The Miller’s Daughter
1861, County Durham. When Mary is ten, her father, the village miller, walks out, leaving his wife and four children destitute. Mary’s mother then dies, and the children are cruelly evicted. After weeks trudging the roads through rain and snow, they reach a village where the landlord is a forward-looking philanthropist. The local nuns lovingly receive them in their foundling school. The family thrives under their care, but their happiness is thrown into turmoil when their father and his new and pregnant wife, Francine, appears in the village claiming them. Although Mary is the eponymous character of this novel, it concerns several other families whose lives and loves are intertwined as well as the nuns who care for them all.
This is an absorbing and easy read. My only quibble in this absorbing page-turning read is that young Molly too often speaks like a wise adult although she is only ten when the novel opens, and the nuns are a perhaps little too modern in their outlook.