The first half of this second book of the trilogy was very good, Jennifer Worth highlighting the effects of the Workhouses on ordinary people of that era. However over 80 pages dedicated to Sister Monica Joan and her shoplifting was a chore to read and had absolutely nothing to do with the Workhouse theme, so proved very disappointing after the first book was indeed excellent.
Jennifer Worth continues her theme of highlighting the disturbing demographic and working lives for those living in the east end of London in the 1950's. Her book writes like a 'short story' book focusing on the life chances and experiences of a total number of five individuals, two of whom are siblings.
Unfortunately I think that Jennifer strays from her subject ,that of the workhouse, on a number of occasions. Her detailed description of the nun Sister Monika Joan, the nun's involvement with The Constabulary at that time, and the outcome of the investigations against her take a considerable chunk of the book. There is no particular link with the workhouse with this biographical detail. It is, in fact, a continuation of the biography the reader was introduced to in Jennifer's first brilliant book, 'Call the Midwife'. The writings concerning Jane, Peggy and Franks experiences 'in' the workhouse do make compelling reading. It is the first half of the book that truly enlightens the reader regarding the appalling care 'given' to children who became 'victims' the the workhouse.
The book is 'good' but does fall short of the excellence of the author's first book.