A mill worker and the owner’s son will fight their attraction to each other while trying to survive the struggles brought to the cotton trade by the American Civil War.
Song of the Shuttle is book #1 in the Lancashire Cotton Saga and can be read as a standalone.
Our thanks to the author and Sapere Books for the advanced reader’s copy.
Title: Song of the Shuttle by Christine Evans
Publisher: Sapere Books (January 17, 2019)
Print Lenght: 360 pages
A gripping saga, stretching from the industrial towns of England to the American Civil War! For fans of Nadine Dorries, Maeve Binchy, Freda Lightfoot and Dilly Court.
Two headstrong young women are fighting for their independence…
1861, Northern England
Jessie Davenport, a young mill worker, and Honora Darwen, an orphan determined to follow in her father’s medical footsteps, strike up a friendship in the busy industrial town of Gorbydale.
With whispers of war on the horizon and discontent spreading in the Invincible Mill where Jessie works, the lives of the young people in Gorbydale are changed forever.
With her mother unwell and her brother sent overseas to serve in the American Civil War, Jessie has to fight for the survival of her family.
Honora, meanwhile, struggles to break free from her subservient position in her uncle’s grand house.
Could a voyage to the New World give the two women the freedom they crave? Will peace come to the turbulent town of Gorbydale?
And could love be on the horizon for Jessie and Honora…?
SONG OF THE SHUTTLE is the first book in The Lancashire Cotton Saga: a thrilling historical romance novel, spanning two continents, with strong-willed heroines at its heart.
From the Publisher’s Blurb
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Jessie Davenport worked at the Invincible Mill, an imposing factory that was the heart of the town of Gorbydale. She was appreciated by all for her hard work and had captured the attention of the overseer Taylor Walmsley.
Taylor was about to propose when the mill owner son, Robert, kissed Jesse at the local fair to win a wager. Jesse already thought he was an idle and useless rich boy, but the kiss sealed her bad opinion of him.
Jesse’s life was changing fast, with Taylor having second thoughts and her mother becoming ill.
The book is set in Victorian England, portraying the mill workers’ lives and the owners’ struggles, especially with the beginning of the American Civil War.
With cotton becoming scarce, so did work. Life was very hard, and mill owners tried to find alternative sources of raw materials.
Locals were torn between the need for cotton and the repulsive reality of its production through slavery.
I was very impressed by the quality of the writing and the richness of the details. I don’t want to give spoilers, but the reader is taken into the mills, then across the ocean to the heat of the American Civil War. There is even a casual encounter with Abraham Lincoln.
The side characters are remarkable: the prim and idealist Honora, the free-spirited Dolly, the loyal wife Melissa, and the cold and ambitious Taylor, to mention a few.
There are several side stories, all well developed and engaging. I loved the sense of family, community, and the sneak peeks into history.
I especially loved meeting Kezia and her husband, two slaves with remarkable inner strength who fought for freedom.
Song of the Shuttle by Christine Evans is a beautiful historical fiction with a bit of romance, a lot of history, and memorable characters. I cannot wait to start the next book in the series, Twist of the Thread.
Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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About the Author
Christine Evans was brought up in Moss Side, Manchester and then moved to Wythenshawe, a sprawling council estate at the edge of south Manchester. Leaving grammar school at sixteen, she went to work in a bank. After Christine married she gave up work to have her children and, after a spell of temping, worked at the Bishop of Manchester’s office for twenty years. During that time she began night school classes for creative writing. One of the tutors suggested that she send off some of her short stories to magazines and her first short story was published in 1999 in Ireland’s Own. Since then she has had over two hundred short stories published in various magazines, mostly in People’s Friend but also in Ireland’s Own, Take a Break, Bella, My Weekly and Yours.
All sorts of idea set Christine off, memories, funny things that happened to people or someone’s love story, not to mention eavesdropping. She has written three serials for People’s Friend and “Song of the Shuttle” began as one of those serials. She became interested in the Lancashire Cotton Famine caused by the American Civil war. The Famine rarely makes an appearance in any history books, so she decided to weave a story around it, set in Lancashire and America.
Christine sadly passed in 2020. Rest in peace Christine.