JONATHAN by Margaret Lovett


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What begins with the doleful desperation of the impoverished Daker children, ""at all men's mercy"" after their mother's death, picks up momentum after their flight with their self-appointed protector Jonathan -- at 16 an expert in survival on the roads. Jonathan finds the older children work in the mills, while he and Matt (too slow mentally for other work) and an armless runaway they pick up along the road go down into the coal mines. Jonathan preaches that the family's longed for freedom will come only with self-sufficiency and he himself becomes an organizer for the outlawed Union, but just when bleak turns to bleakest with Jemmy Daker's death in a mill accident, Jonathan's message is undercut by the timely sponsorship of Robert Owen -- who takes the consumptive Jonathan into his own home and gives the Dakers jobs in his enlightened factory at Lanark. As an introduction to the bitter lot of children during the early days of the industrial revolution this will pass, but neither stolid Liz Daker nor insular, mysterious Jonathan have enough personality to rise above their functional roles.

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 1972
Publisher: Dutton