Check out my Mary Barton book summary and review  that I created to help you understand the basics of this great book.Mary Barton is the first novel by the English writer Elizabeth Gaskell, published in 1848. The story is set in Manchester between 1830 and 1840 and addresses the difficulties faced by the lower classes of Victorian England.


Mary Barton book

 Mary Barton book summary

 The novel begins in Manchester, where two working-class families, the Bartons and the Wilsons, live. John Barton has his own views on the distribution of wealth and the relationships between rich and poor. Soon after,

 his wife dies and John is left alone with his daughter Mary to face the adversity of the surrounding world. Already deeply affected by the death of his son Tom, after the death of his wife Barton he becomes depressed and begins to take an interest in trade union organizations.

Mary finds work as a seamstress and receives the affection of honest Jem Wilson and wealthy Harry Carson. Mary hopes to marry Harry Carson and thus ensure a comfortable life for her and her father, but soon after rejecting Jem's marriage proposal, she realizes that he is her true love. She then decides to lose contact with Carson and to show Jem about her feelings for her.

Meanwhile, Esther, Mary's mother's sister, returns after escaping in the past and urges John Barton to prevent her daughter from becoming a lost woman like her. Esther is ignored and ends up in jail for a month for being drunk.

 Upon her release, she makes contact with Jem with the same intentions. Jem promises to protect Mary and confronts Harry Carson under the eyes of a passing cop. Soon after, Carson is killed and Jem is arrested, as his gun is found at the crime scene.

Esther visits her niece and urges her to save the man she loves. Mary realizes that the killer is not Jem but her father. Mary then tries to redeem Jem without involving her father. Mary heads to Liverpool and finds the only person who can give Jem an alibi, her cousin Will Wilson, with whom she spent the night of the murder.

During the trial, Jem notices Mary's love for him. Will testifies in court and Jem is found innocent. Mary's father, overcome with remorse, makes contact with John Carson, Harry's father, and confesses that he is the killer of his son. Carson initially wants revenge, but later forgives Barton, who dies in his arms.

Jem decides to leave England, where his reputation is damaged and it would be difficult for him to find a new job. The novel ends with Mary and Jem in Canada, now married and with children.

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