Wildflowers, The First Story in the Orphan Train Trilogy.
When Hillary's widowed mother, Laura, begins a relationship with Biff Arley, a stranger who frequently comes to town, Hillary is concerned that her father is being forgotten. Laura, while still in love with her deceased husband, fights guilt when she finds herself falling in love with Biff. When equally committed to their love, Biff returns for Laura and Hillary, hoping they'll start a new life with him in Galena, Illinois. He is devastated by what he learns on his return.
When he believes the time is right, mill owner, Frank Dragus, approaches Hillary with an offer she cannot refuse. When Kate Moran, Frank's secretary and Laura's best friend, learns of this, she confronts Frank and makes him pay dearly.
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Wildflowers is a riveting tale that deftly portrays everyday life in a small American milltown and the abuse of child laborers at the end of the nineteenth century.
Eleven-year-old Hillary Cook and her widowed mother, Laura, must both work to survive. Hillary works twelve hours a day, six days a week at the Alton Textile Mill. On Sunday afternoons, she and her two friends pick flowers, dream and play pretend in the nearby countryside. The girls pledge to be friends for eternity and call themselves "wildflowers."
In this difficultworld, innocent children are forced to operate dangerous machinery at the mill and even darker abuses are committed against them. Mill owner Frank Dragus has young girls sent to his office for whatever he pleases--and he is interested in Hillary. When tragedy befalls Hillary and her mother, Hillary is forced into a situation that may have disastrous consequences.
From busy factory floors and bustling portside pubs to tragedy, murder and intrigue, Wildflowers integrates the nostalgia of historical fiction with the wit of modern-day drama.
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