues close by.