In episode 6 of our podcast series History Books, we look at a terrible crime in 1850s London.

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 The podcast is on a book called The Secret Life of Celestina Sommer – Victorian Child Killer by David J. Vaughan.

Celestina Sommer had a tragic upbringing. Pregnant at seventeen, with no support and little more compassion, she relinquished her infant to the baby-farmers. Eleven years on and married, she endured not only vilification but domestic abuse - the man she trusted turning on her with misogynistic cruelty endorsed by a society turning its blind, masculine eye.

The book tells the story about the awful truth of Celestina’s short, tragic life and reveals exactly why she avoided the hangman's noose. Her heart-rending story follows the world's reaction to her crime: parliamentary debates, press outrage, allegations of royal collusion, garishly explicit reports of her trials at the Old Bailey and, finally, her collapse into madness as she struggles through a harsh Victorian penal system and, at the very end, Britain's foremost criminal lunatic asylum of the age.

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If you enjoy the podcast, you can purchase the book here: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Take care,

George Levrier-Jones

PS – just to inform you, this podcast is of a darker nature than many of our other podcasts.



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