THE DARING LADIES OF LOWELL
The carefully detailed life in the Massachusetts cotton mills gives Alcott’s latest a ring of authenticity. Add to this well-drawn characters, a sensational trial, a forbidden romance and a young woman’s struggle for independence and you have a compelling read. Alcott is a splendid storyteller who knows exactly how to capture reader attention with a perfect combination of history and romance. This wonderful tribute to the mill girls will resonate with readers.
Alice Barrows leaves her New Hampshire farm for a job in a Lowell mill. She discovers the working conditions are difficult to bear. Her friendship with Lovey Cornell, access to the literary magazines and meeting President Jackson keep her going. Then Alice becomes a liaison between the girls and mill owner Hiram Fiske, which leads to a connection with his son Samuel. Just when a relationship looks possible, Lovey is found hanged in an apparent suicide. The ensuing trial raises tensions between the owners and the girls as Alice hopes for justice and faces loss and betrayal with courage. (DOUBLEDAY, Mar., 302 pp., $25.99)