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This storyline sounded so interesting as it promised to examine the working conditions of female employees in a Boston area cotton mill and the real life historical account of the murder of one of those women However, the author then decides to concentrate on a other side of the tracks romance between one of the mill workers and the heir to the cotton mill business I hate that type of masquerade I won this free book through Goodreads first reads The author made this story so alive with the dialogue between the mill girls and all the characters in the story Friends are forever thats what the author brought out I felt I was in their presence The girls that worked in the mill had to fight for reform,health and safety too This book is movie material I love the story. My love for historical fiction focused on the labor movement began with Denise Giardina s Storming Heaven Since reading that novel almost twenty five years ago now , my bookstore radar has led me to other novels treating similar themes The newest such novel I ve encountered is Kate Alcott s The Daring Ladies of Lowell, and it s a lovely addition to the genre.You may or may not be familiar with the Lowell textile mills As a quilter with a love of reproduction textiles fabrics based on swatches from different historical periods , I know about the Lowell girls and the textiles they produced Henry Cabot Lowell was a U.S entrepreneur who visited British textile mills, memorized their layouts and the construction of their machinery, then returned to the U.S with a head full of trade secrets and went into business for himself The first U.S textile mill was built in 1823 andfollowed quickly, with most of them located alongside New England rivers that provided the power that ran machinery.Early on, these Mills began hiring female employees They became an important source of employment for young women who wanted to leave the demands of farm life and who dreamed of aindependence than had heretofore been possible Still, the opportunities the mills provided came at a price the labor was demanding, with thirteen hour work days, dangerous equipment, and pay that was half what the men working for the mills earned Mill girls lived in dormitories and had their behavior closely monitored by employers who worried about the public reputations of their girls Any perceived loose behavior was grounds for immediate firing.The Daring Ladies of Lowell is set in such a mill and one of its main plot lines focuses on the murder of a mill girl that s incompletely documented press reports from the time Alcott has used the historical information available, filling out the story with her own imagination This is a work of fiction, but it reads true.Two other key plot lines focus on the burgeoning labor movement and a problematic romance between a son of the mill owner and one of the mill girls These different themes are interwoven effectively Much to my relief, this novel never degenerated into romance, which I feared it might Not that I have anything against romance but I do object to the way it often operates in deus ex machina fashion to deliver individual women from the injustices of their time, while glossing over the lives of the many other women in similar straits, who don t catch the eye of the wealthy landowner or the earl or the industrial baron or whomever.This novel makes for engaging reading as we share the lives of these young women and watch their autonomy and courage increase as they re granted the opportunity to be self supporting It s worth reading both for historical context and narrative It won t teach you as much as a larger non fiction work on the same topic and, despite the author s best efforts, may minimize some of the challenges the mill girls faced, but it brings the era to life in a way that will move you to further reading, both fiction and non fiction. What I most love about good historical fiction is not knowing how much of a story is based on real life events My second Alcott book, I once again found myself wanting to google all kinds of events and people I m glad I didn t because the author graciously reveals what was real and what wasn t after the book ends I m happy to reveal that this was an excellent glimpse into the early days of our country s industrial revolution And it will come as no shock that our forbears wereconcerned with keeping their pockets lined than addressing the plight of the workers in their employ Some things never change The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott is a Doubleday Random House publication set for release in February 2014 I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.Alice Barrow wished to become an independent woman She leaves her family s farm against the wishes of her father , in 1832 and begins work in the textile industry Being a mill girl proves muchdifficult than Alice had anticipated However, she does make friends with the other girls, especially a girl names Lovey Lovey was a nonconformist, funny, daring, and an all around great friend to have The girls, especially Alice speak out against the terrible conditions in the factory This gets Alice noticed by the Fiske family, owners of the mill Samuel Fiske in particular takes a liking to Alice when she shows him the true nature of his family But a terrible tragedy occurs that brings down the reputation of Alice s friend and puts a barrier between her and Samuel and their budding romance.This book is multi layered There are elements of a strong friendship, a strong willed Alice who gained much from her experience with the ladies of Lowell There are the historical aspects that call attention to the treatment of workers, especially women and the attitudes of the upper classes that certainly felt these women were nothingthan slaves and balked at making the work conditionshumane The attitudes of men toward any woman that got pregnant without benefit of marriage was also horrifying The rules regarding women who were allowed to work in the mill and many other historical details kept me in enraged at the treatment these women endured.This was also a courtroom drama when a man is accused of murder and Alice must testify There is also a romance between Samuel and Alice This romance goes against the Fiske family s standards, but it s Alice s standards that are much higher.This novel was inspiring and thought provoking It took a lot of spine for Alice to make a stand against injustice She made sacrifices for her co workers and for her good friend Lovey I wonder if there are many people today who would put their jobs and relationships on the line the way Alice did Over this one gets an A I enjoyed Alcott s first novel, The Dressmaker, about the Titanic, although parts were exaggerated or unbelievable Her second story, The Daring Ladies of Lowell, is set in 1832 1833 in Lowell, Massachusetts, and features young, hopeful, naive Alice Barrow Alice joins many other women in their 20 s and 30 s who labor in the cotton mills, desiring freedom from overbearing families and tedious farm chores She appreciates the independence and income she receives, along with friendships and educational opportunities but she quickly recognizes the health hazards, long days, and other challenges of factory work In a totally unrealistic turn of events, Alice meets and falls in love with Samuel Fiske, the son of the factory owner when her co worker Lovey is murdered, their relationship is put to the test I found Alice s interactions with Samuel and his family, and that of the various Fiskes with each other, poorly written the Fiskes were not well developed as characters and could have been a novel in and of themselves I was also annoyed at Alcott s lack of research She makes too many sloppy mistakes that raise red flags and are easily identified online For instance, Alice has a worn copy of Elizabeth Barrett Browning s poetry that belonged to her mother but Browning s first volume of verse wasn t published until 1838, and Sonnets From the Portuguese which is quoted several times didn t appear until 1845 Also, the waltz was first exhibited in the U.S in 1834, so the romantic scene where Alice and Samuel dance to a piano version is totally incorrect Overall, I felt the book was trite and superficial and didn t live up to its immense potential. First and foremost, thank you Sharon H for the recommendation The Daring Ladies of Lowell was a surprisingly engaging read an equitable blend of historical relevance, characterization, mystery, and romance Not overly studious but yet not trite and sappy I do want to point out, Alcott took extensive creative liberties with time stamps and factual events However, it didn t detract from conveying the poor working conditions and dangers common to mid nineteenth century mill girls and the less than desirable education, employment, and social opportunities afforded women in general Besides, it s a work of fiction Not everything need be true to the nth degree for a story to merit gratification and worth it just need be plausible within genre and sub genre parameters And if it s entertaining and engaging, all thegratifying The Daring Ladies of Lowell an engaging soft and simply told historical nuanced novel four gratifying stars. *Free Epub ↚ The Daring Ladies of Lowell ⇝ From The Best Selling Author Of The Dressmaker Comes The Warm Hearted And Enthralling Saga Of A Bold Young Woman Caught Between Two Worlds The Vibrant Camaraderie Of Factory Life And The Opulence That A Budding Romance With The Mill Owner S Son Affords As The Murder Of Her Best Friend Sends Shock Waves Throughout The TownDetermined To Forge Her Own Destiny, Alice Barrow Joins The Legions Of Spirited Young Women Better Known As The Mill Girls From Dawn Until Dusk, These Ladies Work The Looms, But The Thrill Of Independence, Change In Their Pockets, And Friendships Formed Along The Way Mostly Make The Backbreaking Labor Worthwhile In Fact, Hiram Fiske, The Steely Eyed Titan Of Industry, Has Banked On That But The Working Conditions Are Becoming Increasingly Dangerous And After One Too Many Accidents, Alice Finds Herself Unexpectedly Acting As An Emissary To Address The Factory Workers Mounting List Of GrievancesAfter Traveling To The Fiske Family S Beacon Hill Mansion, Alice Enters A World She S Never Even Dared To Dream About Exquisite Silk Gowns, Sumptuous Dinners, Grand Sitting Parlors, And Uniformed Maids Operating With An Invisible Efficiency Of Course, There S Also A Chilliness In The Air As Alice Presents Her Case But With Her Wide, Intelligent Eyes And Rosy Hued Cheeks, Alice Manages To Capture The Attention Of Hiram S Eldest Son, The Handsome And Reserved Samuel FiskeTheir Chemistry Is Undeniable, Soon Progressing From Mutual Respect And Shy Flirtation Into An Unforgettable Romance But When Alice S Best Friend, Lovey, Is Found Strangled In A Field, Alice And Samuel Are Torn Between Loyalty To Their Kind And A Chance For True Love I was really hoping forwith this book I enjoyed the beginning, and looked forward to getting to know the characters better throughout the book, but by the late middle, I was bored Some of the descriptions of life in the 1830 s were very well done, but I also wished that the HISTORICAL part of historical fiction was emphasized , in terms of the characters in the book the author admits that most of them were made up quite a few scenarios seemed far fetched in this book t0 say the least, I really don t believe many of the situations would ve actually occurred during that time period The writing style ending up disappointing me as well, too many platitudes that seemed unrealistic I don t think people really speak or think in platitudes The end was unclear and unsatisfactory as well I ended up skimming the last quarter of the book I am glad I read it, but I wouldn t recommend it. The setting of this book was 1832 Pretty sure tractors and wristwatches were not around at that time If you re going to attempt historical fiction, do some research.