Sweepings of the Street
Double J Press (2022)
Reviewed by Kathy Stickles for Reader Views (01/2023)
Sweepings of the Street is a well-written historical fiction novel by Amanda Denney that keeps the reader engaged throughout. It deals with some very painful and real topics, and on every page the author has kept those issues up front and honest without making them or the character completely shamed or depressed.
Twelve-year-old Sarah and her family live in a place where they are safe and comfortable working on a farm. Unfortunately, life throws this family a curve when, after a very hard spring and very few crops being salvaged, they must leave their home and move to London to work in the factories in order to survive. When Sarah disguises herself in order to work in a new, and possibly dangerous job, she meets Jamie, a boy who has his own serious problems in life but tries to help Sarah to adjust, anyway. What follows is a story of crime, sickness, high costs, and bitter hopelessness that comes with a London winter.
The story follows Sarah’s and her family’s journey into a new life which is no better, and actually a lot worse, then the one they fled at the beginning of the story. It is true historical fiction, and it is very well-written. The characters are real to the reader and their struggles to survive and overcome make for a wonderful read as they give us hope for ourselves and for any others out there who have to struggle every day in their own lives. It is a very powerful story.
The historical research that went into Sweepings of the Street is absolutely perfect and the descriptive writing makes the reader feel they are on the streets of London experiencing all the horror right along with Sarah. To me, that is one of the largest compliments that I can give to the author when I feel I am actually brought to the same location as the character and can “feel and see” what they do.
I highly recommend Sweepings of the Street to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. Geared toward middle-grade readers, I believe all who enjoy the historical fiction genre will absolutely devour this book. Learning that the woman who wrote this compelling story is a college-age student simply amazes me. I cannot wait to see what is next for Amanda Denney. This is a young woman that we will be seeing a lot more from in the future and I, for one, cannot wait. 5 Stars!!
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