The novel begins in Manchester, where we are introduced to the Bartons and the Wilsons, two working class families. ohn Barton reveals himself to be a great questioner of the distribution of wealth and the relation between the rich and the poor. He also relates how his sister-in-law Esther has disappeared after she ran away from home. Soon afterwards Mrs Barton dies, and John is left with his daughter Mary to cope in the harsh world around them. Having already been deeply affected by the loss of his son Tom at a young age, after the death of his wife, Barton tackles depression and begins to involve himself in the Chartist movement connected with the trade unions
Satisfying old fashioned novel
This work is heavier on the sermonizing and over telling than other work but still very enjoyable.
Much like a Shakespearian tragedy, this story tells of the troubled lives of the working-class in an industrial town in England from 1837-1842. I did not enjoy this book as much as North and South by Ms. Gaskell but the characters were interesting and it provided a look at the time through the eyes of the author.
Being as much a social commentary as a novel, the book was descriptive and entertaining enough to keep my interest but lacked the levity and depth for me to wish to read it again.
I would recommend it to readers who enjoy Jane Austen or Elizabeth Gaskell's works.
Good insight into humans and their humanity. Easy read