1897 and 1905. In 1897 things were engrained in a system. One knew "one's place". Most people were very happy with the arrangement. You were born into an occupation, however hard, however overbearing your superiors you just went on. You lived in the same village, married someone from the same village and the whole pattern is repeated. Once in a while you get a changeling. Someone who questions, who wants a better life or a different life and then things get very tough for that person. Surprisingly the worst was from the family itself who could not understand why you wanted to bring the wrath of your betters on your entire clan, by wanting something better for yourself.
This was the hard part of the book, but was a fact of life in 1897. Josie was a bright spark and with Tommy also within a coal mining family in Yorkshire wanted education, wanted to see what the world could offer other than the mundane. This did not sit well with either family and this story chronicles their life story, their adventures, their search into their ancestry not always with favourable results and their life and happy future.
I loved reading about the various characters of this book, the lifestyle of both the rich and the grindingly poor. Surprising that revolutions did not happen more often given the condition of the majority of the people.
This was history as well as a saga of a village and family.
Sent to me by Netgalley for an honest review, courtesy of Quercus Books.