Day 985: That Lass o’Lowrie’s

Cover for That Lass O'LowriesThat Lass o’Lowrie’s is Frances Hodgson Burnett’s first novel, written in the style of Realism. It is set in a Lancashire mining town and features a lot of Northern dialect.

The lass in question is Joan Lowrie, a miner’s daughter. She is a tall, strong, proud woman who has survived years of abuse at the hands of her father. At the beginning of the novel, she dresses partly in men’s clothing and works in the mine as a pit girl.

She attracts the attention of a young mining engineer, Derrick, and his friend Paul Grace, a curate. Later, Derrick finds her injured by her father and helps her, after which she promises to pay him back for his help. When Derrick has a dispute with Lowrie, who would like to revenge himself by ambushing Derrick, she follows Derrick home in the dark every night to protect him.

Grace himself is in love with the rector’s daughter, Anice. But Paul Grace is small and unprepossessing and doesn’t hold out much hope. He also has problems being accepted by the miners, who distrust clerics and think he is too small and refined to heed.

This novel deals with the difficulties of the miners’ lives and of their grievances against the owners. Although it sympathizes with them, it’s true that the only bad men in the novel are Lowrie and his buddies, as well as one son of an owner, who debauches a foolish girl that Joan befriends. It is in taking care of this girl’s child that Joan begins to want to learn more womanly ways and arts.

This novel provides some interest, but it is not one of Burnett’s best. The dialect can get old. Unlike the other books in dialect I’ve read recently, the dialect is not confined to minor characters, since Joan is from a poor background (although it’s easier to understand than Walter Scott’s Scottish dialect). The only relief we get from it is from the upper-class characters, Derrick, Grace, and Anice.

Related Posts

The Making of a Marchioness

The Secret Garden

The Perpetual Curate

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5 thoughts on “Day 985: That Lass o’Lowrie’s

  1. Naomi October 20, 2016 / 10:02 am

    I’ve never heard of this one…

    • whatmeread October 24, 2016 / 3:21 pm

      Neither had I, but I bought her complete works.

  2. Helen October 20, 2016 / 1:44 pm

    This sounds interesting, but as I’ve never read any of Burnett’s adult books yet I think I would prefer to start with a different one, maybe The Making of a Marchioness.

  3. Carolyn O October 24, 2016 / 7:24 pm

    I’m thinking about reading The Secret Garden to my son–I remember loving the dialect as a kid–but I wonder how it holds up.

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