THE RAPE OF THE ROSE

Like this English author's The Antique Collector (1991), another darkly original novel, this one set among the infernal mills of newly industrializing Yorkshire during the hapless, scattered, Luddite worker rebellions, circa 1812-16. Above the horrendous cruelty, stupidity, and bubbling ambition among people of all castes struggling to cope with a new age, Hughes, here, skims off an improbable love affair between a schoolmaster/weaver doomed to inconsequence and a dying, redheaded, desperately coping prostitute. The workers' raid in honor of ``King Ludd'' has failed; and Mor, always suspect because of his (potentially subversive) learning, leaves his village and the starving family he cannot save—his wife (forever frozen in dry fear), one son already crippled by the mill, and the nine-year-old Edwin, already a dawn-to-dusk factory sacrifice—and finds Mary, with whom he trades guilty secrets. With betrayal a sport as well as a livelihood (a so-kind elderly couple turn in Edwin and Margaret, two abused escaping factory waifs), the lovers ``can't betray each other.'' Mor's trek with Mary among soldiers, a mill owner, and a cynical general is through dangerous waters, while the savagery of child abuse, the stranglehold of petty officials on the poor, and a feral injustice set the pace. Finally, all are betrayed—by their innocence, by the times. At the close, Mary, pregnant by Mor, presses on to what she visualizes as her own peaceful valley (after sending little Margaret off to what she hopes will be an elegant life in her old whorehouse), and Mor, his immortality gone when his manuscript of grievances is burnt, is forced into the army. And the Revolution? ``For one who suffers, 'opes. And one who 'opes, believes.'' Through the pall of man-made misery, Hughes darts the blood red of nature and human love. A bitter, bright, and moving novel.

Pub Date: March 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-671-72516-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1992

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THE QUILTMAKER'S GIFT

A sentimental tale overwhelmed by busy illustrations and rampant pedantry. A gifted quiltmaker who makes outstanding quilts never sells her wares, but gives them away to the poor. A greedy king so loves presents that he has two birthdays a year, and commands everyone in the kingdom to give him gifts. Everyone brings presents till the castle overflows; the king, still unhappy, locates the quiltmaker and directs her to make him a quilt. When she refuses he tries to feed her to a hungry bear, then to leave her on a tiny island, but each time the quiltmaker’s kindness results in her rescue. At last, the king agrees to a bargain; he will give away his many things, and the quiltmaker will sew him a quilt. He is soon poor, but happier than he’s ever been, and she fulfills her end of the bargain; they remain partners forever after, with her sewing the quilts and him giving them away. The illustrations are elaborate, filled with clues to quilt names. A note points to the 250 different quilt names hidden in the picture on the inside of the book jacket. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-57025-199-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1999

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THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS EXPLORES THE SENSES

The way-off-road vehicle (The Magic School Bus and the Electric Field, 1997, etc.) tours the ears, eyes, nose, and skin when the assistant principal, Mr. Wilde, accidentally shrinks the school bus and the children on board, commandeering it to deliver a message to Ms. Frizzle. The vehicle plunges into the eye of a police officer, where the students explore the pupil, the cornea, the retina, and the optic nerve leading to the brain. Then it’s on to other senses, via the ear of a small child, the nose of a dog, and the tongue of the Friz herself. Sidebars and captions add to the blizzard of information here; with a combination of plot, details, and jokes, the trip is anything but dull. The facts will certainly entice readers to learn more about the ways living creatures perceive the world. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-44697-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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