Why did I love this book?
The Rape of the Rose is an unforgettable novel that details the horrors of the Industrial Revolution in nineteenth-century Britain. Hughes, also a poet of note, portrays the enslavement of children in those “dark Satanic mills” with disturbing precision, offering his youngest characters shreds of dignity, which life has deprived them of so roundly. He also shows men and women maimed and worked to death by owners intent on extracting every last ounce of their labor. A major figure in the novel is a father who flees a mill and joins the Luddite Revolution. I read this book thirty-five years ago and remember it vividly. It presents the underbelly of the Industrial Revolution—and the ample reasons for the rebellions it triggered.