Author(s): Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
A young orphan goes from rags to riches in this remarkable tale of friendship, love, and adventure at the height of the Industrial Revolution.Like Charles Dickens's beloved Oliver Twist, John Halifax is an orphan. Determined to make his success through honest hard work, he becomes an apprentice to Abel Fletcher, a tanner and Quaker, whose invalid son, Phineas, befriends John as a young boy. Together they embark upon numerous adventures, with Phineas narrating John's noble struggles in business and love. Spanning four decades, the novel chronicles John's improbable rise to industrial fortune and contested marriage to the noblewoman Ursula. On his journey, John must overcome the deep prejudices of an aristocracy that refuses to view him as anything but a simple commoner, no matter his professional achievements or strength of character.In John Halifax, Gentleman Dinah Maria Mulock deftly explores the sweeping transformations wrought by the Industrial Revolution, including the rise of the middle class and its impact on the social, economic, and political makeup of Great Britain as it transitioned from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century.