Far From Home by Berlie Doherty

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Far From Home by Berlie Doherty

Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Rebecca Pearson
Reviewed by Rebecca Pearson
Summary: The companion novel to Berlie Doherty's bestselling story Street Child kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time whilst reading. It tugs at the heart strings as the book goes in to detail about how Victorian mill girls spent their days working in horrific conditions and being subjected to little food and education.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: January 2015
Publisher: Harper Collins
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0007578825

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Lizzie and Emily Jarvis can no longer be in the care of their mother as she has become severely ill. She leaves them in the care of her best friend, a cook, but when things go wrong, the girls are sent to the mills where they are worked each day till they are beyond exhausted and the only thing that keeps them going is counting down the days till they are able to leave.

Having also been separated from their younger brother, Jim, the girls have to learn how to live their lives not knowing whether he is dead or alive, and not knowing if they will ever see him, or their Mother again.

The girls are made to work in awful conditions from the very first day they arrive at Bleakdale Mill. From the cotton machines to the mill owners, there is danger lurking in every corner and it is only a matter of time before Lizzie is engulfed in the danger and has a life-threatening accident. Having promised each other that neither of them would leave the other behind, Emily is distraught when she finds out her sister has gone to live with Miss Sarah, the mill owner's daughter. It is only when Lizzie starts to feel better that her memory comes back and she is finally reunited with her sister.

I thoroughly enjoyed how beautifully and evocatively written this book is: it has left me wanting to know more about what comes next for the girls, what comes next for Jim, and will they ever be reunited as siblings. Hopefully Berlie Doherty will write a sequel so all unanswered questions will finally be answered.

The book in general has quite a dark overtone with characters being beaten for their actions, loved ones dying or going missing, and young children plotting revenge against the adults but the story helps to understand what it was like for young, orphaned children in the Victorian era who had nowhere to go but to the mills to work for very little money to try and build a life for themselves. It made me, as a reader, feel as though I was there in amongst it all and experiencing what the characters felt and went through. The story had a relatively happy ending but will keep readers wanting more. It is well worth a read by both adults and children as there is a lot to learn, especially about how drastically things have changed over time.

One book I would definitely recommend would be Street Child by Berlie Doherty as it tells the story of Lizzie and Emily's younger brother, Jim and allows the reader to know his story and what happened to him while the girls were working in Bleakdale Mill.

Buy Far From Home by Berlie Doherty at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Far From Home by Berlie Doherty at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Far From Home by Berlie Doherty at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Far From Home by Berlie Doherty at Amazon.com.


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