I read a lot of historical fiction, but I cannot remember reading anything prior to The Weaver’s Daughter about the conflict of weavers and mill owners during the Industrial Revolution. While Ladd does not refer to the group of weavers in this book as Luddites, they use similar tactics, destroying textile machinery in an effort to protect their craft and their livelihood. Change is difficult, especially when change threatens one’s way of life. Not everyone views progress in the same way. Ladd does a very good job of placing readers in the emotionally charged conflict that divided communities and families. While one will likely not condone the weavers’ methods, it is still possible to understand why they felt driven to such lengths. With our acceptance of the constantly changing technology of the 21st century, Ladd reminds us of the birth pains of what are now eagerly anticipated improvements in technology and manufacturing.
Kate Dearborne is the daughter of one of the leading men of Amberdale’s cloth industry. While her brother has chosen to go to work for a local mill owner, Kate remains loyal to her father and his peers. That is, until she meets Henry Stockton, grandson of the Stockton Mill, and until the weavers cross a line into violent protests. Then Kate is forced into making very difficult decisions about loyalty and right and wrong. Henry too must make difficult choices between preserving his grandfather’s legacy and the right treatment of those working under his authority. He also must choose between his childhood sweetheart and the bold Miss Dearborne. The Weaver’s Daughter helps the reader to explore moral dilemmas, something we are often called to do in today’s landscape.
I highly recommend The Weaver’s Daughter as an entertaining and thought provoking read. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.