When young Jinnie Howlett's widowed father, a tinker man, died a pauper, she was indeed fortunate already to be an inmate of a northern workhouse, for with no other relatives, she might otherwise have ended up on the streets, a fate for children of her age that was, in the latter years of the nineteenth century, all too common. When, close to her ...
When young Jinnie Howlett's widowed father, a tinker man, died a pauper, she was indeed fortunate already to be an inmate of a northern workhouse, for with no other relatives, she might otherwise have ended up on the streets, a fate for children of her age that was, in the latter years of the nineteenth century, all too common. When, close to her fifteenth birthday and after years of toil and drudgery and an unfortunate experience at a previous workplace, she was at last offered a position as a maid-of-all-work, she was left in no doubt that this second chance was also her last. Jinnie's employers were to be the Shalemans and her place of work Tollet's Ridge Farm, a bleakly isolated and run-down sheep farm way out beyond Allendale and towards the Cumbrian border. It was only a matter of weeks before she discovered that she had exchanged one kind of drudgery for another, for the Shaleman family - Rose, invalid wife of Pug and mother to Bruce and Hal - demanded so much of her that she almost became nostalgic about her years at the house, as she called it. Fortunately for Jinnie, however, Bruce soon recognised that there was more to this seemingly vulnerable girl than the othe members of his family realised, and it was he who would defend her against the taunts and harassment of the brutish Pug and Hal. It was when, by accident, she became acquainted with Richard Baxton-Powell, who owed his life to Bruce, that Jinnie realised how different and tempting life was beyond her place of work; although later, when the persistent attention Richard paid her became too obtrusive, she was to understand that her growing confidence and maturity owed more to her life with the Shalemans than to any outside influence. It was then that Jinnie Howlett was suddenly thrust into womanhood, and the path to her own destiny became clear.
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A very interesting story about a young girl who has a unbelievable life. Really a hard life. The end result is equally unbelievable but it easy reading and keeps your interest. I recommend it. This author is very talented and writes stories that tug at your heart.
May 21, 2012
Good story, well-drawn characters, all affected by the rigid English class system of the time.
Mar 17, 2010
not one of her better ones
This could have been much more romantic, and Catherine Cookson has done much better. But the romance wasn't so great, and there was a problem with a couple of the main characters, namely that they started out good guys and the author, apparently to suit her plot, changed them into bad guys midway.
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