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The Daring Ladies of Lowell

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  3,773 ratings  ·  681 reviews
From the best-selling author of The Dressmaker comes the warm-hearted and enthralling saga of a bold young woman caught between two worlds-the vibrant camaraderie of factory life and the opulence that a budding romance with the mill owner's son affords-as the murder of her best friend sends shock waves throughout the town.

Determined to forge her own destiny, Alice Barrow j
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Hardcover, 287 pages
Published February 25th 2014 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2014)
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Yvonne (Fiction Books) I did a bit of research about both men and I have to say that, looking at the dates both men started up their respective mill enterprises, Samuel…moreI did a bit of research about both men and I have to say that, looking at the dates both men started up their respective mill enterprises, Samuel Slater was ahead of Francis Cabot by a good few years!(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Sarah-Hope
My love for historical fiction focused on the labor movement began with Denise Giardina’s Storming Heaven. Since reading that novel (almost twenty-five years ago now!), my bookstore radar has led me to other novels treating similar themes. The newest such novel I’ve encountered is Kate Alcott’s The Daring Ladies of Lowell, and it’s a lovely addition to the genre.

You may or may not be familiar with the Lowell textile mills. As a quilter with a love of reproduction textiles (fabrics based on swatc
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Christa
I don't like reviewing books poorly--it makes me a feel a little guilty, since anyone writing and publishing a book is a huge accomplishment. And since I only rate and review books I actually finish, they aren't a whole lot of one-stars in my collection. If I make it all the way through, it has to be at least okay, right?

This book just really didn't do it for me. I was looking forward to it, too, because the synopsis seemed right up my alley--a murder of a "loose" mill girl rocks the small, 1800
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Sharon Huether
I won this free book through Goodreads-first-reads. The author made this story so alive with the dialogue between the mill girls and all the characters in the story. Friends are forever; thats what the author brought out. I felt I was in their presence. The girls that worked in the mill had to fight for reform,health and safety too. This book is movie material. I love the story.
Ann Woodbury Moore
I enjoyed Alcott's first novel, "The Dressmaker," about the Titanic, although parts were exaggerated or unbelievable. Her second story, "The Daring Ladies of Lowell," is set in 1832-1833 in Lowell, Massachusetts, and features young, hopeful, naive Alice Barrow. Alice joins many other women in their 20's and 30's who labor in the cotton mills, desiring freedom from overbearing families and tedious farm chores. She appreciates the independence and income she receives, along with friendships and ed ...more
Pam
I was really hoping for more with this book. I enjoyed the beginning, and looked forward to getting to know the characters better throughout the book, but by the late middle, I was bored. Some of the descriptions of life in the 1830's were very well done, but I also wished that the HISTORICAL part of "historical fiction" was emphasized more, in terms of the characters in the book (the author admits that most of them were made up!)...quite a few scenarios seemed far fetched in this book t0 say th ...more
Pamela
First and foremost, thank you Sharon H. for the recommendation. “The Daring Ladies of Lowell” was a surprisingly engaging read - an equitable blend of historical relevance, characterization, mystery, and romance. Not overly studious but yet not trite and sappy.

I do want to point out, Alcott took extensive creative liberties with time-stamps and factual events. However, it didn't detract from conveying the poor working conditions and dangers common to mid-nineteenth century "mill-girls" and the
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Lyn (Readinghearts)
Mar 18, 2014 Lyn (Readinghearts) rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who like history mixed with romance
Recommended to Lyn (Readinghearts) by: Edelweiss
Kate Alcott's second historical novel, The Daring Ladies of Lowell is set in the town of Lowell, Massachusetts during the 1830s. Lowell is one of the East Coast towns that were famous for the cloth mills that populated the area and were infamous for their "sweatshop" conditions. Alice Barrow is a farm girl who travels to Lowell to begin work in the mill. Once she has found a dormitory with an extra space, she settles in and begins her career as one of the "mill girls".

There were several things
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Julie
The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott is a Doubleday/ Random House publication set for release in February 2014. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Alice Barrow wished to become an independent woman. She leaves her family's farm against the wishes of her father , in 1832 and begins work in the textile industry. Being a "mill girl" proves much more difficult than Alice had anticipated. However, she does make friends with the other
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Susan
The Daring Ladies of Lowell was a great read that brings attention to the working conditions of the mill girls of Lowell. Taking some historical details and making a fictional story featuring characters that the reader comes to care about really makes these horrific conditions more real. Alice moves to Lowell to become a mill girl in an attempt to escape farm life and finds a true friend in Lovey, another mill girl who happens to be a bit wild and unpredictable. This friendship allows Alice to r ...more
Holly Weiss
Alice Barrow leaves home to become a mill girl so that she can send money home to her father and never have to work on a farm again. Quickly she learns this decision will have challenging implications for her life when:

• A ten-year-old bobbin girl cries herself to sleep.
• Alice has no time to wash when 4:30 am wakeup bell sounds.
• Thirteen hour days leave her as crushed as a bug underfoot.
• Alice has to pay a fee to be trotted out on display when President Jackson visits.
• A young girl coughs up
...more
Bookworm
I found The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott to be fantastic historical fiction.
The story is centered around women working in Lowell in 1832 in a mill. I think the Industrial Revolution is a fascinating time period as so much was going on during that time in history.

The main character, Alice Barrow, has left life on the farm with dreams of making her own money and helping her father out. When she arrives at the boarding house where the women mill workers are housed, she is intimidated but
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Vanessa Montês
(...)

Para além da vida dentro da fábrica, vemos também como os tribunais separavam os crimes de mulheres e os dos homens. Como a natureza pecadora da mulher era sempre posta em causa e o homem era sempre o desencaminhado, não tendo culpa alguma do que se passava. Os mais fortes pisavam os mais fracos e os homens, tecnicamente com mais direitos naquela altura, acabavam por conseguir levar a sua avante.

Foi um livro que, apesar de não ser uma obra prima, conta de uma forma direta e simples alguns d
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Emmy
RTC (hopefully)
MissSusie
This was such a great book, it’s not only the story of the ladies that worked at the Lowell Mills but also a murder mystery, fabulously written by the author and fantastically narrated by Cassandra Campbell.

This was a fascinating look at the working conditions of the cotton mills of Lowell, how sick these girls got because the windows were closed and their lungs would fill up with so much cotton they would cough up balls of cotton. How awful is that? Also the machinery isn’t in the greatest cond
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Tara Chevrestt
She would find a way. One foot in front of the other, that would be how she would do it.

1830. When you think of life approximately 30 years before the American Civil War, you think of spoiled southern belles who rarely leave their plantations, let alone work. This was a shock to me, this story. I had no idea women were actually working in mills during this time. But really, I feel silly now for not having realized it sooner. But what happened to the cotton after the slaves worked it on the plant
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Nann
I wanted to like this book because I like the period and the setting. I was disappointed. The author notes that she took some license (story is 1832 but the Lowell Offering was not published until some years later). However, there are other historical inaccuracies such as a reference to a farm tractor (without any qualifier), sending out a posse (the word existed at that time, but would it have been used in Massachusetts in 1832?), and mailing a postcard (earliest known postcard was sent, in Eng ...more
Nora
This book reminded me why I normally dodge historical fiction. I was drawn to this one--like a moth to one of those bug-zappers--by the interesting subject matter. It's based on the actual murder of a mill girl back in the early 1800s, but the writing was meh and the love story was double meh. The characters were a little flat and one-dimensional and the voice of the actress reading it (I listened to a recording) made it all sound really melodramatic. Redeeming qualities: Gertrude Fisk, and the ...more
Liliana Pinto
Este é o primeiro livro que leio de Kate Alcott. E foi um belo livro para começar!

Alice Barrow é uma rapariga que quer independência. E para o conseguir decidiu sair da sua aldeia e começar a trabalhar numa fábrica. É um trabalho duro, com muitas horas de trabalho e pouco descanso. Os únicos momentos livros são passados na sala comum na companhia das colegas. E é aí que conhece algumas mulheres que vão ter um papel muito importante na sua história. Mas é, também, na fábrica que vai conhecer o pa
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R J Mckay
I received this book from Goodreads in exchange for a review.

“The Daring Ladies of Lowell”, highlights the life of the mill girls who are willing to work long, grueling hours bent over looms in hopes of bettering themselves. The mill conditions in the 1830’s resulted in terrible injuries and major health concerns, but there were many who were willing to overlook all of this to find a better life. Alice Barrow is one of these girls. She leaves behind an uncaring father, and heads to Lowell, Massa
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Marti
The Daring Ladies of Lowell is Kate Alcott's new book. This book is based on a true event that occurred in Lowell during the 1800s. The characters and their back stories are the author's imagination filling around the basic facts. The textile mill industry with the mill system allowed for large numbers of young girls to work in the mill and live in boarding houses nearby. The girls ran more than one loom at a time and were constantly on their feet in dangerous conditions. Through this story line ...more
Marilynn Mullen
I really loved this book as I grew up in Manchester, NH which also had cotton mills along the Merrimack River. I'm familiar with Lowell, MA and have been in the old mill buildings that are now apartments. But I'm happy to report my book group also loved the book. They felt it was a good mix of history, characters, events and a romance to top it off. We had a lot to talk about.
Suze
I always enjoy reading novels about women who are strong and brave, no matter where or when. In this book, the leading character, Alice, is a lowly mill worker in Lowell, Massachusetts. She shares her sad background with many of her young female workers, many of whom came to change their lives by earning a living on their own.

I admired all of them for having the courage and grit to persevere in spite of the awful working conditions in the mills. They wanted to change their lives and endured lon
...more
Diane Barnes
The setting of this book was 1832. Pretty sure tractors and wristwatches were not around at that time. If you're going to attempt historical fiction, do some research.
Melanie Edens
I love to read historical fiction about the struggles of the early textile workers, such as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory history. Lowell was one of the first cotton cloth mills, and the working conditions were as horrendous and dangerous as those in Triangle. This novel is based on true events, and the characters seems like very real women. It's difficult to read about the health and safety issues, but a few brave women made a difference and reforms were made. The novel is a love story as wel ...more
Sara
Alice leaves her home in the 1830's to move to Lowell and become one of the "mill girls", making her own living by working in a factory. There, she's given a bed to sleep in and quickly makes friends with the other girls working at the factory and living in her dorm, but she also quickly learns that although the factory promises independence and money, it's also dangerous. There are accidents working on the equipment, the air isn't good for their health, and the owners don't seem interested in a ...more
Kate
I decided to read this because I am currently working for a textile conservation firm with offices in one of the old mill buildings in Northern MA. I thought the subject and setting of the book sounded perfect for me and intriguing. I also hoped it would shed a bit of light on what shaped the spaces I now inhabit. Coming from a bestselling author, perhaps my expectations were too high. To echo another reviewer of this book, I hate giving poor reviews, "since anyone writing and publishing a book ...more
Karyl
Having lived in Rhode Island for a few years, and traveled about Massachusetts, I am familiar with the sight of old, hulking mills that dot the landscape still. Some have been turned into office or living space, while others have simply been abandoned. I was looking forward to this book to remind me of a place that I miss dreadfully, and I enjoy reading about how women fought against the status quo throughout history.

Unfortunately, this book just didn't deliver. For one thing, a lot of it felt f
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Sandy
Take a true-life murder mystery. Blend with a standard romance plot. Shake in a pinch of labour unrest. Simmer a while. Voilà - a hearty spiced-up stew of a story.

The death in December 1832 of Sarah "Lovey" Cornell, a young woman who worked at the cotton mill in Lowell, Massachusetts, is the real-life mystery. Lovey's fictional co-worker, kindred spirit, and best friend, Alice Barrow, is dedicated to uncovering the truth about Lovey's death and becomes entwined with the mill owners, the Fiske fa
...more
Carol
The Daring Ladies of Lowell: A Novel by Kate Alcott was an even better historical fiction story than I had hoped for! The moment that I saw "Lowell" in the title of this book, I knew that I had to read it. A few years ago, I made a visit to Lowell, Massachusetts and went on a tour of a mill and saw the many dormitories where the women lived. I have always wanted to know more about the women.

Alice Barrow comes to Lowell to work at the mill in 1832. She says because she wants to help her father to
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Amy
If you grew up in Massachusetts like me, you likely went on a Lowell Mill tour at some point during an elementary school or junior high field trip. I went twice because when my Aunt and cousins visited from Texas they wanted to go. While you rode on a boat along the Merrimack River listening to a guide speak about girls and young women leaving their families from all over New England to work at the Lowell mills it was easy enough to disassociate from it yet dreadful to think about the harsh cond ...more
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Cranbury Public L...: July 22 - The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott 2 5 Jul 13, 2015 01:10PM  
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Kate Alcott, a pseudonym for author Patricia O'Brien, was a newspaper reporter in Chicago and covered politics in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of the University of Oregon, is married, and the mother of four daughters.
More about Kate Alcott...
The Dressmaker A Touch of Stardust La ricamatrice di segreti

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“I like my life now," she said. "I don't need it to change."
"But it is changing," Benjamin Stanhope said, "None of us can hold things where we want them to be. It is all slipping and changing, Alice.”
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“Children should have some warning, some way of knowing it was dangerous to look out at the world with unguarded pleasure. But who would want to tell them, to deprive them of those few moments of blissful ignorance that would have to last a lifetime?” 3 likes
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