📚 Synopsis 📚
For almost fifty years, Katie Carroll has kept a box tucked away inside her wardrobe. It dates from her time working as a nurse in a west of Ireland home for unwed mothers in the 1970s. The box contains a notebook holding the details of the babies and young women she met there. It also holds many of the babies’ identity bracelets.
Following the death of her husband, Katie makes a decision. The information she possesses could help reunite adopted people with their birth mothers, and she decides to post a message on an internet forum. Soon the replies are rolling in, and Katie finds herself returning many of the bracelets to their original owners. She encounters success and failure, heartbreak and joy. But is she prepared for old secrets to be uncovered in her own life?
💭 My Thoughts 💭
The Paper Bracelet is based on true events, and that’s what hurts the most when reading this book. Knowing that what your reading has happened to women for real. And, it breaks your heart to know that such places existed. Church-run institutions where unmarried women were sent to deliver their children under a veil of secrecy, silence and shame for decades. This isn’t something that happened centuries ago, this was going on in the 60s and 70s.
In this story we read about Katie. She was a nurse who worked in one of these institutions. She has kept a box which has paper bracelets of the babies that were born there during her year long working time. She also kept a notebook detailing some information about the mother’s. Now fifth years on Katie wants to find these babies and give them back their bracelets, and hopefully reunite them with their mothers.
We are told the story from a present narrative of Katie and her search for the now grown up babies. In the present narrative we also get the stories of those searching for their biological mother’s. The past narrative of the mothers in the home is what I found harder to read. These were very emotional and raw accounts of what was happening.
It’s beggars belief that this is something that actually occured. Women were made to feel shamed that they had gotten pregnant, and it didn’t matter under what circumstances it seemed the woman was to be vilified for their actions.
I love watching programmes that reunite long lost families. And, this story was very similar. It was lovely when Katie could help the children find their mothers. It is the heart wrenching reasons why they were separated that knocks you.
The Paper Bracelet will tug at your heart strings and make you glad that times have changed and that these places do exist anymore.