A High and Lonely Road

Helen Cannam, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (440p) ISBN 978-0-312-04328-5
The Yorkshire Dales are beginning to feel the tremors of the Industrial Revolution as this substantial first novel opens. Its impact will change the lives of the Gayle brothers and the woman they both love, Hannah Burton. Robert, the elder, already distanced from the constrictive Quakerism of valley residents, seeks his fortune in commerce. To the tranquil community, where knitting and weaving have been the dominant cottage industries, he introduces the textile mill and the attendant horrors of child labor. Although Hannah has a heated, conflicted affair with Robert, she eventually finds contentment with quiet, scholarly Samuel. Hannah's story--her origins as a foundling and her restlessness as a Quaker (``To be still and tranquil was to be dead'')--requires considerable credulity on the reader's part. Yet the vicissitudes of her life provide an effective rendering of a cataclysmic economic force in 19th-century England. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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