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Book Review for Infants of the Brush by A.M. Watson


"If tears fall while reading this book, or your teeth clench with anger, then you have a heart that feels and empathises with the most vulnerable of society." —-> Check it out online <—-

Reviewed by Peter Donnelly (Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley peter@thereadingdesk.com)

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Infants of the Brush: A Chimney Sweep's Story

Infants of the Brush is historical fiction based on Armory v. Delamirie, a 1700s court case before the King's Bench against Paul de Lamerie, a silversmith. In the vein of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, Infants of the Brush is set in a time when London society ignored the ills of child labor. Unlike the gleeful chimney sweeps portrayed in Mary Poppins, climbing boys were forced up burning flues to dislodge harmful soot and coal ash.

Egan Whitcombe is just six years old when he is sold to Master Armory for a few coins that his family desperately needs. As one of Master Armory's eight broomers, Egan quickly learns that his life depends on absolute obedience and the coins he earns.

Pitt, the leader of Master Armory's broomers, teaches Egan to sweep chimneys and negotiate for scraps of bread. Broken and starving, the boys discover friendship as they struggle to save five guineas, the cost of a broomer's independence.

Read about the Author, A.M. Watson

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The paperback and eBook are available from Amazon®, Barnes and Noble®, and other IngramSpark® distribution partners. The audiobook, narrated by Michael Troughton, is available from Audible, Amazon, and iTunes. 

Editorial Reviews and Awards


“A disturbing but elucidating glimpse into a time and place when, even in a civilized country, poor children’s lives were shockingly undervalued, and their labor exploited. In the author’s skillful hands, though, there is a welcome ray of hope shining through to the conclusion of this haunting saga.” – Chanticleer Reviews  (Read Review)

“A. M. Watson's outstanding, immersive debut portrays the broomers whose hopes hang in the balance. Infants of the Brush is a captivating, emotional story that speaks to the powerful will to survive.” Foreword Clarion Reviews, Clarion Rating 5 out of 5  (Read the Review)

 “The novel is well paced and skillfully plotted with gripping moments of tension…The characters superbly developed, vivid, and realistic...(the)prose is utterly engaging, straightforward, and rhythmic—featuring excellent descriptions of people and places.” Quarter Finalist – BookLife 2018 Score 10 out of 10 (Read the Review)

“Watson's winning novel inspires compassion for these small boys and relief that England's age of forced child labor has passed.” BookLife Prize - 2018, Score 10 out of 10 (Read the Review)

“…This poignant story is well written, readable, and hopeful, offering us a view into another time, authentic in its use of dialect, and well worth the time of readers. A great book. Well done in every way!” Reader’s Favorite, 5 out of 5 Stars  (Read the Review)

Infants of the Brush: A Chimney Sweep’s Story is a polished, skillfully written book, which is illuminating, riveting and profoundly heart-breaking. A.M. Watson recreates the atmospheric world of 1720s London in a similar style as Charles Dickens.”

“Egan is taken under the mentorship of another boy, Pitt, only 13, but with such an amazing sense of maturity and awareness, that in itself reaffirms how short childhood was for these children. Pitt’s character is wonderfully drawn, as are all 8 boys, the group teeming with a range of personalities and traits that enables interesting and compelling dialogue and interactions. It was a pleasure to meet Pitt. You should meet him as well. His principles, emotional intelligence, craft and capacity to care, shines as an example for us all. The transformation of Egan from a totally bewildered tearful infant to a hard-working yet mindful boy is dramatically yet delicately achieved. “The Reading Desk, 5 out of 5 Stars (Read the Review)