Author: Elizabeth Gaskell
Date Started: August 10, 2014
Genres: Fiction, History,
My Rating: 4
Good for ages: 16+
Ruth Hilton is a young orphan girl working as a dressmakers apprentice in a small town. She meets and unconsciously impresses Mr. Billingham, the young heir of a wealthy family in the town.
They begin spending time together but when Ruth’s employer sees them she is angered and dismisses Ruth. Mr. Billingham takes Ruth to a small town in Wales where they stay until Mr. Billingham falls ill. When his mother comes to take care of him Ruth is pushed to the side. As soon as Mr. Billingham is able to be moved Mrs. Billingham takes him home leaving Ruth at the inn.
Mr. Benson, a crippled, dissenting minister prevents Ruth from committing suicide and takes her to his home back in England. He and his sister Faith Benson take care of her and help her to get a fresh start under the guise of being a widow who is with child.
The story follows her as she tries to raise her son away from her guilt and shame within her fresh start as a governess.
The book deals with illegitimacy and the shame with which it was considered in the victorian era. The author makes the point that some fallen women could be redeemed if given another chance and a fresh start. Also that the children of illegitimacy were not to blame and they suffered more than necessary for it.
I enjoyed the book a lot and appreciated the change and redemption in Ruth, and the compassion of the minister and his sister.
My Favorite Quotes: