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Infants of the Brush: A Chimney Sweep's Story

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4.33  ·  Rating details ·  60 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Infants of the Brush is historical fiction based on Armory v. Delamirie, a 1700s court case before the King's Bench against Paul de Lamerie, a silversmith. In the vein of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, Infants of the Brush is set in a time when London society ignored the ills of child labor. Unlike the gleeful chimney sweeps portrayed in Mary Poppins, climbing boys were fo ...more
ebook, 273 pages
Published November 26th 2017 by Red Acre Press (first published November 18th 2017)
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A.M. Watson Thank you, Stephanie, for taking a chance on my book. I am thrilled that you enjoyed it! I started writing my next historical fiction novel, but it is…moreThank you, Stephanie, for taking a chance on my book. I am thrilled that you enjoyed it! I started writing my next historical fiction novel, but it isn’t a sequel or parallel story. My heart is still a bit raw from writing Infants of the Brush, and I am not ready to tackle the rest of the story yet. However, I am thinking about it. Thank you for your wonderful review. It is one of those good things that matter. (less)

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Beata
Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of a group of underprivileged boys living in the 18th century London and exploited as chimney sweeps moved me deeply …
The novel portrays a group of boys - chimney sweeps - who, by poverty and misfortunes, become actually slaves to a heartless Master Armory for several years, until they grow up too big to get inside a chimney. The poverty is behind the forced separation from family, family that is often impossible to regain even if they manage to free themselves from Armory. Egon Whitc
...more
Peter
Nov 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Servitude
Infants of the Brush: A Chimney Sweep’s Story is a polished, skilfully written book, which is illuminating, riveting and profoundly heart-breaking. A.M. Watson recreates the atmospheric world of 1720s London in a similar style as Charles Dickens. The similarity is reinforced regarding children that eked out a living under harsh and brutal conditions, with nothing more than a bowl of gruel to fill empty stomachs, and a tyrant to answer to.

Egan Whitcombe is just a 6-year-old boy, who is
...more
Lisa
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every time I read about the "olden" days, it breaks me. I'm 55. By now I realize that I should be used to this crap. Yet, I'm always astounded by the monstrosity of humans. Mostly men. How in the hell can people do this? How can you breathe, knowing the harm and agony you've caused? I think this is why I prefer my horror and thrillers. They don't stack up against the true horror that is mankind.
Would I recommend this book?.Yes. But, it will break your heart.
...more
Ann
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was brilliant. It covered the harsh life of children sold into service as Chimney Sweeps during the 18th century. The tasks required of the infants was to climb inside chimneys and sweep out the soot. Sometimes they went in when there was a blockage and a fire was still lit somewhere. The smallest children were the most sought after as they could fit the smallest spaces.

Egan and Pitt are 2 children that fictionalise this story and their characters are so beautifully developed
...more
Margaret Mary
The Infants of the Brush story takes place during the industrial revolution in England. It is set in a period of history where children of lower classes were expected to contribute to working society covering all industries. This book focuses on the plight of chimney sweeps. Most chimney sweeps were sold as apprentices to master sweeps from the age of six, however, some took on children as young as four and exploited them to climb very slim chimneys. In reality, it was more a case of enslavement ...more
Hans
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a moving tale about child labour in the 1700s in London. Egan is a dreamer and very likeable.

Thanks for the recommendation, Peter!
Lori
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I saw this title on goodreads and had to give this book a try. Infants of the Brush: A Chimney Sweep's Story is a historical fiction book. It takes place around 1720 in England. Egan Whitcombe lived with his family until he was six years old. His father died at sea and his mother is destitute. When his younger sister becomes very ill, his mother sells him to a man who keeps little boys to be chimney sweeps. He is treated badly by the owner. The only boy who shows him kindness is Pitt another bo ...more
Susanne
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, netgalley
Thank you to Red Acre Press and NetGalley for a reader's copy in exchange for an honest review.

Over the past months I've read several books about life in Britian just before and during the Industrial Revolution, so I jumped at the chance to read this book. Although this is shelved as "historical fiction", it is clear that the author has carefully done their research and the story marries historical fact with a fictional narrative extremely well. The author creates the atmosphere of the times, an
...more
Paul
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, give-aways
Good read!

I really enjoyed this book! I have read a lot about child labor in the past, so I was not surprised by the injustices and hardships, but I felt for the children in this book. I felt they were well developed, and the story was compelling.
Mrs. Y
Hello everyone! I hope you are excited for a review of something special today. To begin, I was sent a copy of "Infants of the Brush: A Chimney Sweep's Story" from A.M Watson herself, and I want to thank her for such an honor. But, because most of my reviews circle on the e-book copy and scoring, I also purchased the book from Amazon so that I could read one and also make comments on how the e-book reads to someone who didn't buy the physical book.

Let me go into the first impressions, without g
...more
gj indieBRAG
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We are proud to announce that INFANTS IN THE BRUSH: A chimney Sweep's Story by A.M. Watson is a B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree. This tells readers that this book is well worth their time and money! ...more
Stephanie
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is certainly a five-star-reading for me. I will be recommending it to my friends.

I read this book in one sitting. I DID have to put it down, but only because I became claustrophobic during some of the paragraphs. I don't think a book has ever made me be claustrophobic before!
I've read a lot of historical fiction, so some of the 'facts' didn't shock me, but Ms. Watson's telling of the events was very moving. The interesting thing was, she didn't go for sappy or sentimental. I think the pu
...more
Lori Peterson
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well researched historical fiction

This is an excellent, well researched book. The author's writing style is that of a well seasoned writer. I love historical fiction. I like to see how the facts match up to the story. It is obvious A. M. Watson did thorough research. The book is engaging. I found it slightly macabre in the details of how these poor children were treated. However, I could not put the book down. I was hoping for some redemption for little Eagan and was relieved that he escaped the
...more
Jim Sullivan
4.0*

Reading a book about child exploitation in England in the 1700's was an eye-opening experience.

The history is extensively researched and it brings to life the environment that young children lived with as chimney sweeps. The cruelty by the masters and peers was shocking and seems inconceivable to us in our modern lifetimes.

It could be a fable like Oliver Twist, if it wasn't based on real events.

The Epilogue and Historical Notes really brings home how barbaric the practices were. Acts of par
...more
Jilly
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
It defies belief that young children could be forced to climb hot chimneys to sweep away the soot but that's exactly what they did not so very long ago! This book is beautifully written from the child's perspective and gives a clear sense of their feelings of abandonment and despair, but at the same time their hope of saving for a future freedom. A very moving book, one I thought about for a long time afterwards. Highly recommended. Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher, Red Acre Press for a ...more
Barbara Dwyer
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Moving

Since Egan's story is based on accounts on record, I found myself believing every word written. Well constructed and definitely a great read.
...more
Billy Buttons
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was entered in The Wishing Shelf Book Awards. This is what our readers thought:
Title: Infants of the Brush: A Chimney Sweep’s Story
Author: A. M. Watson

Star Rating: 5 Stars
Number of Readers: 23
Stats
Editing: 9/10
Writing Style: 9/10
Content: 10/10
Cover: 7/10
Of the 23 readers:
21 would read another book by this author.
16 thought the cover was good or excellent.
23 felt it was easy to follow.
21 would recommend this story to another reader to try.
10 felt the author’s strongest skill was ‘plotti
...more
Karl Holton
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Infants of the Brush is a moving historical drama, where the reader is pitched into London in the 1720s and child labour at that time. The story is evocative and steeped in detail, which is delivered in a lucid and haunting style. The characters go through cold and brutal slavery and you’ll feel like you can touch the poverty. The writing is extremely strong with engaging dialogue, crisp narrative and a striking plot.

AM Watson has written a very fine debut book. Finally, I must mention that her
...more
Maureen
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my, this book! It made me laugh, it made me cry, it was funny, tragic, and then downright unbearable. A very well researched and written story.
D.W. Plato
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heartbreaking and historically accurate. We've come a long ways from when we made children sweep chimneys. Great story; sad with a bittersweet ending. ...more
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A. M. Watson is a teacher, attorney, and author whose soul awakens when visiting libraries, museums, and historic sites. She will always consider Victor, Colorado home.

Infants of the Brush: A Chimney Sweep’s Story is A. M. Watson’s debut novel.

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