The Irish famine that began in 1845 was one of the nineteenth century's greatest disasters. By its end, the island's population of eight million had shrunk by a third through starvation, disease and emigration. This is a brilliant, compassionate retelling of that awful story for a new generation - the first account for the general reader for many years and a triumphant example of narrative non-fiction at its best. The immediate cause of the famine was a bacterial infection of the potato crop on which too many the Irish poor depended. What turned a natural disaster into a human disaster was the determination of senior British officials to use relief policy as an instrument of nation-building in their oldest and most recalcitrant colony. Well-meaning civil servants were eager to modernise Irish agriculture and to improve the Irish moral character, which was utterly lacking in the virtues of the new age of triumphant capitalism. The result was a relief programme more concerned with fostering change than of saving lives. This is history that resonates powerfully with our own times.
Eighteen-year-old Moll Chambers works her fingers to the bone doing all she can to support her family.
With an ailing father and a wayward mother, Moll is the only one who can look after her siblings, Bo and Sissy. But Manchester is an increasingly dangerous place to live, overrun with a ferocious rivalry between gangs of so-called 'scuttlers': young men and women bent on a life of violence and crime. And they have her brother in their sights. Soon even Moll can't protect Bo from the lure of the criminal underworld. Then the scuttlers looked her way.
When she herself falls for the leader of a rival gang, Moll's choices place her and Bo firmly on opposite sides of the city's turf war. With her loyalties now torn in two, and tragedy lurking round every corner, will Moll be able to rise above the conflict and protect those she loves the most? Or will stepping out with a scuttler spell ruin for them all...? MANCHESTER MOLL is an absorbing saga that will tug at your heartstrings, perfect for fans of Dilly Court, Rosie Goodwin and Maggie Hope.