In a small Warwickshire market town in the mid-eighteenth century, one ruthless man holds a whole community in his power. Landowner and hatting entrepreneur, Abraham Blunt, is determined to enclose the open fields and deprive the freeholders of their livelihood, and the cottagers of their rights of common. His daughter, Susanna, is in love with her father’s arch rival, Joseph Wilding, a part-time preacher, who is leading the campaign against enclosure. Wilding is set to win when the powerful libertine, Sir Edward Remington, decides to join him. But Blunt holds the trump card and very soon Susanna is traded in marriage.
Hatters’ Town paints a vivid picture of the realities of life in provincial England before the industrial revolution. Inside cottage workshops, men slave for hours over a steaming cauldron to make a single wool felt hat. The story moves swiftly between Warwickshire and London, where master hatters make fur felt hats for the nobility, and then to the high society of Paris. It touches on the lives of the richest and the poorest, sweeping through great houses, garrets and gaols in the tradition of the classic realist novel.
As an e-Book, Hatters’ Town was named one of the five finalists in the e-Book section of the 2016 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
Judy Vero is a local historian. She read English at the University of Birmingham and took an MA in Historical Studies at the University of Leicester, where she based her thesis on the Warwickshire hatting industry. She has published books and articles on hatmaking and the history of Atherstone, where she now lives. Hatters’ Town is her first published novel.
Published: 2 December 2016