Dunne, Jul 2003, 35.95, 320 pp.
In 1908 when she was twelve, Lizzie Kershaw sees her pleasant world end with the accidental death of her father at the brewery he worked at. The family finds different ways to bring in income including two borders, the Harper sisters, who have shared a similar loss of income due to a death. Though young, Lizzie accepts a job as her part to make money. Sam Thoxby takes advantage of the grieving Kershaw and Harper families though he pretends to be a Good Samaritan providing help, but he has hidden agendas. In the case of the Kershaws, he plans to one day marry Lizzie when she is of an age because he likes her spirit.
Over the next few years, Lizzie's mother is mean and viscous towards Lizzie culminating with her forcing her to marry Sam. He is physically abusive so she learns when it is worth the beatings to challenge him. When he goes off to war, she takes employment at a munitions factory where she begins to fall in love with someone else. However, Sam still looms on the horizon and divorce is unacceptable.
This is a strong historical character study that includes a finely developed ensemble. The story line enables the audience to observe life in the first quarter of the twentieth century as Anna Jacobs provides a powerful spotlight. Sam is too sly and devious so that some of the tension between he and a rival upon his return from the war is abated. Still OUR LIZZIE is a tremendous historical fiction that escorts the audience into an up front and close view of life in England almost a century ago.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner