Book Review: The Orphan of Ironbridge

Can she find a place where she belongs?

Mollie Walton ~ The Orphan of Ironbridge


Shropshire, 1875.

Hettie Jones has grown up in Ironbridge. She has never known her father and, since her mother’s death, has been brought up by the Malone family, who treat her as one of their own. She works as a pit girl at the local coal mine, alongside her childhood playfellow, Evan – although lately, their friendship seems to be blossoming into something more.

But when Queenie King takes a fancy to her, Hettie’s life is transformed. Trained first as a lady’s maid, and then hurtled into a world of luxury and gentility, she finds her new position difficult to reconcile with her past life. And with Queenie’s daughter-in-law scheming against her, Hettie’s situation could become precarious…


I’m a sucker for historical fiction, especially when there’s a good amount of drama and romance, and this book had the perfect amount of both.

A lot of books nowadays feel the need to have constant action, violence and peril. This book shows that it’s not necessary: words are more important than events.

This book is well-written and researched and I really enjoyed Walton’s writing style. The characters are genuine and relatable and it’s nice to see independent and determined women in a period piece. Queenie, Anny & Hettie were very likeable and I was truly invested in their stories – I even got a little bit emotional at one point!

It’s slightly predictable, but there’s enough action to keep it interesting and the ending doesn’t feel like a letdown. It’s also the third in a trilogy, but I didn’t feel that I missed anything by reading this one first.

I would have liked a bit more detail on the horrors of the mines and of Hettie’s awe on her various visits to London. But that might be because I read history at university and always want more of the facts and observations.

If you want an action-packed thrilling ride with continuous drama then this probably isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for a heart-warming story about love, loss and friendship, that’s well-written with great characters – give it a try!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was provided with a copy of this book by Bonnier Books. All opinions are my own.

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