The Bleamy family, three strong-willed Scots, are forced to leave their drought-besieged farm for London in 1802. Twelve-year-old Jeremy Bleamy soon loses both parents—his father to consumption and his mother, who jumps from London Bridge in her grief. Now an evicted orphan with less rights than a stray dog, he sets up shelter in a corner between two buildings with all he has left in the world—his parents kitchen table and a few assorted belongings. Lonely, cold, hungry, but too proud to accept charity, he works dangerous jobs to stay alive. He is also constantly threatened by orphan hunters who steal young boys and sell them to factories, as nothing more than slaves. With only his brains and unshakable resolve to help him, Jeremy is caught up in a struggle for his life at a time when the lives of orphans were of no consequence…
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Bleamy’s Corner by Tobias Garrett, Jeremy Bleamy is orphaned at twelve years old in London in 1802. Since orphans have less rights than stray dogs and Jeremy has no family to turn to, he is constantly in danger of being stolen by orphan hunters and sold into slavery. Then there are the rival gangs with rules that Jeremy, who is certainly not streetwise, violates without knowing it. Struggling to stay alive, he has to take dangerous jobs while avoiding the cruel and unscrupulous adults who would love to hurt and/or eliminate him. It’s a very hard life for anyone not born into money, but especially for one so young and vulnerable.
Well written, fast paced, and intense, the story has a ring of truth rare in historical fiction. A great read.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Bleamy’s Corner by Tobias Garrett is the story of a twelve-year-old boy in London in 1802. Jeremy Bleamy and his parents move to London from Scotland when their farm fails due to the drought. Jeremy’s father promises him a better life, but it is not to be. His father soon succumbs to typhoid and dies. His mother also gets typhoid and, in her grief over losing his father, she commits suicide, leaving Jeremy to fend for himself. She leaves Jeremy a note, telling him to go home to his grandparents who will be glad to take him in. However, when Jeremy writes to his grandparents, he learns that his grandfather has also died, and his grandmother is forced to move in with her sister. There is no room for Jeremy. So he is forced to find his own way in life, taking dangerous jobs, dodging orphan hunters, and dealing with cruel adults with no scruples and even less concern for innocent and vulnerable children.
While the main character is only twelve, this coming-of-age story is not only for young adults. It gives us a window into the past when life was not only hard it was deadly. Well written and authentic, Bleamy’s Corner is a book for young and old alike. A worthy effort from this new author.