Author: Malcolm MacDonald
Title: The World from Rough Stones
Description: Nora is running for her life when she encounters John Stevenson who is working on building one of the first railroads in England. He quickly realizes that her quick mind and head for figures will benefit him, and decides to marry her. This is the story of how they build a mile-long tunnel, handle strikers, interact with their employees and their employers, and raise themselves from desperate poverty to comfortable middle-class prosperity.
Review source: it was free on kindle
Plot: Normally I would have no interest in a book about building a railroad, but this one captivated me. I appreciated the depth of research the author must have done in order to have the familiarity with detail that he did.
Characters: John and Nora were extremely sympathetic protagonists who I found myself rooting for. Their friends Walter and Arabella Thornton provided a look at what their lives might have been like if they had weaker characters.
Writing style: MacDonald uses quite a lot of dialect, which didn’t bother me but might bother some people. He balanced character development with historical detail in a way that I found just about ideal. This was a book that I found myself surprised to be impatient to get back to every day.
Audience: Historical fiction buffs, especially those interested in nineteenth-century Britain, railroads, or industry.
Wrap-up: An unexpected delight. 5/5*