Rookery Mill (1886) by Mrs. Jagger

Rookery Mill is a 1886 novel written by Mary Anne Jagger (1849-1936) née Tilburn of Honley. The book was published by the London Literacy Society.

The Morning Post (27/Jul/1886) published the following review:

Under the name of “Rookery Mill” the author has written an exciting story of the good old manufacturing times when steam was not, but when the jealousy and hatred of ignorant men against inventors, whom they suspected of the intention to “take the bread out of their mouths,” were rampant to a degree now unheard of. In this case the good tight is fought by a young “mill hand,” who, in spite of persecution and treachery, attains the object of his life — the retrieval of the fortunes of the mill which suggested his first dreams of ambition. With some love making and a good plot the interest of this story is above the average.

The Glasgow Herald (31/Jul/1886) and Liverpool Mercury (25/Aug/1886) were less complimentary:

Miss Mary A. Jagger might surely be more profitably employed than in writing such books as "Rookery Mill" (London Literary Society). The story is neither fresh nor interesting, and the style is often absurdly stilted and affected. Its hero is a working-man, whose father was a rioter, his mother a virago, and his brother an incendiary and murderer. He himself is, or course, an embodiment of virtue and intelligence, and comes to the proper reward for these at the end of the book, marrying his employer's daughter, amassing wealth, and entering Parliament. All the unpleasant characters in the novel are killed off in an easy, indiscriminate fashion when their presence was becoming troublesome. There is nothing to recommend in the book, which, although not long, is inexpressibly tiresome.

We are unwilling to discourage a lady in her literary labours, but we cannot congratulate Miss Jagger on this volume. The story itself is very commonplace, although it contains some extraordinary characters, all of whom are speedily killed when their presence becomes troublesome or inconvenient. The hero himself is a monument of virtue, grows rich, marries his employer’s daughter, and becomes a member of Parliament ; but his father is a rioter, his mother is a kind of Meg Merriless, and his brother a murderer. The dramatis personæ, in short, are a collection of extremes, and several of the contrasts are very violent indeed. We regret to be compelled to add that the story is a little wearisome. We would also recommend the authoress to adopt a less affected style. It is frequently very irritating and indeed absurd. Miss Jagger has the ability to make domestic scenes interesting, but she must be a little less ambitious, and be willing to write about homely things in a plain way. In the manner in which they have issued it to the public, the volume has received every justice at the hands of the publishers.