Mary Barton is the only living child of John Barton, poor factory worker and Union leader in Manchester. He hoped for better for her, so he apprenticed her to a dressmaker, hoping that she could avoid the dreary life of a factory girl. Mary has high ambitions, hoping to snare the attentions of the young Harry Carsons, son of the mill owner, and thereby rise above poverty once and for all. However, because her neighbor and childhood friend Jem Wilson also adores her, and Mary must determine where her true affections lie.
While I can say in retrospect that I enjoyed reading Mary Barton, I really struggled for the first 200 pages. I could not connect to the characters, nor did I find anything in the plot engaging. At about page 200, things start to happen and I didn’t need to force myself to read for the last 300 pages, as I had for the beginning portion.Continue Reading