Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott

The Daring Ladies of Lowell 

By: Kate Alcott

Summary: From the New York Times bestselling author of THE DRESSMAKER comes a moving historical novel about a bold young woman drawn to the looms of Lowell, Massachusetts--and to the one man with whom she has no business falling in love.

Eager to escape life on her family’s farm, Alice Barrow moves to Lowell in 1832 and throws herself into the hard work demanded of “the mill girls.”  In spite of the long hours, she discovers a vibrant new life and a true friend—a saucy, strong-willed girl name Lovey Cornell.

But conditions at the factory become increasingly dangerous, and Alice finds the courage to represent the workers and their grievances.  Although mill owner, Hiram Fiske, pays no heed, Alice attracts the attention of his eldest son, the handsome and reserved Samuel Fiske. Their mutual attraction is intense, tempting Alice to dream of a different future for herself.

This dream is shattered when Lovey is found strangled to death. A sensational trial follows, bringing all the unrest that’s brewing to the surface. Alice finds herself torn between her commitment to the girls in the mill and her blossoming relationship with Samuel.  Based on the actual murder of a mill girl and the subsequent trial in 1833, THE DARING LADIES OF LOWELL brilliantly captures a transitional moment in America’s history while also exploring the complex nature of love, loyalty, and the enduring power of friendship.

Rating: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
My Review: The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott is a novel told in the two voices of Samuel Fiske and Alice Barrow.  With the main focus being on Alice Barrow. Samuel Fiske is the heir apparent to the dynasty his Father Hiram Fiske has built in the town of Lowell with their mill industry, His family is known for their respectable reputation which includes keeping the girls who work in their mills safe. Samuel thus far as led a comfortable life but his world is turned upside down when he meets Alice Barrow who will change the prospects of his future and his very life.

Alice Barrow is a mill girl who has escaped her Father's tyranny and a brave heroine who has come to Lowell looking for her own life and independence.  She finds a friend in Lovey; one of the girls who lives in her boarding house with her.  They develop an immediate bond but Alice's world is torn asunder when Lovey is found dead; at the hands some say of the Methodist Reverend Avery whom it is also said got Lovey with child.

The novel tells the story of working conditions in the factories which left much to be desired and the unrest it caused which would eventually lead to the workers demand for change.  It follow's Alice and Samuel's love story as well as the trial of reverend Avery for Lovey's murder.  It was a very easy read and was a book that I did not want to put down. It felt as if the reader was transported right into the story and the characters felt as though they were friends you were rooting for.

For anyone who loves or is interested in the 1830's and 1840's this story is a shining example of how women in those times fought for what today are considered human rights for workers and for equal treatment of women; also if you want a story that has excitement; friendship; and heroines who you feel as if you could talk to even in this modern day and age I'd recommend this book highly.

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