Candle Dark

Afraid of the river gangs and worrying about his Dad, Joshua must decide whether to run for his life, or to stay in Coalport and try to protect his family.

Joshua was nearly eleven and he’d worked down the Blists Hill coal pit since he was seven and a bit. He hated it down there. He hated working in the dark, he hated the rats and the stink of the tunnels, and he especially hated it when the mine flooded and his wet boots rubbed his feet raw. Then on the day that Bradley the horsekeeper gave him another beating so bad he ached all over, he made up his mind to run away and find work on the Severn trows. But what would happen to poor Drummer, left behind in the dark? What would happen to his Mum and sisters if he left them to the mercy of the evil Isaac Whitlock? And how could he sail to Bristol, when his Dad had been set to work in the most dangerous part of the mine? Afraid of the river gangs and worrying about his Dad, Joshua must decide whether to run for his life, or to stay in Coalport and try to protect his family.


Book Reviews


The Industrial Revolution changed the world in broad strokes. More important is how it changed the lives of individuals, like the hero of this book. Children in the labor force then suffered terribly, without a hope for an upward mobility. This book provided a hope for light in a dark dark place.

Susan Kane - Amazon Reviewer.


5 out of 5 stars Wonderful book! I don’t often read ‘childrens’ fiction but this book grabbed me from the start. Carole Anne Carr takes you on an adventure, the book is fast moving and you can feel your heart beating as fast as the characters. Her description of life in by gone days in the Ironbridge Gorge is amazing, you can really see it as it was and how life was like for people in those days. I can’t recommend this book enough for both young and not so young.

Sue Horder-Mason - Amazon Reviewer.


Carole strikes gold dust again, This is the third book I have read by Carole Ann Carr and once again she does not disappoint. Candle Dark takes us through the life of a young child Josh in the Industrial Revolution. We follow his struggle to survive in the desperate poverty and treacherous working conditions of the time. Through Carol’s clever writing we see her fiction bring her characters and this time period to life.You feel as though you are down the pit with Josh and his beloved pit pony, Drummer. You feel Josh’s fear as he tries to escape the cruel and dangerous pit manager Issac Whitlock. You feel his anxiety for his father.You crawl with anguish for Josh’s dilemma – the choice between running away from it all or staying to protect and provide for his family. Candle Dark is an enjoyable book which will inform and educate as well as entertain.

Julie Phillips


5 out of 5 stars Exciting and very moving. Thoroughly enjoyed this book even though it was written as a child’s book I couldn’t put it down. Very well written and extemely moving and I want to read more.

Lizzie - Amazon Reviewer.


Want to find a brilliant children’s book which will encourage them to read while offering historical accuracy? Check out this latest novel. In ‘Candle Dark’, published and written by Shropshire-based author Carole Anne Carr, she has once again used her wealth of experience as a primary school teacher to create a world set against a backdrop of what life was really like for children working in coal mines in the Ironbridge Gorge, Shropshire during the 18th century. This book highlights the hardships of life down the mines for youngsters as it follows the book’s hero, Joshua, on an exciting adventure. Carole has written a novel that will not only engage children but also encourage them to read for pleasure. This publication can be enjoyed by youngsters and adults alike, and offers a valuable teaching tool for those keen to learn more about life in Ironbridge at that time.  I really enjoyed this, it is superbly written and it proved to be very difficult to put it down! Although the characters and events are imaginary, Carole has portrayed the  working conditions and the life of the family living in the Gorge at a time of rapid industrial growth, and as well as being an exciting read, is a wonderful teaching tool for Key Stage 2. The author is at present writing a sequel to Candle Dark, entitledRiver Dark, which has the River Severn and the trows as an integral part of the story.

Sophie Corness


What a wonderful book! Not just for children, this is a gripping read. Only downside is that it is not long enough – and that is never a bad thing to say of a book! I would recommend this book wholeheartedly.

R. Williams - Amazon Reviewer.


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