Call the Darkness Light is the story of a young woman's passion and toil in nineteenth-century New England. It is historical fiction based on the true story of the Lowell mill women, or Lowell mill girls, whose labor powered the American Industrial Revolution.
Like thousands of her sisters, Sabra Palfrey comes to the Lowell textile mills to earn her living, thus taking part in the first chapter of American women's labor history. At the time, the Lowell cotton factories were one of the wonders of the civilized world. As Sabra lives and loves and struggles to survive in the brave new world of the factory town, she meets abolitionists, Ten Hour Movement labor organizers, Shakers, Utopian communities, and families of Irish and German immigration. Reminiscent of Dickens in its richness of character and conflict, fascinating in its detailed portrait of an era, Call the Darkness Light is an unforgettable epic.
There was a lighted candle in the attic room, and a pewter pap-boat half filled with gruel. Its dull gray finish reflected the flame which died and came to life again as the draught blew through the ill-joined boards around the window.
The solitary watcher kept her vigil in a rush-bottomed chair beside the narrow bed. As the night drew on, her head nodded, her eyes drooped shut. She dozed, oblivious to the lash of the autumn gale against the house. And yet some part of her remained alert, for the man lying before her was her father, and she his only kin. She must try to stay awake and hold off Death, who hovered just there, shuffling and stinking in the corner, waiting to claim his own.