Publisher: David Fickling Books
Publication Date: 6th September 2018
She was warned.
She was given an explanation.
Nevertheless she persisted
I have to hold my hands up and say I had never heard this quote until I googled the book. But you can get t-shirts, notebooks, wall prints with it on and I love it. I am however a little ashamed that I’d never even heard of it.
I’ve never read a book based around the women’s sufferage movement before. It’s a subject I find fascinating and emotive and so this is the reason I decided I’d like to get involved with the blog tour for this book.
Again I am ashamed at my woeful lack of knowledge of the struggles these women faced. It’s all too easy to be a little blasé about it all as it happened such a long time ago. However this book, albeit a fictionalised account, has really opened my eyes.
The book tells the story of two sisters Clara and Nancy, both working in Holloway prison at a time when the women’s sufferage movement was in full force.
Both girls have suffered at the hands of their father and are using their live-in employment in the prison as an escape from their home life.
Clara is proud of her role in the prison, she takes her duties very seriously and is determined to climb the career ladder and make something of herself in a time when women are seen as second rate citizens and expected to marry and settle down to have a family. She goes about her duties quite detached from the inmates.
Nancy on the other hand has escaped her father and finds it much harder to settle into her new employment. At times she even wonders whether she should have remained at home. She feels totally out of her depth in the prison and it’s only when she is asked to work on the wing housing the sufferagette prisoners that she begins to see just how unjustly treated these women are.
When she develops a connection with one of the most prestigious of the suffragette prisoners, an actress known as The Duchess, Nancy starts to become more and more entrenched in the cause and finds herself questioning the prison’s methods.
As Clara struggles to explain to her gentleman friend Ted how she won’t give up her career for marriage and Nancy feels a calling towards the suffragette life, both women are fighting to stand up for what they believe, with both women making the ultimate sacrifice.
I absolutely tore through this book. As I said at the start it is such a fascinating subject and one that brings about such an array of emotions. I felt like I was being subtley educated without having history forced upon me. I was so oblivious to the fact that so many women suffered for the cause. So many women were force fed in prison due to them going on hunger strike. The methods used were appalling and the force feeding descriptions were hard to read without feeling my own stomach churn.
This is a book that has made me want to find out more of the facts of what actually went on at that time. I feel I owe it to those brave women.
Both Clara and Nancy were immensely strong willed women in their own ways. Their relationship and family life was not always easy but ultimately their bond was unbreakable.
This book is heartwarming but also brutally honest in its depictions. A real eye opener which I won’t be forgetting in a hurry.
I would thoroughly recommend it.
Thanks as always to Anne Cater and David Fickling Books for the advance review copy.
See you all soon.
Bookish Chat. Xx