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Call the Darkness Light

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  145 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Call The Darkness Light is an epic novel of a young woman's passionate struggle for independence in 19th century America.

Set in Massachusetts during the two decades before the Civil War, the novel tells the story of Sabra Palfrey - a Lowell "mill girl" who with her sister weavers and spinners was one of the first generation of American women to work and live apart from the

Paperback, 564 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Soho Press (first published 1979)
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Jan 27, 2013 Cecilia rated it really liked it
Not the first Zaroulis' tome of historical fiction that I have read. I'm a fan of her writing style. Nancy Zaroulis is adept at creating believable characters and settings. And it's evident that she did copious research on the the Industrial Revolution for this novel.

"Call the Darkness Light" offers an understanding of what life was like in Lowell, Massachusetts for a stoic young Yankee woman come to town to work in the cotton mills. Zaroulis uses the life story of her main character, Sabra P
Dec 23, 2010 Kim added it
The setting of this book was in Lowell, Ma where I grew up. It was amazing to brought back in time and read about such places as the Shaw Hospital, the Acre, the mills, etc.
Judi/Judith Riddle
Mar 11, 2011 Judi/Judith Riddle rated it it was amazing
I read this book in 1996 and was enthralled with the history of it. I plan to reread it someday.
Jul 30, 2012 Bob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(By a Hampton Beach kid of the '40's, '50s: Anyone remember the fisherman 'statue' in a 'pond' on the main road in Amesbury signaling "We're almost at the 10 cent wooden toll bridge to Hampton?)

Zaroulis' "Call..." blew my mind away in the '80s by vividly enlightening me about what happened 150 years earlier on the streets, e.g. Church/Andover to Belvedere and other neighborhoods, I trodded as a teen to woo gals! to thus appreciate what the Mill Gals forged for me to later enjoy the birthing of t
Dec 01, 2011 Ryanmoth rated it really liked it
Amazingly rich and a superbly researched novel. Early 19th century history geeks such as myself had little to complain about the historical minutae of the book. I really appreciated the level writing of the heroine Sabra. She was perfectly written as a women in her own time and place.
So often histocical fiction can project modern ideals and concepts onto people in history. Rest assured this did not happen here. Without making Sabra seem like a dullard or uninformed in her time, Author Nancy Za
Mar 22, 2014 Ruth rated it it was ok
Shelves: giving-up-on
Disclaimer: this is a half baked review about half read book:

At first I found this book charming and a great history lesson about the mill industry in 1830s New England. It follows the story of a mill worker in a cloth factory. There is a touch of Dickens in the entertaining presentation of grim poverty. The character leaves the mill to follow her quasi fiance to a back to nature cult, part of the utopian communities of the era, I am sure I learned about it in college. There is a stint with the
Aug 08, 2011 Sharon rated it liked it
Torn between marking it ok or liked it. It was ok and I did like it most of the time. Historical fiction is not one of my favorite genres and sometimes this book seemed like the author was trying to put everything that happened in this era into the life of the protagonist Sabra. So not only was she a Lowell mill worker, she also ran into Shakers, immigrants (Irish and German),the mystical craze, and the beginnings of the Civil War. I did learn a lot about the mills and how enchanted the outside ...more
James Barnes
Jul 02, 2014 James Barnes rated it it was amazing
This book was a page turner and could not put it down. I happened to have the book laying dusty in book case. The coincidence was that I had gone to dinner w/ friends, who lived in Lowell, the day I started it. I was completely in awe of those monstrous mills lining the river bank, like the pyramids in Egypt. What a great history lesson of the mid 19th century. The ending was a bit dull. Is there a sequel? I still gave it 5 stars.
Jackie Sanderson
I read the first edition published in 1979. It's a long novel that is set in Lowell, Mass in the mid-1850s. The main character is an Irish woman who works in the textile mills. It's a great historical treatment of what life and working conditions were like then. One of the most unforgettable stories I've ever read.
Sep 07, 2007 Marie rated it liked it
After months, nay years, of reading Harry Potter books, it was nice to read a book written for adults. This was a book recommended to me by a friend. It's a very well written and engaging book about the turn of the century (Well, two centuries ago) and the rise of the factory industry. It's compelling and enticing. Well written and intriquing.
Kota Alexander
Sep 14, 2016 Kota Alexander rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. It helped me realize how much of America's literary, spiritual, educational , religious, intellectual and industrial history took place in New England but more specifically in Massachusetts. America has a lot for which to thank Massachusetts.
Jeannie Kilburn
Mar 21, 2016 Jeannie Kilburn rated it liked it
Interesting story of young women working in the mills in Lowell, MA and other cities in MA. in the 1800's. Tough way to make a living. This story takes a lot of twists and turns not even straying from Lowell. Take a while to get into it. I would have cut out many details.
Mar 01, 2011 Pat rated it it was amazing
Call the Darkness Light is one of my favorite books. The story of a woman making her life alone in that era affected me profoundly. All workers, but especially female workers, struggled just to survive.
Sep 01, 2014 Victoria rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. Fact filled historical fiction about the Lowell Experiment and the life of women working in the textile mills.
Mar 13, 2013 Marguerite rated it it was amazing
Nancy Zaroulis is one of my favorite authors. She writes now as Cynthis Peale. This book is similar to The Darling Girls of Lowell (I have to read this too).
Jun 20, 2015 Judy rated it liked it
A long read but this story paints a picture of what life would have been like for a female in the early 1800s. Lots of details about that time period.
Jan 15, 2010 Pamela rated it really liked it
I read this book many years ago and thought it was a good story of what it was like to be a worker in New England mills..
Nicole Gust
pretty good book about the life of a young woman working in the mills, falling in love and then being a single parent.
Elisa rated it it was amazing
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Nancy Zaroulis aka Cynthia Peale is the author of Call the Darkness Light and The Last Waltz, among other successful novels. She lives outside Boston.
More about Nancy Zaroulis...

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