A delightful if long read about economic and love life in Victorian times small town England. Henry Little, an inventor struggles against powerful trade unions and a bad guy named Coventry. He is blown up and his house and equipment are destroyed. He is forced to go to America to sell his invention of saw making equipment and make his fortune so that he will be worthy of marrying the beautiful Grace Carden. Meanwhile, Coventry steals his love away.
Upon returning to England, Grace has given Henry up for dead because the vile Coventry stole Henry’s letters before they ever got to her. After much resistance she slowly agrees to marry the rich Coventry upon the very strong urging of her father.
From there the plot turns many times unexpectedly with Coventry the villain continuing to block the union of Grace and Henry. A huge dam break floods the town and cripples Coventry while Henry the hero, rescues dozens of people. I won’t tell you the end but when it finally comes it is good.
The character development is great. One of them the warm hearted Dr. Amboyne has this saying “Put yourself in his place.” which he uses frequently to empathize with others and interpret others’ behaviour. It is an interesting and useful philosophy. There is also the devoted Jael Dence who loves Henry too and Henry’s supportive uncle Squire Raby. Interesting characters abound.
I read this book as it was specifically mentioned in John A. MacDonald the Old Chieftain. It must have been the rage back in 1870. I downloaded it for free and read it on our Kobo. A great read indeed, 4.5 stars out of 5. A little long else would have been 5.