Summary (via katealcott.com): 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". The hours are long and the conditions are bad, but Alice soon finds a true friend in Lovey Cornell, a saucy, strong-willed girls who is outspoken about the dangers they face in the factories...and about Alice openign her heart to a blossoming relationship with Samuel Fiske, the handsome and sympathetic son of the mill's owner.
But when Lovey is found dead under suspicious circumstances, a sensational trial brings the workers' unrest to a boiling point, leaving Alice torn between finding justice for her friend and her growing passion for the man with whom she had no business falling in love.
I enjoyed all of the mill girl characters and liked that they were all different enough that I could keep them straight in my mind. Of course Daisy is a little too much to handle, but she's meant to be that way.
I also liked that the love story didn't totally overtake everything else that was going on. Alice was an uncharacteristically strong personality in a very subtle way, but she never let her heart get in the way of what really mattered to her.
In the audio version I thought that Mr. Fiske (the father) and the girl from the revival camp were slightly overacted and maybe a bit too vehement in everything they said, but other than that the narration was very enjoyable.
I'm learning to enjoy Kate Alcott's writing. She has quite a dark slant to her stories. Even when truth and justice doesn't win out, you're not left feeling too let down in the end. There's usually some sort of silver lining revealed to make you feel like it was all worthwhile.
I had no idea that women were working in factories at this point in history! If you want to learn more, watch the video above or check out The National Women's History Museum site for more information.
For more of Kate Alcott's writing, check out my review of The Dressmaker~