The Foundling's Quest

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
268 Pages
Reviewed on 11/04/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

Twitch: The Foundling's Quest by Ralph Smith is a Dickensian tale that exceeds expectations. Malcolm’s story is the life of a poor boy who manages to beat the odds and rise from poverty, but the journey he faces on his way to success has been paved with obstacles as if fate has played some sick joke on him. Malcolm is not only fostered at impoverished Surrey Farm but also suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome that is made worse by living in a time that is not yet familiar with his malady. He too agrees that it is the devil who makes him blink and twitch, and he struggles to fight his tics as it gets worse. However, this does not stop him from freeing himself from the shackles of his miserable lot. But sacrifices have to be made. One of them is his love for his foster sister, Lydia.

Told in vivid images and precise word choices, Twitch pays homage to the Dickensian tale of an innocent boy being forced to face the challenges of a cruel world. It is a bittersweet tale that transports you to the time of its setting, and readers can expect to feel something poignant. Ralph Smith brings a strong touch of realism to the setting, especially when it comes to the norms and values of the period. It will trigger your anger at those who are ignorant and refer to Malcolm’s tics as the workings of the devil. Twitch ends and begins as a great novel, and I believe that this is because it follows a romantic line and gives ample time and space for you to follow Malcolm in his coming of age journey. This is not just a story about the affairs of the heart. It is an enchanting tale of triumph with intense feeling and depth, and I strongly recommend that you read it.

Viga Boland

The fickle finger of fate is a key player in the lives of Malcolm, a foundling, and his foster sister, Lydia, in Twitch by Ralph Smith. Malcolm's and Lydia’s lifelines intertwine, separate, and converge in this slightly macabre, ever-fascinating historical novel set in the mid-1850s. Afflicted with the as yet unrecognized medical condition of Tourette’s Syndrome as a youngster and throughout his early youth, Malcolm is mistreated and bullied. After leaving his foundling foster parents, Malcolm dreams of one day reuniting with Lydia. She shares the same dream of reunion, but life plunges her into prostitution. She ultimately ends up as the bewitching mistress of the captain of a “coffin ship” that transports disease-ridden victims of the Irish potato famine. Fate has separated Malcolm and Lydia. Can fate bring them together again? And if it does, what then?

Ralph Smith keeps his readers hooked chapter after chapter. With history’s struggle for women’s liberation and, today, gender equality, modern readers will identify with the reasons for a coven of naked women dancing at midnight. History buffs will appreciate the horrors of that “coffin ship.” And those who are into witches, spirits, and demons will come away still believing in the darker, mysterious side of life. With its twisting plot of events, intriguing characters, and easy-reading pace, Ralph Smith offers a bit of everything in Twitch. A most unusual, intriguing read.

Pikasho Deka

Twitch: The Foundling's Quest is a historical fiction drama novel written by Ralph Smith. Set in the Victorian era in the middle of the 19th century, the book follows the lives of Malcolm Hart, a young boy suffering from Tourette's Syndrome, and his willful foster sister Lydia Mann, a young girl with dreams of becoming a witch. Growing up in an impoverished home, Malcolm and Lydia are inseparable from each other. But when Malcolm is sent to the London Foundling Hospital, Lydia finds herself all alone. After a series of escalating events, Malcolm works as an apprentice to a wheelwright in Staffordshire while Lydia finds herself trapped in sexual slavery in a brothel in London. However, fate intervenes, and they soon find themselves back in each other's lives. But everything has changed.

Readers of Romantic-era novels will find Twitch: A Foundling's Quest an enthralling read. A tragic love story at its core, author Ralph Smith's tale of two children growing up in harrowing circumstances sets its tone from the start and keeps you hooked as their relationship evolves throughout the pages. The narrative is well-paced and flows smoothly, making it a breeze to go through. The characters are lively and colorful, with distinct personalities and quirks which set them apart, making them thoroughly compelling to read. Malcolm and Lydia's relationship is the prime focus of the narrative, and the way their dynamic changes throughout the book makes for some captivating character arcs. If you're a fan of Charles Dickens, you're going to love Twitch: A Foundling's Quest.

Jennifer Ibiam

Twitch: The Foundling’s Quest by Ralph F. Smith follows the life of Malcolm, who suffered from Tourette's Syndrome. They said the devil was in Malcolm, making him squeeze up and twitch, so the Manns made his life hell. Malcolm didn't know he was a foundling without roots until he was six years old when they returned him to the Foundling hospital. It was another phase of bullying, but Malcolm kept hope. After some years, a wheelwright took him on as an apprentice, where he showed stellar performance until tragedy struck. But all was not lost as he was reunited with his foster sister, Lydia. Malcolm was in love with her, but she had a secret that threatened to bond or break them apart. Will Malcolm ever get a break or a happily ever after?

Twitch: The Foundling’s Quest by Ralph F. Smith is a fantastic historical novel that tugged at my heartstrings. I loved everything about the novel's storyline, stylish writing, and character development. This novel sheds light on the bullying, discrimination, segregation, and wickedness meted out to the disabled and those with medical conditions. Malcolm’s courage and zeal to succeed wowed me. He refused to be limited by his medical condition. Also, Malcolm was so blessed because someone stood up for him wherever he found himself. First, it was Lydia, then Babcock, Wilson, Flagg, and Alfred. Unfortunately, Lydia didn’t have that much luck, maybe because she had a stronger will and backbone. My least favorite characters were Phil with his Greek gift of a meal, Leah, and Lute. Twitch is a book of hope for those with medical conditions. You can be more! Write more, Ralph.

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Twitch by Ralph Smith tells the story of the Foundling’s Quest. It’s the mid-1830s and Malcolm is living with a foster family on a farm. He loves his life until the evil of Tourette’s Syndrome takes over and his foster father takes him back to the London Foundling Hospital. Disaster strikes and his foster sister, Lydia, disappears. When Malcolm gains an apprenticeship to a wheelwright, he takes the opportunity to find Lydia and joins her on a coffin ship taking Irish immigrants to colonial Canada where they will be quarantined. Malcolm eventually finds his feet in Bytown, gaining the independence and wealth he has always wanted but he cannot escape his love for Lydia. But some things can never be. Will Malcolm ever find true love and happiness or is he destined to spend his life searching?

Twitch by Ralph Smith is a unique kind of story, following the misfortunes of a foundling called Malcolm. It’s a steady story, evenly paced and spread out over the mid-19th century. Described as a Dickensian novel for the modern world, it really does bring to mind stories like Oliver Twist with a cast of characters you could easily see in a Dickensian-style story. His characters are very well-developed people with interesting lives and his style of writing draws you into the story and keeps you there. It isn’t a high-action story but there is enough happening to keep your interest all the way through; a solid story that will suit all readers who want something a little different.