What to read after... Dread Wood 28/02/24
The Mermaid in the Millpond
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
Bess thought signing up to work in a cotton mill in the north of England would be a welcome escape from the cruel, austere London workhouse where she'd lived since her Ma died. She couldn't wait to make a fresh start somewhere new.
But the feather bed and roast beef dinners she'd been promised were a lie. Her new reality is fleabites, cold porridge and tales of a monster mermaid. And this time there's no escape as her contract makes her the property of the mill company until she's 21.
As her desperation to break free reaches a peak, so does her fear of the gruesome creature that lives in the millpond. But is the creature really a threat or is it just as much a prisoner as Bess herself?
This gripping, historical mystery is tinged with fantasy elements that contrast with the brutal, daily grind of child labour in an 18th century industrial setting. The miserable, claustrophobic details of Bess's existence are enhanced by striking black and white illustrations.
Presented in a super-readable format, making it accessible to a wide range of readers, this short, engrossing tale contains a surprising amount of historic detail, tense action and emotional heft.