The Castoff Children

by L.M. Browning

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Honorable Mention 2016 New England Book Festival

Trade Paperback, 5.5 x 8.5 | 380pgs | ISBN: 978-1-938846-98-4 | Fiction

Overview

The year is 1850. The Revolutionary War has long since come to an end and the industrial revolution is beginning to build steam, overturning the old ways of home and hearth as it gains momentum. In a desperate hour, in the back alleys of Boston, a group of twelve castoff children come together to care for each other. Plagued by the unanswered questions surrounding their past and grief for loved ones lost, the children attempt to come to terms with the bitter truths that have defined their life thus far. Feeling forsaken, faced with prejudice, hostile gangs and in the hardest winter on record, the children find themselves on the ragged edge. Until a series of mysterious events begin taking place, making them feel that they are not as alone and helpless as they might have thought.

Separated from his friends during a week of successive blizzards, Joseph—the fourteen-year-old boy at the head of this family of outcasts—becomes snowbound in a condemned building while searching for one missing among their number. It is during his days beset in the basement of this building that Joseph—starved and feverish—experiences a vision of another life lived upon a rolling green land, spurring him to do something he has not done in a long time: believe that life can be more than mere survival. These surreal events culminating in the arrival of a good-hearted stranger who, while wounded himself by injustice and loss, brings renewed hope to these children who have dreamed of being loved.

 

 Advance Praise

The Castoff Children is a lovely story of hope and the power of dreams and friendship….

—Tomm Moore, Writer and Director of the Academy Award nominated films The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea

In her book, The Castoff Children, L.M. Browning has caught a poignant time in the 1800’s in New England when hardship and hard work were the common lot of many people and when children were abandoned to fend for themselves due to poverty and the inability of parents to care for them. Her characters are engaging, and her story tells of courage, of vision, of compassion and loyalty. This book will inspire many a reader to value what is lasting and dear in a life lived with enduring values.

—Gunilla Norris, award-winning authors of Simple Ways, Becoming Bread, and Sheltered in the Heart

Browning takes us into a Dickensian world of children whose blood bond with family has been broken by the cruel circumstances of late 19th-century life. They are left to scrounge the alleyways of Boston in search of simple human warmth as much as food and shelter. The resourceful band of eleven waifs finds the help they need in a man who has lost his own family. But their journey for survival has just begun, and it leads them to a place far off from where they began. The Castoff Children  is a timely reminder of all those who have been abandoned early in life, in today’s world as well as in the past.

—George Harrar, author of Reunion at Red Paint Bay

The Castoff Children takes you back to the wintry streets of 1850s Boston where orphaned children struggle for survival, and into the deepest depths of the human heart.”

Eric D. Lehman, author of Shadows of Paris

The children brought to life in L.M. Browning’s new novel are cast off into a cold, seemingly hopeless world. They navigate without maps, without certainty, without comfort. They find their way the best they can: together, with friendship, perseverance, and courage.

Amy Nawrocki author of Four Blue Eggs and Reconnaissance

As hope becomes a trickster in this classic tale of the human spirit refusing to be vanquished by desperate circumstances, the author skillfully carries her readers along on the wild and heart-warming ride.

—Gail Collins-Ranadive, author of Nature’s Calling

L.M. Browning

L.M. Browning

Founder & Publisher

L.M. Browning (Leslie M. Browning) is the award-winning author of ten titles. She grew up in the small fishing village of Stonington, Connecticut. A longtime student of philosophy, nature and art, these themes permeate her work. In her writing, Browning explores the confluence of the natural landscape and the interior landscape. A proud native of New England, she travels often throughout the region using her photography, drawing, and writing to explore the ecological and cultural identity of the Northeast.

In 2010, she debuted with a three-title contemplative poetry series: Ruminations at TwilightOak Wise, and The Barren Plain. These three books went on to garner several accolades including a total of 3 pushcart-prize nominations and the Nautilus Gold Medal for Poetry in 2013. She followed this success with, Fleeting Moments of Fierce Clarity: Journal of a New England Poet, which was named a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Balancing her passion for writing with her love of learning, Leslie sits on the Board of the Art’s Cafe Mystic, a poetic art’s venue that has run for 17 years in Mystic, Connecticut and has featured authors who are Poets Laureate of the U.S. and winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, and MacArthur “Genius Award.” She also sits on the Board of Directors for the Independent Book Publisher’s Association. With over 3,000 members, IBPA is the largest publishing trade association in the U.S. She is a graduate of the University of London and a Fellow with the International League of Conservation Writers. She is Partner at Hiraeth Press; Co-Founder of Written River: An Anthology of Eco-Poetics as well as Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Wayfarer. In 2011, Browning opened Homebound Publications and in 2015 went on to establish Owl House Books as an imprint of Homebound Publications devoted to genre fiction. She is currently working to complete an L.B.A. in Liberal Arts with a focus of Creative Writing and Journalism at Harvard University’s Extension School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In addition to her career as a publisher, Browning is an accomplished freelancer for Rhode Island Monthly, Coastal Connecticut Magazine, and New Haven Magazine. Through her column “Reimagining the Possible” in The Wayfarer, she has interviewed such notable figures as Academy Award-Nominated filmmaker Tomm Moore, Peabody-winning host of On Being Krist Tippett, Emmy-winning Filmmaker Alan Cooke, and Sandy Hook mother Nelba Márquez-Greene.

To learn more go to www.lmbrowning.com