The Runaway Daughter (The Lancashire Girls, 3)

Written by Libby Ashworth
Review by Cathy Kemp

The third book in the Lancashire Girls series, this is a standalone story set in 1818 which keeps its reader engaged as we follow the plight of the Knowles family. The head of the household, Jimmy, was convicted and deported to Australia following his arrest at a rally some six years earlier. For Jimmy’s wife and three children back home, it has been the parish that has been reluctantly supporting his family.

Now that the eldest daughter Lydia is considered old enough at 14 to be apprenticed to a mill owner, she is indentured to work for bed and board. Her mother Betty is distraught at the prospect of losing contact with her daughter when she has hopes of her husband returning soon when his sentence has been served. However, nothing can be done to prevent the inevitable so Lydia is sent to Caton, where she is bullied endlessly by the girl whose bed she must share. An altercation one Sunday sees Lydia lose her temper, pushing her tormentor into the raging swell of the river. Horrified that the bully has likely drowned, Lydia runs away, determined to make her way back home to her family. Meanwhile, her mother and siblings have finally secured passage to join Jimmy and settle in Australia. With an extra ticket for Lydia left with her next-door neighbour and some money to give to Lydia to catch up, Betty and her other two children set out on their arduous journey with a heavy heart.

You’ll be rushed along towards the next part of this story through the Knowles family’s various challenges, all the while rooting for a positive outcome.