In Leen Times A R Dance continues the story from Narrow Marsh of William and Abigail Daniels. The Daniels are married with a successful business and their adversary, the wealthy Sir Josiah Sidmouth has been transported to Van Diemen’s Land. Life is looking good but …
Industrial Revolution and Social Unrest in 19th Century Nottingham
The nineteenth century was a time of great opportunity and changes in society but it also brought social unrest. The ordinary man and woman had rising expectations and wished to share in the growing prosperity. At the same time many who held power wanted to hang on to their privilege; sometimes at any cost. But times were changing.
In this context the Daniels typify the social mobility that new technology was bringing but they, William especially, did not lose sight of their roots. His rise and especially his marriage to Abigail had created resentment, even vengefulness, in the mind of Sir Josiah Sidmouth. Sdimouth's time as a convict in Australia had nurtured his obsession and he was plotting his return and revenge on the Daniels.
Abigail’s brother had never accepted William and he remained a friend of Josiah Sidmouth.Together they worked to return Sidmouth back to England to resume his privileged life. In the British Empire of the nineteenth century wealth and title opened doors and undermined justice. Sidmouth was not afraid of using such powers to get back home and to continue his vendetta.
History and a Good Yarn
Although Leen Times will stand alone as a storythe reader will benefit from, having read Narrow Marsh first. The main characters are more fully developed in the first book but that does not detract from the tale. Alan Dance does an excellent job of making the reader care about what happens to his characters.
The story moves along at a good pace and the historical context is well developed without getting in the way. For the reviewer who grew up and is now back living in Nottingham many of the historical locations are recognisably based on buildings and places that still survive.
Some readers may be a bit picky about some minor points of writing style, or editing, but they do not intrude even for this rather pedantic reviewer. Leen Times is a more polished piece of writing than Narrow Marsh which itself was a good tale. Leen Times does Alan Dance’s undoubted talent as a story teller justice.
Leen Times will have a special appeal to readers who know Nottingham but readers elsewhere should not see it as merely a local tale. It represents the Britain at a time of major political and social upheaval and similar stories were repeated all across the country. It is a good read with a realistic setting and as such, it should appeal to all readers of historical fiction.
Leen Times (2011, ISBN: 978-0-9558133-1-3) by A R Dance is published by Arundel Books at £7.99.