Out of the Darkness

Courageous Series

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
400 Pages
Reviewed on 04/11/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lucinda E Clarke for Readers' Favorite

Out of the Darkness by David A Jacinto takes place against the backdrop of 19th-century Britain, set among the Yorkshire coalfields in the north of England. The Wright family has mined coal deep underground for many generations. It is expected that Tommy, on his seventh birthday, will join Pa working as a trapper, pulling on a rope to open and close the doors for the coal wagons pulled and pushed by other children to pass from the coal face to the outside world. There are accidents of course, causing hundreds of deaths, but in the interests of greedy mine owners, many of whom sit in Parliament, safety procedures are not implemented. The landowners own their workers, their homes, and their stores, and in the event of illness or death, there is no compensation and no help whatsoever for families. While Tommy dreams of emigrating to America to start a new life, fate conspires against him. His first great love falls dangerously ill, and he spends a year in the wild to come to terms with his loss. Knowing how to read and write, he teaches himself how to mend and he also invents labor-saving devices, much to the fury of the mine enforcer, a brute of a man who threatens him on more than one occasion. Tommy will need all his wits about him not only to survive but to protect his family.

Tommy Wright is the star of this excellent book. David A Jacinto researched this period of the Industrial Revolution in Britain from his family papers, letters, and diaries years after they had sailed to America in the 19th century. The descriptions of life for the working classes at that time were, in comparison to today, a living nightmare. I would love for the modern teenager to read Out of the Darkness to see how far we have come in less than two hundred years. I bonded with Tommy from the first page. I could feel his pain as he descended deep down into the mine at the age of seven. He’d worshipped his father, imagining it all to be an exciting adventure, but he soon learned it was not. There are graphic descriptions of real mine accidents that occurred and the aftermath. These are so well written that the reader is there, at the scene, experiencing their tragic losses and desperation. Many passages are lyrical especially the descriptions of the scenery and rural Yorkshire, although it was not known by that name in Victorian times. I hope there will be more books about what happened to the Wright family.