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Anna Jacobs

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (2 Reviews)
Book Details

Publisher : Coronet

Published : 1998

Copyright : Anna Jacobs 1998

ISBN-10 : PB 0-340-69299-5
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-340-69299-8

Publisher's Write-Up

Jessie Burton is lively and intelligent and she wants more than the respectable life in service her mother has long planned for her. And times are changing: railways are being built across the land, bringing new freedom and possibilities.

Jessie tastes that freedom when she meets Jared Wilde, an ambitious young navvy newly arrived in Yorkshire. The attraction between them is overwhelming. He introduces her to the primitive, colorful shanty towns that spring up around the railway works. But in spite of the hardness of life there, she finds happiness with Jared. Until another navvy becomes determined to destroy their future together…

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Chrissi (010702) Rating (8/10)
Review by Alma (010602) Rating (8/10)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 8/10
This was the other book very kindly sent to us by the author in Australia. This, though, remains in England throughout the story, unlike the others that have had people jumping on ships at the drop of a hat.

This particular novel is set during the first boom of Railway construction, after the peak of the canal building boom, Jessie is a young woman working in service at a local landowning Lord's home. A sensible woman, she has been in service since she was a child and now has a position of responsibility in the house.

Walking home from visiting with her mother, on her day off, she meets a young man who works on the railways and starts to walk out with him, even though she knows that her employer bears an unreasoning grudge against the railway and what it may do to the landscape. She and Jared continue to see one another until someone from the hall tattletales and his Lordship tells her that she cannot continue the relationship. When she refuses, he threatens her and finally locks her away in the attic.

After escaping, Jessie makes her way back to her mother's home and tells Jared that she will marry him. After they are married, she travels with him around the digging sites, initially aghast at the conditions that the people live in on those sites, with slatternly habits and no hygiene to speak of. Jessie, having a bit more about her than most, gets a job in the store which sells the railway diggers and their families their provisions, but in doing so, attracts a drunkard who wants to take her from her husband. Jared does not feel that there is a threat and effectively leaves Jessie to cope with the man alone, with unforeseen consequences.

One of the things that I really like about this is the sheer volume of research that must have taken place prior to the writing. The details of life for the servants in a big house are many and varied, and it really makes you thankful for the time that we live in now, because then there were many who lived to serve the few, and with my luck, I would not have been one of the few. :)
Chrissi (1st July 2002)

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Review by Alma
Rating 8/10
This is not my usual read but I thought I'd give it a go, as it was kindly sent to BookLore by the author Anna Jacobs.

It is basically a romance story set in the 19th Century with Jessie wanting more from life than her mother has planned and social circumstance will allow. Life is hard, with Jessie saving all she can to achieve her dreams.

Although I found it a little predictable (I normally read Mystery and Thrillers so I'm used to not knowing what happens until the end) the story is very strong and extremely well written.

An enjoyable read and I suspect better than the average romance what with the quality of writing. If this is your preferred genre I don't think you could go wrong.
Alma (1st June 2002)

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