Penguin, £9.10

It's 1947. Sisters Dulcie (8) and May (5) live in an alright area of post-war London where their biggest problems are an over-protective father and a mother who cares more about her appearance than where the next meal is coming from. But when the girls find themselves orphaned they soon wake up to a few harsh realities. Placed in the care of the Sisters of Mercy they are thrilled when they are offered a fresh start in an exciting and new country.

All their lives people have promised to look after the Taylor sisters and every time their trust had been betrayed – unfortunately this time is no different. When the new life they had hoped for turns out to be a cruel illusion they find themselves in a remote Australian orphanage that is little more than a slave labour camp.

Released into the world, Dulcie meets Ross another orphan survivor and feels she's found a kindred spirit. But the demons of the past continue to haunt them – the hardest part is learning to trust again.

'Trust Me' is set during a time when the 'Child Migration Scheme' was introduced to relieve the pressure of housing post war British orphans and to populate the colonies with good "white stock". One of these colonies was Australia, and what child languishing in a cold and bleak English orphanage would refuse the promise of sun, sand, kangaroos and fruit that falls from trees? Over 2,000 British orphans were sent to Australia, where they found the promises of love and happiness were empty and their lives became no better than those of slaves, under the rule of the Sisters of Mercy and the Christian Brothers.

Lesley Pearse's fictional account of this time in history could be seen as over-dramatised, that is until you get to the Afterword and the only emotion you will feel is sadness. 'Trust Me' is an excellent book that attempts to bring to light horrors that few people will ever know. I dare you to read it without crying.

Charley Maine