“Sarah’s Story” by Lynne Francis is set in Yorkshire, England. Sarah lives with and helps her herbalist grandmother while the rest of the family lives in Manchester working in the mills. She dreams of a more exciting life than she has and wants to be with her family. While gathering herbs for her grandmother’s potions, she meets Joe Bancroft, who says he works on the canal. He seems a nice sort and she keeps finding ways to meet up with him. Eventually, she becomes pregnant and he marries her. Leaving her alone for long periods of time, he comes around occasionally and usually just long enough to get her pregnant again. What is his story? Sarah makes all kinds of excuses for him and never questions what he does. Sarah’s life is definitely not exciting but is hard and grinding. She spends her days trying to make enough to feed her family since she can’t depend on Joe to help.
I thought this story was so depressing. I kept waiting for something good to happen. The end of the story was not a feel-good moment at all. I felt very tired just reading about Sarah and her life.