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Posted November 3, 2014
A Review - The Porter’s Wife by Lisa Brown
Through Goodreads, I received a copy of The Porter’s Wife by Lisa Brown in exchange for an honest review.
The Porter’s Wife is a well written love story beginning in 1901, set near Manchester, England. The historical picture of the common worker in the factories during the early 1900s is well painted by the author in which one can only imagine the life that was endured. “He shoveled coal into the ovens.” “His eldest son ............. carted away factory waste and sewage.” “Mr. Arbuckle, a large man with an angry disposition, a man who respected no one. His laborers worked under continual threat of abuse, both physical and verbal.” “The courtyard was overrun with filth and communal cesspits.”
This is the story of kind, thoughtful, loving, gentle Sarah, a pillar of strength. It spans her teenage years, her love for and marriage to Thomas, the birth of several children, the early death of her loving husband, the nurturing and caring of five young children, the immigration to Canada and finally the letting go of a life and the memories of England which then enabled her to love again. The story takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster encompassing joy, anguish, love, compassion, sorrow and tragedy.
The several other characters in the story just so naturally evolved. William and his sister Eleanor, who was Sarah’s best friend, were fountains of kindness and benevolence, with no discriminatory thoughts of the ‘have’ and ‘have nots’ of that society. Sarah’s children were strong and loving - a true reflection of their loving home and family life.
One criticism I have is that the tone of the story changed dramatically following Sarah’s immigration to Canada. In England, life was hard, cruel and tragic. In Winnipeg, Canada, life seemed just too easy. Perhaps the author intended that change in feeling for the reader but I found it to be somewhat disconcerting as I expected some hard challenges in this new land which simply did not happen.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Porter’s Wife and I would recommend it as a very good read, especially to those who enjoy historical fiction.
Posted June 11, 2014
Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
The Porter’s Wife is a story of family. Lisa Brown writes a novel describing human strength and perseverance. Sarah Berry is a devoted wife and mother. The story unfolds during the early 1900s in England. Poverty and disease ran rampant. Smoke and ash from the factory filled the air, making everything filthy; life was barely tolerable. Young and old worked very hard and long hours for very little wages. It was a time when many married for convenience, very few for love. Traditions were not to be challenged; they were the way of life. “Familiar was comfortable, even if familiar was not always pleasant.” Hardship was inevitable to life; it was up to the individual to “seize the moment” and to find their own personal happiness. Sarah lived her life as a prisoner of her own circumstances; would she find freedom from her despair and heartache? With faith as her guide, she and her children set sail on a great adventure to discover life in the unknown.
The Porter’s Wife is not only artfully written, but historically authentic. The feel, the sights and sounds of old England flowed through every description. The plot would seem reliable, almost predictable, and then to the reader’s delight or sorrow, the author would cause you to dive into an unexpected event, triggering a dramatic change in the plot. Lisa Brown brought to life the voyage across the rough seas. You could feel the ups and downs of her characters’ stomachs and emotions. The development of the main characters arced as they reached the peak of their personal conflict. Not only were they described to you, but the author enlightened you with the thoughts and inner conversations of the characters, making them genuine. I found the love story within the story painfully realistic for the era. The ending gave the story a feeling of a happily ever after... which was a relief after a tale of such heartbreak and despair.
Posted June 11, 2014
Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite
The Porter’s Wife by Lisa Brown is set in Manchester in 1901. Following the death of her husband, Sarah struggles to survive with her five children. Eventually she builds up a protective wall around herself, not letting anyone in. To make ends meet, her eldest daughter, Margaret, takes a job as housemaid to the local factory owner, but suffers at the hands of the mistress of the house. Tragedy strikes, leaving Sarah with a decision to make and, having made up her mind, she moves to Canada to live with her brother. Nothing can prepare for her for the trials of the journey on a steamship and she is faced with regrets and fear, along with severe doubts about whether she is doing the right thing or not. Luckily for Sarah, it is all worth it when she finally makes a new life for herself and her family in Canada, a life that she never dreamed she could ever have.
The Porter’s Wife by Lisa Brown was a good novel, well written and clearly well researched. The characters fit the story and the plot was written in a way that was smooth and detailed without too much in the way of frivolous unnecessary detail. I did enjoy the book, but I must confess to struggling with it to start off. However, once I got into it, I followed the story through to its conclusion. I understand there is another part to the story and would very much like to read it.
Posted June 11, 2014
Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers' Favorite
Deplorable living and working conditions, low pay and diseases are just a few things the lower classes endure in Manchester, England. These attributed to Thomas Berry’s death and his grieving widow, Sarah, finds herself struggling to survive with five children. She’s a talented dressmaker who earns money sewing for her best friend, Eleanor, but it is not enough income. Sarah’s three oldest children quit school and get menial jobs to help support the family. When tragedy occurs, Sarah reluctantly decides they must relocate to make a better life. However, adapting to changes doesn’t come easily to her. She also has suitors, but The Porter’s Wife is not ready to stop mourning her beloved husband. Does she want to?
The Porter’s Wife by Lisa Brown is a sentimental drama which shows how a deeply impoverished family prove that love and strong family values make a much happier home than those who are miserable in their wealthy surroundings. The author wrote a wonderful book with historical facts that made the plot more convincing to the era. Her characters were also realistic with good flowing dialogue and emotions. What I liked when reading this book was how Lisa Brown was able to draw me into the plot with her very detailed writing, which was interesting from the beginning to its satisfying closure. Another attraction was the nice book cover. The Porter’s Wife was certainly a most enjoyable story which I recommend reading.
Posted March 4, 2014
Really enjoyed the characters and how they evolve in this story. I'll admit it...I cried :-). Descriptions of life in Manchester at the turn of the century are really vivid. Really enjoyed this story...great read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.