In telling a tale of Lancashire life Frances Hodgson was on familiar ground. Brought up in the world's first industrial city she would have been all too aware of the lot of working women - whether... More > they toiled in the coal pit or a spinning mill.
However, she did not begin to write until the family migrated to America following her father's death and their subsequent fall into poverty as a result of the Lancashire Cotton Famine caused by the American Civil War. Here she married Swan Burnet in 1872.
That Lass O' Lowrie's was her first novel, but by no means her worst. A dark portrait of pit village life and yet a joyous and uplifting read.
Published to raise funds for the Working Class Movement Library, Salford, M5 4WX.< Less
The One I Knew the Best of All traces the early life of Frances Hodgson Burnett. In it she relates her earliest memories as a child in a North Manchester middle-class home and,... More > following her father's death, in Salford.
Although a well-behaved little girl she relates her fascination with "back street" children and their language - the Lancashire dialect - which she sets out to learn. At the same time she provides a vivid description of the differences in the lives of those who laboured to produce Lancashire's wealth and those who took possession of it.
Finally she deals with the American Civil War - the consequent Lancashire Cotton Famine - its devastating effects - her family's impoverishment and subsequent flight across the Atlantic. Here, in Tennessee, they make a new life, and Frances is forced to examine ways they can make a living.
A brilliant, entertaining and thought provoking read.
Published in support of The Working Class Movement Library, Salford, M5 4WX.< Less
Little Lord Fauntleroy was the first book written specifically for children by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
The story begins in a run-down area of New York where young Cedric Errol lives a life of... More > poverty with his mother, his father having recently died.
Much to his and his mother’s amazement he is contacted by his English grandfather, a crusty old aristocrat, who wants the boy to return to the land of his ancestors and assume his rightful title as a Lord.
A lovely tale of rags to riches with more than a few twists on the way.
Published in support of the Working Class Movement Library, 51 The Crescent, Salford, M5 4WX.< Less
Frances Hodgson Burnett was persuaded to write this novel for children as an expanded version of Sara Crewe, otherwise known as What Happened at Miss Minchin's Boarding School. The... More > original and far shorter version was first published in serialised form in the popular U.S.A. children's publication, St. Nicholas Magazine, in 1888.
Here in the UK, the National Education Association named the book one of its “Top 100 Books for Children” as a result of a poll of teachers in 2007. This probably means that it would not meet with the present Minister (Michael Gove) for Education’s approval. But one never knows and I doubt if the author could care less.
A brilliant read, republished for a great cause, namely the Working Class Movement Library in Salford, and one for which I have no doubt Frances Hodgson Burnett would have approved.
Malc Cowle, Manchester, 2013.< Less