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Reviewed by Tiffany Ferrell for Readers' Favorite
Toil Under the Sun: Leighton Family Saga Book 1 is the story about two brothers headed down different paths in their lives. William Leighton is a young bricklayer living in Manchester in the mid-1800s. He is caring for his widowed and fading mother, while one brother left with his wife for Australia and the other not caring to help with their mother's increasing needs. After the departure of her oldest son Aaron, to William’s dismay, she began losing her senses and the will to live. William's other brother Hugh is always at odds with him. They have very different beliefs and Hugh has always been jealous that William had an education when he hadn’t, even if it had only been for a few years. Unable to deal with the loneliness and sadness following the death of her husband and her oldest son leaving, William's mother hangs herself so as to no longer be a burden on her youngest son.
Author Vicki Hopkins tells an amazing story about two siblings at odds with one another. It’s very relatable and an enjoyable read. Toil Under the Sun gives the reader the feeling of being from the lower classes, trying to survive and thrive in such a way that you can easily step into William's shoes. I always like learning about pieces of history that I hadn’t before and Hopkins’s book has urged me to research further into Manchester, their bricklayers and how the unions really operated back then. I will definitely be looking out for the other Leighton family saga books! A must-read for fans of dramatic and historical fiction dealing with social issues and family relationships.