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The Mill Children

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A beautifully written historical novel which has sold well nationwide in paperback. Readers are already enquiring about the promised sequel to this page turner. "It was the hour of five on a winter's morning. The distant toll of a factory bell echoed across the valley striking wakefullness and dread wherever it was heard. For the army of child slaves, compelled to work am A beautifully written historical novel which has sold well nationwide in paperback. Readers are already enquiring about the promised sequel to this page turner. "It was the hour of five on a winter's morning. The distant toll of a factory bell echoed across the valley striking wakefullness and dread wherever it was heard. For the army of child slaves, compelled to work amongst the ceaseless whirring of a million hissing wheels, another day had begun. Tiny footprints in the snow showed where some had hurried and others had fallen behind sobbing, aware that the lash of the whip awaited them...." Recently orphaned, Jack and Beth flee east across the Pennines to escape the horrors of a Bradford mill in the 1830’s. Gripping, heart-rending and uplifting by turn, this fast-moving novel carries the reader through the subsequent twelve years as they struggle to survive and find fulfilment. Played out against a background of Yorkshire stately homes, chance encounters, forbidden loves, gypsy entanglements, asylums and even the Arctic North, their fortunes wax and wane until the very last page. Interwoven throughout are the inspirational efforts of early reformers such as Richard Oastler whose statue in Bradford, embracing two mill children, marks his achievements to this day. Scarborough Evening News review of The Mill Children, 15 April 2009: Winter 1830. A bedraggled army of beaten and hungry children stumbles to work in a Bradford wool mill. One child falls dead and lies forgotten in the snow. It’s a dramatic start to Scarborough author Suzanne Marshall’s tale of two cousins, Jack and Beth, who flee the mill to escape a miserable fate. A chance encounter with the aristocratic Henry Cunningham offers a safe haven. But Henry is fighting his own demons. A guilty liaison in a boat-house pitches Jack and Beth into fresh adventures and soon their path crosses that of Ramona, a beautiful and self-sufficient gypsy skilled in country lore. A born survivor, she knows how to interpret the warning chatter of birds and how to poach without getting caught. But a terrible secret makes her vulnerable.... With the writer weaving her plot strands like threads in a bolt of cloth, local colour continually drives the action. Seamer Horse Fair and Raincliffe Woods are the settings for life-changing events. Huge whaling ships in Scarborough harbour take the story into new and turbulent waters, the canvas billowing as they put to sea. The suffering of mill children re-enters the story via gossip overheard in a York inn. It concerns “Factory King” Richard Oastler and his campaign to improve their lives in the face of hefty political opposition – this is historical fact. Meanwhile, the Bradford mill Jack and Beth left behind still claims its victims and waits for more. The Mill Children will please its intended readership. The author’s lyrical style suits her material admirably and gives it the ring of authenticity. It’s a fireside book, combining the harsh truths about mill brutality with the sweetening honey of romance.


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A beautifully written historical novel which has sold well nationwide in paperback. Readers are already enquiring about the promised sequel to this page turner. "It was the hour of five on a winter's morning. The distant toll of a factory bell echoed across the valley striking wakefullness and dread wherever it was heard. For the army of child slaves, compelled to work am A beautifully written historical novel which has sold well nationwide in paperback. Readers are already enquiring about the promised sequel to this page turner. "It was the hour of five on a winter's morning. The distant toll of a factory bell echoed across the valley striking wakefullness and dread wherever it was heard. For the army of child slaves, compelled to work amongst the ceaseless whirring of a million hissing wheels, another day had begun. Tiny footprints in the snow showed where some had hurried and others had fallen behind sobbing, aware that the lash of the whip awaited them...." Recently orphaned, Jack and Beth flee east across the Pennines to escape the horrors of a Bradford mill in the 1830’s. Gripping, heart-rending and uplifting by turn, this fast-moving novel carries the reader through the subsequent twelve years as they struggle to survive and find fulfilment. Played out against a background of Yorkshire stately homes, chance encounters, forbidden loves, gypsy entanglements, asylums and even the Arctic North, their fortunes wax and wane until the very last page. Interwoven throughout are the inspirational efforts of early reformers such as Richard Oastler whose statue in Bradford, embracing two mill children, marks his achievements to this day. Scarborough Evening News review of The Mill Children, 15 April 2009: Winter 1830. A bedraggled army of beaten and hungry children stumbles to work in a Bradford wool mill. One child falls dead and lies forgotten in the snow. It’s a dramatic start to Scarborough author Suzanne Marshall’s tale of two cousins, Jack and Beth, who flee the mill to escape a miserable fate. A chance encounter with the aristocratic Henry Cunningham offers a safe haven. But Henry is fighting his own demons. A guilty liaison in a boat-house pitches Jack and Beth into fresh adventures and soon their path crosses that of Ramona, a beautiful and self-sufficient gypsy skilled in country lore. A born survivor, she knows how to interpret the warning chatter of birds and how to poach without getting caught. But a terrible secret makes her vulnerable.... With the writer weaving her plot strands like threads in a bolt of cloth, local colour continually drives the action. Seamer Horse Fair and Raincliffe Woods are the settings for life-changing events. Huge whaling ships in Scarborough harbour take the story into new and turbulent waters, the canvas billowing as they put to sea. The suffering of mill children re-enters the story via gossip overheard in a York inn. It concerns “Factory King” Richard Oastler and his campaign to improve their lives in the face of hefty political opposition – this is historical fact. Meanwhile, the Bradford mill Jack and Beth left behind still claims its victims and waits for more. The Mill Children will please its intended readership. The author’s lyrical style suits her material admirably and gives it the ring of authenticity. It’s a fireside book, combining the harsh truths about mill brutality with the sweetening honey of romance.

30 review for The Mill Children

  1. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Cleland

    Lovely book! This book is insight into how our children suffered and must never treat kids this way ever again? Lovely book so sad ,hopeful and joyous.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    My emotions were everywhere in this story. I could not believe the cruelty handed out day after day to the children who were treated like slaves when working in the mills, the depravity and neglect was heart stopping. The young girls had no one to protect them from the disgusting lascivious men in the mills who took their innocence and then threw them onto a filthy sack. Using small children to go under the machines to collect cotton, sometimes accidents happened. One day the brothers and sister My emotions were everywhere in this story. I could not believe the cruelty handed out day after day to the children who were treated like slaves when working in the mills, the depravity and neglect was heart stopping. The young girls had no one to protect them from the disgusting lascivious men in the mills who took their innocence and then threw them onto a filthy sack. Using small children to go under the machines to collect cotton, sometimes accidents happened. One day the brothers and sister meet up with the person who was going to try and remedy the child labour situation. Suzaanne Marshall makes this an engrossing story.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Taylor

    Brilliant Storyline was brilliant and the characters came to life before me as I read. To be honest it was one of those books that I couldn't put down. As a Bradfordian I park my car in the Oastler Centre every day going to work and I see his statue. A constant reminder to this great man. This book brings to mind images of that era. Sad but true. Brilliant Storyline was brilliant and the characters came to life before me as I read. To be honest it was one of those books that I couldn't put down. As a Bradfordian I park my car in the Oastler Centre every day going to work and I see his statue. A constant reminder to this great man. This book brings to mind images of that era. Sad but true.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lerline Fitzgerald

    Good read I truely enjoyed this book. It was a page turner which brought out different emotions. Not a dull moment. Yes i would recommend this book to anyone who believes in love, compassion and the caring others.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    this book is about boy and girl cousins that start out as children who, after being orphaned are forced to work in the textile mills. It also touches on the reform of child labor but only slightly.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lynn Young

    It wasn't half bad. It read like a romance. I usually don't do romances so I must have gotten this one by mistake. But I finished it! :) It wasn't half bad. It read like a romance. I usually don't do romances so I must have gotten this one by mistake. But I finished it! :)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tracy Bethell

    really good in parts,but boring in others

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Ward

    Good read I could not put this book down I only wish that there was a mill children 2, this book ticks all the boxes for me. Give it a go!!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Claire Carter

    i felt this dragged on and on was glad to finish

  10. 5 out of 5

    trina webber

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Rickards

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sue

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Oliver

  14. 5 out of 5

    wendy barnes

  15. 4 out of 5

    Roberta Ranger

  16. 5 out of 5

    allan barber

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jenny De Friskbom

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lyness Kerr

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tamsin

  20. 4 out of 5

    Pamela McSkimmings

  21. 4 out of 5

    John Joines

  22. 4 out of 5

    Allison Shearer

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tawna Eldridge

  24. 5 out of 5

    Paula Haden-Wallace

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Hetherington

  26. 5 out of 5

    technogran1

  27. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alfreda

  29. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Cassidy

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sheryl Ohara

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