SUNRISE TO SUNSET by Samuel Hopkins Adams


Email this review


There's a slender link with Banner by the Wayside (1947) in this new period, regional novel -- a link in one character, Gypsy, who this time takes under her protective wing young Obedience (""Becky""); a link too in the Cinderella theme, though the motivation and the denouement are far afield. Gypsy, the Thalians having broken up, is doing a bit of midwifery, but business is bad so she yields to the pressure of the times (1830) and goes into mill work in Troy, the Eureka Mills owned by staunchly conservative, holier-than-thou Gurdon Stockwell. ""Becky"", her protegee, little more than a child, and an innocent one at that, is the Cinderella of the tale, for Stockwell, passions roused by the abortive attempt of the mill girls to strike, spends his lust on an attack on Becky -- and is so fearful of being found out that he sends her off to school, and- on her return, ""finished"" according to the times, he marries her. The marriage is a farce. Becky from her first glimpse of Guy, Stockwell's cousin and business associate, has loved him, but not until it was too late did she know what love could mean. It takes adultery on Stockwell's part, violent death and a murder trial, and his own death by an assassin's bullet, before the checkered course of romance finds its happy ending. So much for a cardboard-thin and contrived plot. The value of the book, such as it is, lies in the industrial portrait of a period when capitalists fought for the ""sunrise to sunset"" hour scale, felt the 12-hour day a menace to society, and used shanghai measures to entrap their workers. Troy and the start of the collar business (in the 1830's) is a unique background for a second rate story.

Pub Date: May 26th, 1950
Publisher: Random House