The Daring Ladies Of Lowell Book Review

The industrial revolution was a worldwide game changer.  The opportunities for social and financial advancement lured many away from the rural lives and jobs that their families had lived for centuries.

The Daring Ladies of Lowell: A Novel by Kate Alcott explores the lives of young women who left the rural life for the factories and the new lives they would lead due to the industrial revolution.

Alice Barrow is one of these young women. In 1832, she takes a job at a textile mill in Lowell, Massachusetts. The hours are long, the pay is poor and the safety standards are non-existent, but to Alice, this is an opportunity to earn her own income and escape a rural life. Her best friend at the mill is Lovey Cornell, a vivacious, outgoing young woman who is labelled a trouble maker by the foreman and owners. Alice is attracted to the owners son, Samuel Fiske and he is attracted to her. But when  Lovey is murdered, Alice’s budding romance with Samuel appears to be on thin ice.

I liked this book.  There are traces of Jane Eyre in this book, though not obvious at first.  Like Jane, Alice is intelligent and determined to succeed, despite the barriers that are in her way. Samuel, as the first born son and heir to the factory owner, is sympathetic to the workers needs and much more liberal than his father would like him to be.  The details about Alice’s life and work is authentic, I felt for her as a reader. This book has romantic elements, but thankfully, Samuel and Alice’s romance does not dominate the story.

I recommend this book.


Still The King Of New York- My Thoughts On Newsies after 22 years

Imagine if you will, The Bell House, a non-nondescript bar in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn in the summer of 2011. It’s Friday night, the patrons are having a drink, unwinding after a long week. They are adults, mostly women in their 20’s and 30’s. They are educated, mature and grown up.

Then the movie starts. It’s Newsies, the 1992 Disney movie musical starring a very pre Batman Christian Bale as Jack Kelly. Newsies is the story of the newsboys strike in New York City in 1899. Jack Kelly is the unlikely leader of the boys who are fighting for their rights as employees.

Imagine, this group of educated and mature adults,  returning, if only for a few hours, to their childhoods, singing along to a soundtrack that has been part of their lives for nearly two decades. Premiering on April 10, 1992, Newsies was not well liked among critics at that time.   But the critics are not always right.

I’ve loved this movie for over 20 years. To be honest, it is bit flawed. While we all know that Christian Bale is an incredible actor, when it comes to the singing and dancing, Gene Kelly, he is not. But there is a heart to this movie, a genuineness. It speaks to everyone who sees themselves as the little person, who believes that change is impossible.

It is a little corny at times and a tad predictable, but it is a Disney movie.  Despite all of that, it is still Newsies and it is as good as it was back in 1992.


%d bloggers like this: