Daughter of the Loom

Written by Judith Miller Tracie Peterson
Review by Eileen Charbonneau

The textile factory town of Lowell, Massachusetts at the dawn of the American Industrial Revolution is home to twenty year-old Lilly Armbruster, but it’s no longer the agrarian society she grew up loving. Her father sold the farm, her brother wasted all the money, so Lilly becomes a mill girl bent on vengeance. Standing in the way are her feelings for her once-betrothed Matthew Cheever, who now has a fledgling position at the mill, her growing affection for her boarding house proprietress and fellow workers, and her Christian principles.

Although admirably researched in its details and plot, Daughter of the Loom suffers from protagonists who manage to be self-righteously brittle and ineffectual at the same time, mounted against scheming villains who can hardly stop short of twirling their mustaches. Multiple viewpoints serve only to retell scenes without illuminating anything new. Anachronisms and clichés abound, and one gets the idea that a good, honest, heart-to-heart talk early on would have cleared the way toward romantic resolution by page seventy.