Lottie arrived in the workhouse when she was three years old and, at thirteen, found a place with a miner’s family to look after three young boys and their invalid mother. Maltreated there, she runs away and finds a Methodist preacher who is prepared to teach her to read and write. Lottie is a bright girl and this chance sets her life on a different course.
The description of the workhouse, and the appalling life that Lottie endures working for Mr Green, the miner, is detailed and credible. The hardships faced by the mining community are explained well, giving the reader an accurate picture. Anyone interested in mining, in late Victorian times, will learn a lot from this saga.
However, the author appears to be writing ‘about’ her characters, not speaking through them; because of this distance they are rather one-dimensional, sounding similar. In Workhouse Lass she hasn’t given them each their own individual voice.
Unfortunately this book does not carry the reader along; it’s just not a page turner. Una Thorne’s many fans will, no doubt, still enjoy this book.