The Family History
Jean Jardine Miller
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'Johnnie hadn't minded playing toy theatre with them but wasn't going to play with girls outside, so he went and sat beside Grandad who said it was about time they had a man-to-man talk. That's when he said the thing about him and Tommy being his most important grandchildren because they would be the ones to carry the Kentson name on to the next generation of lightermen. Something told Johnnie that it was not the right time to say that he wanted to be a soldier in the cavalry when he grew up...'
The story of Holly and her children, Jamie and Carolyn, a recently bereaved family in contemporary Canada, is juxtaposed on the story of their mid-Victorian ancestors, for whom death is just another part of life, in London's overcrowded communities of river workers.