Wednesday, 7 February 2018

A Hundred Years On 
Yesterday was the centenary of the Representation of the People Act that was passed on February 6th 1918. It gave women aged over thirty and 'of property' the right to vote for the first time. There is still a long way to go but it was very important to mark the momentous occasion and remember the women who fought so hard to achieve partial suffrage for women. The Act paved the way the Equal Franchise Act a decade later and this gave all women over twenty one the right to vote - property owners or not.

Back in 2013, when I’d just started writing fiction, a new magazine, 'Pretty Nostalgic', invited writers to choose a character from history they admired and with whom they'd have liked to have afternoon tea. I chose Emmeline Pankhurst and I'm pleased to say the piece was published. Before I could write 'Taking Tea with Emmeline Pankhurst', I researched how she'd been taken to her first suffrage meetings at the age of eight by her mother and how that had influenced her to do the same with her own daughters. I read the harrowing details of the ways the suffragettes had been treated  - the imprisonment, the hunger strikes and the force- feeding. Because of their sacrifices women like me could cast their vote in the ballot box.

Here are two books involving the suffragette movement I thoroughly enjoyed reading:


The White Camelia by Juliet Greenwood.

Published by Honno
ISBN: 9781909983502
The novel, set in Cornwall and London, gives a wonderful insight into the time before World War I when women had the courage to seek economic independence and the right to vote. Finding herself in London, Bea stumbles upon the White Camellia tearoom and finds it to be a gathering place for the suffrage movement. For Bea, it is life-changing as she is swept up in the struggle. Through her story, we learn of the treatment handed out to the protesting suffragettes. It is beautifully crafted and stayed with me for a long time after I finished reading it.

A Hundred Tiny Threads by Judith Barrow
Published by Honno
ISBN: 9781909983687
The novel's main character is Winifred Duffy who in 1911 leads a very sheltered life and is dominated by her uncaring mother. When independent Honora O'Reilly enters her life and talks of a better life, Winifred is persuaded to join the suffragette movement. She becomes an active member and is swept along by the fight for women's rights. As readers, we are witnesses to the bravery of the movement  and the violence meted out to those involved. A superb novel with memorable charcters. For my interview with Judith about 'A Hundred Tiny Threads' and my full review of the book please click HERE.

There is much, much more in both novels than the suffragette movement to which I've referred, but I felt it was appropriate to recommend them in the light of the centenary. What novels with characters involved withe suffragette movement have you enjoyed and therefore recommend? I'd love it if you left a comment telling us. Thank you for reading.

You may also follow me on Twitter @JanBayLit and on my Jan Baynham Writer Facebook page.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for this mention in your post on the anniversary of The People's Representation Act 1918, Jan.Absolutely thrilled for my book to be included.x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A pleasure, Judith. As you know I loved Winifred’s strength of character in ‘A Hundred Tiny Threads’. πŸ™‚

      Delete
  2. Fantastic to see two wonderful Honno authors featured on your blog! You are such a cheerleader for Honno. And these two books are very special. xXx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aren’t they, Carol? It’s always a pleasure to recommend good books and quality writing. I’ve yet to find a Honno book I haven’t enjoyed. And their covers are so evocative, as these two were. πŸ™‚πŸ“š

      Delete
  3. I agree, Jan - two great novels by wonderful female authors!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are, aren’t they, Sara? Both titles sprang to mind this week. πŸ™‚

      Delete