From the cover. . . To be poor in the lean years after 1815 was bad enough, but to be a child and an orphan as well was to find yourself, as the doctor bleakly told the Daker children, at all men's mercy. After their mother's death they were in danger of being packed off as apprentices to the notorious cotton mills of the north, and it was only the sudden arrival of Jonathan in their lives that saved them. Though they had no idea who he was, Jemmy, Matt, and Marth were entirely willing to accept him as their protector. ONly Liz, the most intelligent and mature of the four, doubted whether this fourteen-year-old boy, who had somehow achieved his own independence, would want to burden himself forever with the care of a family.
Jonathan is a dramatic and moving story which also provides a vivid and authentic picture of the life of the poor in potteries, mines, and mills of the early nineteenth century.