Toil Under the Sun by Vicki Hopkins Publication Date: November 1, 2018 Holland Legacy Publishing eBook; 187 Pages Series: The Leighton Family Saga, Book One Genre: Historical Fiction/Saga Described as hell on earth, Manchester in 1866 was the hub of industrialization in England. Its chimneys rose high above the landscape, spewing out smoke […]
When I started this book, I questioned an author group about writing dialect for the local folks. I’m not sure if you’ve ever read Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South, but she was one of the first authors who gave her characters what is termed a Mancunian vocabulary. Manchester has its way of pronouncing words, and if you read some of her dialects in the book, it can get pretty dicey attempting to figure out what they are saying. Here is a portion from North & South as an example:
‘Hoo’s rather down i’ th’ mouth in regard to spirits, but hoo’s better
in health. Hoo doesn’t like this strike. Hoo’s a deal too much set on
peace and quietness at any price.’
‘This is th’ third strike I’ve seen,’ said she, sighing, as if that was
answer and explanation enough.
‘Well, third time pays for all. See if we don’t dang th’ masters this
time. See if they don’t come, and beg us to come back at our own price.
That’s all. We’ve missed it afore time, I grant yo’; but this time we’n
laid our plans desperate deep.’
Aye, lass, reading bits and pieces of dialogue as such can really be a challenge. Needless to say, I skirted it for the most part by leaving only a few characters who speak slightly less than correct and articulate proper English. Unfortunately, I don’t have the skill to make it more authentic, nor do I wish to burden readers. I will be the first to admit that reading how the Scottish dialect is written is a real challenge for me that takes away my interest in books.
I’ve saved you the pain for the most part and wanted to clarify why I didn’t go down that route to make it more Mancunian in style.
However, there are a few words you may wonder what the heck they mean.
Knobstick – Means someone who refuses to join a trade union.
Zounderkite – A Victorian word meaning idiot.
To add to the fun of British dialects, from Anglophenia, comes this great One Woman 17 British Accents. You might get a kick out of it. Enjoy!
I was born in Detroit, Michigan, and some say I have a Michigander accent. You can be assured, that I don’t have a British accent, but I have fond memories of my grandmother’s voice calling me “love” and talking about a “cuppa tea.” Naturally, like other Americans, I often have trouble pronouncing British locations – especially those shires.
Out of curiosity and because of my foreign tongue, I posted in a group on Facebook where other members live or used to live in Salford and/or Broughton. You’ll discover Broughton is used multiple times in Toil Under the Sun. I’ve been pronouncing it a certain way but wondered if I had it right.
So, thinking it was a simple question, I posted on the Facebook group board the following. “I have a question from across the pond. Is Broughton pronounced Bro-ton or Brow-ton. My phonetic attempt. LOL” OMG – I started a firestorm and at last count forty-seven replies and lots of variations all from people in the United Kingdom. Frankly, after the first twenty responses, I couldn’t stop laughing. Conclusion — never ask an Englishman how to pronounce a location.
When you read the book, you are more than welcome to pronounce Broughton in any of these following phonetic ways. Apparently, they are all right, depending on who you ask.
- Braw as in raw, ton
Well, I think you get the gist. I’ve been stuck on Brow-ton myself, but I probably should shift to Braw-ton.
It’s all about location. In the first book, I have married my characters (William and Mary) at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Prestwich, UK. This church is of great importance to me because my second great uncle was married there and is buried in the graveyard, along with his daughter Annie and his wife, Caroline.
Below are pictures that I took on one of my visits to the location. The church is stunning. It was founded in 1200 and parts of the building date back to 1500. The graveyard is fascinating and beautiful, and I wish I could go back again to visit.
In the meantime, I hope these photographs will help the imagination of readers as they picture the Leighton characters at this location (click to enlarge). As a sideline tidbit, I just discovered that Coronation Street, which is a British soap opera series on ITV, films at this location for church scenes.
I also have scenes at St. George’s in Manchester. My third great grandfather is supposedly buried there, but the church closed in 1984 and was converted into apartments in 2000. To read the history on Wikipedia CLICK HERE. For more fascinating information and modern pictures visit Manchester History CLICK HERE. Below is an old print of St. George’s Church from 1831.
Described as hell on earth, Manchester in 1866 was the hub of industrialization in England. Its chimneys rose high above the landscape, spewing out smoke from the factories. While men, women, and children spun cotton in the mills, bricklayers built the workhouses, warehouses, and terraced residences of the city. They were skilled in their craft but also experts in enforcing the rules of their union demands, hoping to escape the bondage of serfdom to gain a better life.
Born into obscurity and a descendant of men who slung mortar from their trowels as a trade, William Leighton, swore that one day he would rise above his poverty-ridden class. The means in which he chose to climb out the slums differed from his brother, who believed that violence was the only way to bring about change and close the gap between laborers and masters.
The clash of siblings in Toil Under the Sun creates the foundation of family and is the first book in a saga that spans three generations.