Page 124 - PB Cat 1999-2021
P. 124

 A bobbin girl at work The Lowell Mill Girls by Alice Flanagan (2006) p. 24
Written in 1980 and set in the 1840s, Emmeline is about a 13-year-old girl who is sent away from her home in Maine to work in the mills at Lowell. She is lonely and disorientated, but beautiful, and thus easy prey for the mill overseer. When her pregnancy is revealed she is sent away and forced to give up her baby. The innocent Emmeline ‘had seen the word adultery in my Bible.When I asked my mother what it meant, she told
me I would know when I needed to know.’ The tragedy is then compounded by another, Oedipal one. Based on the true story of Emeline Bachelder Gurney, this is ‘a richly-formed examination of woman-hood, conducted with almost unbroken tenderness. It moves from childhood sexual abuse to adult incest without ever getting puerile’ (Lucy Ellmann).The Observer called it ‘compulsively readable’, the Guardian thought it ‘told with harrowing clarity and a beautiful unforced sense of its period ... a triumph of narration, simple and piercing.’ And the Telegraph said it was ‘brilliant ... stunningly well done.’ The book inspired a documentary called Sins of Our Mothers and an opera.
 A fragment of an American C19th linen and wool plaid, possibly woven at Lowell. Emmeline might have worn this as a shawl.
 NO 123
416pp PERSEPHONE BOOKS ISBN 9781910263136

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