Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Mrs Engels

Fascinating piece of historical fiction, Mrs Engels. And what better subject than an illiterate woman who was the lover of a very famous man! Lizzie was an Irish mill worker in Manchester. The mill was owned by the Engels family, and Friedrich Engels, the son, was sent to Manchester to learn his family's business. He became interested in the plight of the workers, became the lover of an Irish mill worker, Mary, and after she died, he started a relationship with her sister Lizzie.

In this book, we see the world through Lizzie's eyes, the Manchester where she was a young working woman, the London where she mixed with Engels' friend and fellow philosopher Karl Marx and his family.

A wonderful story of an outsider, who got herself into the ultimate insider position, and what she thought of it all. Of course, as she couldn't read or write, there are very few records of what she actually thought, but the Lizzie that's been created by Gavin McCrea is a likeable character, warts and all.

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