Talking Location With author Felix Francis – ST MORITZ
The Song of the Skylark
Genre(s): Fiction, Historical
Era(s): Nineteenth century
Mary Mitchell, nine years old. Draw your straws, gentlemen, and we’ll see who’s to win this prize.”
It is 1842, and this method of assigning parish apprentices has died out, except in North Devon. This story is based on the actual experiences of one such apprentice sent to work on a remote farm.
Mary is fearful of her master’s volatile temper. Despite the comforting presence of her older brother Thomas, she finds the harsh regime hard to bear.
The inspirational preacher, Mrs Mary Thorne, encourages Mary and Thomas to attend a nearby chapel where they are welcomed and taught to read. But as the years pass, and a series of failed harvests make life on the farm even more difficult, the brother and sister take daring action in an effort to change the course of their lives. Their attempt ultimately wins them their freedom, but not before they are brought face-to-face with the heartless judicial system of early Victorian England.
This novel draws on original documents to shine a light on the farming and chapel communities of nineteenth century Devon.
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