Book Review: The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott

The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott
Published by Random House LLC on 2014-02-25
Genres: Fiction, General, Historical, Literary, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Random House

From the best-selling author of The Dressmaker comes the warm-hearted and enthralling saga of a bold young woman caught between two worlds-the vibrant camaraderie of factory life and the opulence that a budding romance with the mill owner’s son affords-as the murder of her best friend sends shock waves throughout the town.

I received this book for free from Random House in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I also recommend:

  • The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen
  • The Linen Queen by Patricia Falway
My Review:

I had high hopes for The Daring Ladies of Lowell.  I love historical fiction that centers around women’s rights, especially when it surrounds the working class.  When I saw that this book was about mill girls I really, really wanted it to blow me away.  I know a little bit about the working condition of cotton mills so I was hoping to get even more of an education about the experience in addition to reading a story about the girls themselves.  What I got was a mediocre history lesson wrapped up in a somewhat cliche, and definitely predictable, romance.

I wish that wasn’t the case, I really do.  When I saw the direction being taken by Alcott I literally rolled my eyes.  It’s predictable folks, from the first visit of a certain prominent family to the mill.  And not only is it predictable, but in a book about a valid part of our country’s history, it’s also really, really unreal.  Like, for the life of me, I couldn’t see it happening.  I kept protesting, first inside, then actually in an audible way, as I worked my way through the book but no dice. The story had to go exactly where I was hoping it wouldn’t.

You see, romances like the one in The Daring Ladies of Lowell cheapen the story for me.  When I pick up a historical fiction about a serious subject, I want to see that subject treated seriously.  When the romance emerges and takes center stage it gives me this horrible feeling like it was merely being used as a prop to get the reader all swoony over some type of Romeo and Juliet situation.  That, folks, leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

There are other historical fiction novels that deal with serious subjects in a more serious way…but if romance is your thing, Alcott’s The Daring Ladies of Lowell isn’t a bad read.  I finished it after all, it just wasn’t for me.

Check out these reviews!

  • “Social reform! Romance! Murder! This book has so much awesomeness. It’s probably for a somewhat patient reader, given that there’s a lot of mill stuff and a trial covered and it’s not the fastest pace, but I think The Daring Ladies of Lowell is fabulous.” – A Reader of Fictions
  • “In the end though, The Daring Ladies of Lowell is really nothing more than a coming-of-age romance disguised as historical fiction.”  – That’s What She Read
  • “Alcott is an excellent storyteller, and her next novel is definitely one to read. ” – Scribbles and Wanderlust

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