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This Slavery -EC Holdsworth

 This Slavery by Ethel Carnie Holdsworth (Trent Editions).
First published in 1925, this is a radical polemical novel and a key intervention in the history of British working-class writing. Carnie Holdsworth, originally a mill worker, became a full-time writer in the 1920’s.
The action follows two sisters, Hester and Rachel Martin, whose lives are thrown into turmoil when a fire at the mill leaves them unemployed. As the material poverty of their home-life deepens and the young women are forced to confront the difficulties of their economic circumstances, Hester and Rachel make romantic and political choices that will place them on opposite sides of the great class divide.
Initially slow-moving, the novel clearly demonstrates the oppression and unfairness of the workers’ situation, with grinding poverty, and the police and authorities on the side of the mill owners. The story gathers pace in the second part, with the workers demanding a raise while the owners are desperate to complete large orders.
Well worth reading if you are interested in working-class history.

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