Sweepings

of the Street

"Dark, emotionally gripping, highly researched... very impressive."

Twelve-year-old Sarah Lee longs to remain in the golden fields under a starry sky forever, but life has other plans for her. After the bleak spring of 1816 yields meager crops, Sarah’s family flees its home in the English countryside to labor at a textile factory in newly industrial London. A factory accident several months later leaves Sarah’s father out of work and her family desperate for money. Despite the worries of her older brother Thomas, Sarah disguises herself and ventures into a dangerous new job.

Sarah soon learns that life in London is not as simple as it seems. She meets Jamie, a sullen, aggressive boy who helps her adjust to the new conditions. But Jamie has dark secrets of his own, and his reluctance to trust strangers clashes with Sarah’s burning curiosity about his past. As the city creeps towards winter, Sarah and her friends stand face-to-face with the horrors of London poverty—rising prices, rampant crime, disease, and hopelessness—and it becomes clear that not everyone will make it out alive. Everyone has a secret, and the consequences can be more devastating than any of them can imagine.

Set in Regency-era England, this coming-of-age novel delves into the effects of poverty, child labor, exploitation, grief, depression, loss of innocence, and premature responsibility on children and families. Sweepings of the Street delivers a powerful, timeless story against a rapidly changing historical backdrop.

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Local TV Interview, January 2023

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