Mary Ann Sate, imbecile.
Publication year: 2019
Media class: Paperback
Publisher: London : Unbound, 2019.
ISBN: 9781783528660 (pbk.) : 9.99
Originally published: 2018.
Tiny, hare-lipped orphan Mary Ann Sate - persecuted for her 'devil's mark' and dismissed as a half-wit - is taken in by Mr Harland Cottrell as a servant in the Stroud Valleys of the 1830s. Living in total obscurity, she dies without leaving a trace, it seems, beyond a single line in the local death register: 'Mary Ann Sate, 9 October 1887, Imbecile'. But Mary Ann was cleverer and more observant than those around her credited and, towards the end of her life, she took up a pen to write her own truth. Set against the upheavals of enclosure and the weavers' riots, we are granted an immersive, domestic view of history, a vivid and poignant account of what it was to live through those times, amid the haunting landscape she so lovingly evokes.
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