Dear America: So Far From Home, The Diary of Mary Driscoll, An Irish Mill Girl (Lowell, Massachusetts 1847) by Barry Denenberg

sofarMary travels from Ireland to the U.S. to work in a mill so that she can earn money to send to her family at home. This book is very rich with imagery; it is very easy for one to picture the craggy shores of Ireland and the bustling streets of Lowell, MA while reading. In the States, Mary finds her sister, who is now a wealthy woman’s personal maid and wants nothing to do with Mary. Mary then gets a job at a mill where women are forced to work day and night under unfair and very dangerous conditions. (In once gruesome scene, a woman’s hair gets caught in one of the machines… you can imagine the rest.) She makes friends and enemies, tries her best to keep her integrity, and does her best in the workplace. The book ends, however, unexpectedly with no warning or closure. The ensuing epilogue is also…a bit of a letdown. A good book in the series, though not the best.

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