What are Magdalene Laundries?
Women in Victorian England and Ireland were placed in Asylum type institutions if deemed ‘fallen.’ This label was provided to those women who were flirtatious and pretty, were mistresses of married men, and especially those who were pregnant out-of-wedlock.
The majority of those institutions were laundries that carried on the operations of laundry for local hospitals and restaurants. Their employees were not paid, they were the ‘fallen’ women. These laundries were run by the Catholic Church and most were titled ‘Magdalene Laundries.’
To make matters worse, the babies were taken from the mother’s and most put into orphanages; the mother never holding their children. The names of the ‘fallen’ women were changed immediately, their hair cut very short, they were told how horrible women they were; and additionally told, over and over, that they were in the institution to pay penitence.
To add insult to injury the ‘Magdalene Laundries’ became their only home, sadly they were ostracized from their families and their towns; essentially removed from society. Most were buried at unmarked graves with no information available as to their real identity. There are certain organizations, today that are fighting for documentation of those women and their babies.
Why did Susan Parker Rosen feel compelled to write a story based on the Magdalene Laundries?
Reply by author:
“While researching my family tree for the true identity of my grandfathers’ father, strangely I noticed that I could not find any additional records of my grandfathers’ mother after his birth. He was known in those times as “The Bastard Child.” My grandfather came to the states when he turned 17. The only other logical explanation for his mother’s whereabouts after his birth is that she was placed in a Magdalene Laundry.
As I researched this mystery deeply. I realized that many handed down stories that attest to her being a nurse to assist during a flu epidemic and died shortly after my grandfather’s birth did not ring true. Nor did it find any documentation to substantiate those stories. The only logical conclusion is that my great grandmother was placed in a Magdalene Laundry and when I read the horrid details of those places my heart was broken for her doomed life.
This obsession grew until in a dream one of my aunt’s instructed me to start with a blank piece of paper. In between a career change at that time I decided to do just that.
Below you can find helpful reviews of “The Bastard Child” along with the link to the book on Amazon.
“What an adventure this book put me on! I was sucked in from the start! I am still walking around in my imagination in one of the quaint towns described in such a way that I was able to capture the real ambiance, actually of each setting and actually being there. I loved being able to travel between the 1800s and 2000s and all of the characters. Brilliant! The story keeps you going and never a dull moment with unexpected surprises! It’s a book you can’t put down!!! I can’t wait to read more of this author’s stories!”
“I loved how this story took me on a personal journey through time. The twists and turns were unexpected. Every time I thought I had the next step figured out I was completely shocked. I am now about to read the next book by Susan Parker Rosen and I’m sure I will not be disappointed.”
You can find “The Bastard Child” in paperback and kindle formats on Amazon.com