Esther Waters by George Moore. Dramatised by Sharon Oakes
Set against a background of gambling and horseracing; Esther Waters is a stirring tale of how a servant girl makes her way in Victorian England.Forced to leave the home of her brutal stepfather, Esther takes a job as a maid at 'Woodview', a country estate owned by a nouveau riche racing family.
Producer/Director Gary Brown
Celebrated author Colm Toibin championed Esther Waters as a neglected Classic for Radio Four's Open Book programme. He encourages listeners to read the novel again because he thinks it has a wonderful story with fascinating characters, a heroine we'll come to know and love, and it's one of those books you just can't put down.
Esther's tale is a slice of Victorian life that is rarely shown; single parenting, wet nursing, divorce, gambling, and religious zealotry. Through her we discover exactly what it feels like to be poor and powerless. The book was banned until Gladstone revoked it, saying it was compassionate, moral and humane; and after that it became a best seller.