I thoroughly enjoyed Kate Alcott’s book The Dressmaker and when I saw a new book by this author, I knew I had to give it a try. The Daring Ladies of Lowell is set in a cotton mill in Lowell Massachusetts in 1832. Alice Barrow has left her home on the farm in search of independence.
Alice is a bright, intelligent young woman who has been taught by her mother to stand up for herself. She lives in a boarding house with other mill girls and eventually they begin to rely on her to be their voice. She and another mill girl, the fun-loving Lovey, form a strong friendship. As she advocates for her friends, she and the mill owner’s son, Samuel Fiske become attracted to each other. When Lovey is found murdered, and the Fiske family becomes embroiled in the case, their relationship is put to the test.
This book held so many stories besides Alice’s; like the exploitation of workers, early feminism, dangerous working conditions, and the power of the factory owners over an entire town. In some ways this is an old story that has been told many times – young girl leaves home, falls in love with a handsome man, but his family doesn’t approve. What makes this story different is the integrity, strength and deep moral character of the heroine.
This book is a great choice for summer reading.