"A Fragile Design" Tracie Peterson, Judith Miller

review by spratt

Arabella Newberry was not only fleeing the life of the Shakers, she wasleaving her father behind her. Her father had forced his wife anddaughter, Bella, to join a shaker community when Bella was 14 years old.Bella's mother died a couple of years later of a broken heart.

Though she loved God, Bella could not embrace the Shaker doctrine thatforces families to be separated and live as though they were not familyat all.

Bella went to work for a new textile factory in Lowell, MA. The year was1831, and New England was becoming industrialized. Young ladies wereleaving their farm homes to work in factories. They lived in boardinghouses owned by the factories.

I am not sure if the author intended, but I see many similaritiesbetween the life Bella left at the Shaker community and her new lifeworking for the factory. The men's and women's boarding houses wereseparate...just like the Shaker community. There was a bell that wokeeveryone at the same time to begin their day of labor...just like theShaker community.

The story is interesting in that we get an insight into the earlyindustrial age. However, there really is not much of a plot. There is alove story, of course, and we see Bella as she learns to trust Godagain...and even men. All in all I found the book a little tedious toread.

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