This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Jennifer Joyce
Mill worker Maryann Meadows struggles to keep her family from collapsing after the death of her mother. After a long day at the mill, Maryann must keep the house running, making sure it is clean and tidy and there is food on the table for her father and younger siblings, Violet and Benny. When Maryann is offered the role of nanny for the daughter of Wesley Marshall, the mill’s wealthy owner, she takes the position. The house is ruled by Wesley’s unpleasant sister, Florence but while Maryann may not like the mistress of the house, she is taken under the wing of cook and housemaid Nellie and her family. And the more time Maryann spends with Mr Marshall, the closer the pair become, fuelling gossip in the town.
Set in the 1840s, The Mill Girl tells the story of how love can blossom in the most adverse conditions. There is heartache right from the start for Maryann and the hardships keep on coming throughout the book. Life is never easy for Maryann with death, murder and secrets lurking around every corner. It was quite a slow read for me and I was never really hooked, but it was a pleasant enough read to pass the time. I’m sure the book wasn’t supposed to be funny, but I did start to find all the drama quite comical towards the end, wondering who was going to be killed off next. The book is packed with death and crime – life is never dull when Maryann is around! For me, however, these events started to lose their impact because there were just so many of them. It became the norm for the undertaker to pop round to measure up for a funeral!There are some great characters, from pantomime villain Florence, straight-talking Nellie and warm and caring neighbour Granny Addison. I took an instant dislike to Maryann’s younger sister, Violet as she is a very selfish young woman and I was hoping she would learn her lesson over time. I was also hoping there would be a great romance at the core of the book, but although we know what is going to happen in the end, there wasn’t a great deal of passion or even the attraction as I expected.