3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Henry's Mill by Vic Veale is a family saga focusing on the Henry family and their main business, the textile mill. The story spans a century and describes, sometimes more in-depth, sometimes less so, the lives of the main players in the Henry dynasty.
Henry’s Mill is set in Yorkshire, England at the beginning of the 20th Century, in 1903, when the Henry brothers (Abe, Harry, and William) started their new successful textile business after purchasing a run-down mill in the vicinity. Their family business was based on the manual work of making yarn and woolen cloth, and by acquiring the mill, the brothers were hoping to make it more viable in the current times of the Industrial Revolution by replacing manual labor with machines. The mill became successful; however, the family had no choice but try to expand and diversify if they wanted to stay afloat in the cutthroat competitive times. Thus they made long journeys abroad, going as far as the US and China, to find new business opportunities.
The reason why I picked up Henry’s Mill is that I was familiar with the author’s DCI Broadly crime mystery series, so I was curious about his new ventures into another genre. I have to admit, Vic Veale pulled it off quite nicely. There is a certain charm to the fictional biographies of the main protagonists, and you could see the author’s knowledge of the industry shining through the pages, having himself run a textile business for years. We learn about the lives of the Henry brothers and their children and families, going some four generations forward. In addition, we also learn quite a lot about the textile industry and the family’s particular business practices during the two World Wars, and the years after.
Most of the characters are well fleshed out. They have their own lives, worries, sorrows and joys, just like any of us in the real world. I especially enjoyed reading Richard’s story. For me, he seemed the most real of all, maybe because the author gave us quite a lot of details about his life. His romance with Jo was beautifully written, and his later partnership with Francesca touched my heart as well. However, not all characters were described in great detail, and often the story was narrated to us after events had taken place. At times I felt like I was seeing things from a bird’s-eye viewpoint, which left me a bit detached at times.
While the book didn’t have many grammatical mistakes, there were plenty of punctuation errors present, especially regarding the use of commas between two independent clauses. These should have been either followed by coordinating conjunctions, or the commas should have become semicolons. This particular issue came up at least once on every single page in the book. Just one such example: “They had to find niche markets, by going up-market he could see a way forward.” Additionally, some open quotation marks were not closed, and, on several occasions, the period at the end of a sentence was followed by a non-capitalized word (such as “into the adjoining room. the Dyer had”
Due to the reason above, I give Henry's Mill by Vic Veale 3 out of 4 stars and recommend it to people who love reading family sagas, as well as to people who appreciate slower-paced memoirs. But if you only find joy in action-packed novels and adventure stories, you might not find Henry’s Mill all that compelling.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like kislany's review? Post a comment saying so!