Things a Bright Girl Can Do
Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women's freedom.May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who's grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?

Things a Bright Girl Can Do Details

TitleThings a Bright Girl Can Do
Author
ReleaseSep 7th, 2017
PublisherAndersen
ISBN-139781783445257
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Young Adult, Feminism, Glbt

Things a Bright Girl Can Do Review

  • Elise (thebookishactress on wordpress)
    January 1, 1970
    IS THIS... GAY SUFFRAGETTES...
  • Cora ☕ Tea Party Princess
    January 1, 1970
    5 Words: And she bloody loved it.Full review to come.
  • Kirsty (overflowing library)
    January 1, 1970
    Hands down the best book I've read this year and probably the best book I'm going to read this year. So much I adored about it. Suffragettes, the social history of the various classes within Edwardian society, the impact of WW1 at home, the fascinating snippets of historical nerdery making it feel so authentic. My inner history geek is in love with this book. SO SO SO SO GOOD!!
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars!I was so excited to read this book because any time a book considered even slightly feminist is released I know I need to get my hands on it. Luckily I managed to get my hands on an advanced copy and this book was even more than I hoped it would be. It is passionate, honest, emotional and exhilarating.Taking us all the way back to the 1910’s, Things A Bright Girl Can Do is everything that I expect from a historical fiction novel with the exception that I found it much easier to read th 4.5 stars!I was so excited to read this book because any time a book considered even slightly feminist is released I know I need to get my hands on it. Luckily I managed to get my hands on an advanced copy and this book was even more than I hoped it would be. It is passionate, honest, emotional and exhilarating.Taking us all the way back to the 1910’s, Things A Bright Girl Can Do is everything that I expect from a historical fiction novel with the exception that I found it much easier to read than most. It was really informative about the Suffragette movement and the War without containing paragraph upon paragraph of information. It is very much a character driven novel and I really enjoyed seeing the situation from three rather different points of view.Evelyn was a really interesting character and certainly one that I imagine I would have related to in some ways if I were born in those times. She is really ambitious and absolutely angered by the fact that, as a woman, she is not expected to go onto University or to get herself a better education. There were some particularly passionate bits of dialogue in Evelyn’s chapters that really fuelled the passionate feminist in me. It was also interesting to read her POV because of her beloved Teddy and it was nice to see that this book took into account the many men who were supportive of women fighting for their right to vote. There were certainly parts of Evelyn’s journey that made me feel quite emotional and she certainly sacrificed a lot at a young age, as many of our ancestors did.May was the character I probably related to the least in a personal way. She comes from a well off background and some of her views were a little frustrating to me. On the other hand I absolutely loved that she was passionate about the right to vote but that she did call into question (alongside her mother) some of the more violent actions of the Suffragettes. May is quite a light hearted and loving young lady who is full of passion and it was really refreshing to see her part in the lesbian relationship of the book and her views on her sexuality.Nell was definitely my favourite of the girls. She was in absolutely no way your stereotypical ‘girl’ – she dressed more like a boy, acted more like a boy and as a result had basically made herself an outcast from her part of society. It was nice to read the POV of a character coming from a much lower social class than the other two girls because it made everything feel even more real. The affects of the War on Nell’s family were devastating and it really made my heart ache knowing that this happened to so, so many families. Nell is incredibly fiery, passionate, protective and driven. I just loved how far she would go to help support her family, no matter the cost. Some of my favourite dialogue was between Nell and May, especially when Nell would get so frustrated at May’s lack of ability to understand her own view point and situation.All in all I really loved the three girls as I thought they all brought something unique to the table. I was really glad that each of the girls were different and gave me different ways to view how things were as it was really thought provoking. It was great to get an insight into the different ways in which women fought for suffrage and also the consequences of those actions.Aside from suffrage, this book had great diversity threaded through it and its many themes. There was love aplenty but I was happy to see a f/f relationship and the discussion that it opened about sexuality. I was incredibly happy that the girls were from different social classes and that it was so apparent how this affected their views on different things. Nell, being from a lower social class, had very little to lose and would throw herself whole heartedly into the action whereas someone like May, who came from a higher social class, wouldn’t dream of being involved in the violence. It added a really interesting element for me.I absolutely love coming away from a book and knowing that it has taught me something and that is definitely how I felt after I put down Things A Bright Girl Can Do. It was really thought provoking and evoked a lot of emotions within me. Mostly I am absolutely and completely grateful to all those women who fought for suffrage in such times, without them where would we be today?A huge thank you to Harriet at Andersen Press for my advanced copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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  • Julia Ember
    January 1, 1970
    I finished this in a single day. I love historical fiction and I don't read nearly enough of it. Things a Bright Girl Can Do follows three protagonists from vastly different social and class spheres through their involvement in the suffragist movement and WWI. At first, I wasn't sold on sheltered, upper class Evelyn, but as the story progressed, her character development was incredible. I was invested in May and Nell from the outset. They are lesbians from different backgrounds. May is a school I finished this in a single day. I love historical fiction and I don't read nearly enough of it. Things a Bright Girl Can Do follows three protagonists from vastly different social and class spheres through their involvement in the suffragist movement and WWI. At first, I wasn't sold on sheltered, upper class Evelyn, but as the story progressed, her character development was incredible. I was invested in May and Nell from the outset. They are lesbians from different backgrounds. May is a schoolgirl living with her socially progressive, suffragist mother and a devote Quaker. Nell is part of a large, poor family from the East side who are scraping to get by. Their peacetime romance was beautiful, and I thought the way the author exposed the conflicts generated by the different way war hardship affected their families was excellent. The depth of historical research in this book is amazing. I wrote my undergraduate thesis on Victorian attitudes to sexuality, including emerging theories on sapphism. It was so interesting to read these theories from May's perspective. i would give a trigger warning for Trans readers though -- everything presented in the book is accurate to medical and social theory at the time, but if you're not familiar with it, I think it could come across as offensive. Aside from research done on sexuality, everything was intricately researched from the way rations affected different people, to deployment, to the events at the suffragette meetings and conflicts with the law. As an American reader, it's easy to forget how intersectionally feminist the British suffragist movement was in comparison to the US movement. Suffragists in the U.K. were also fighting against classism, ableism and to a degree, homophobia. A poignant look at wartime Britain and how it shaped a generation.
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  • Robin Stevens
    January 1, 1970
    Hurrah for Sally! This is a really lovely and engrossing novel about three girls caught up in the Suffragette movement and WW1. Basically, it's Sarah Waters for teens - pitch-perfect, historically accurate, very romantic and a jolly good read. 14+*Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. Please do not use it in any marketing material, online or in print, without asking permission from me first. Thank you!*
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  • Kate (Reading Through Infinity)
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars.I enjoyed the LBGTQIA+ romance in this novel and the focus on three young women protagonists growing up in WWI Britain, but I just wanted a little more of everything. More of the jobs women did during the war, more of the gay community events that some women attended, more of the hardships and intensity that came with being a suffragette.
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  • Dreximgirl
    January 1, 1970
    I found this book really interesting. It is definitely outside my comfort zone of genres but it's a period of time I am interested in and it is definitely thought provoking. I am always surprised when I'm reminded just how recently things have changed and even now it isn't perfect but it's definitely better.
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  • LH Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    I've been sitting on this review for a week or so, in that gloriously selfish phase of having read a Good Book but not wanting to talk about it. Sometimes I want to wallow in that sensation and just hold it tight to myself, that feeling of having read something transformative, big, honest and real. The events of the past few days have, however, reminded me of the importance of talking about this sort of thing and so here I am; earlier than I intended, because this book is not due out until Septe I've been sitting on this review for a week or so, in that gloriously selfish phase of having read a Good Book but not wanting to talk about it. Sometimes I want to wallow in that sensation and just hold it tight to myself, that feeling of having read something transformative, big, honest and real. The events of the past few days have, however, reminded me of the importance of talking about this sort of thing and so here I am; earlier than I intended, because this book is not due out until September, but I think now's the right time to tell you about it. Sally Nicholls is a joy. She has this great gift of story; and so I was thrilled to receive a review copy of Things A Bright Girl Can Do. It's Suffragettes, it's history, it's bravery, it's love. It's gorgeous, really, and it made me so utterly possessive of it. It follows the stories of three different girls as they work to realise their political and personal views. They fall in love, out of love, and the relationships which underpin this novel are beautiful and sensitively told. Honestly too; there's no easy racing off into the sunset here, everything has to be earned. I loved this book. It's so determined and genuine, and Nicholls tells the story with such a straightforward honesty that it's hard to not get sucked in. It's a perspective that I haven't read enough of and so I also welcome this. To add to that, I'm also very grateful for the rise of overtly political and politicised young adult fiction. Things A Bright Girl Can Do doesn't sugarcoat the process of becoming politically active, but it does render it as an absolutely vital experience. And it believes in teenagers, young people. It believes in their chance and their ability to make a difference. Get this on pre-order now, and when it comes shelve it with something like Troublemakers, and let them work their respective magics. As I said at the start of this review, I didn't really want to talk about Things A Bright Girl Can Do because I was selfish over it. Possessive. But here's the thing, that's what a good book gives you. You have that moment with it and then you realise that, as great and vital as that moment is, it's time to share it with the world because you can't let a book that's as good as this go unheard. My thanks to the publishers for a review copy.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    *4.5 stars*This book is just wonderful - warm and witty, genuinely wise, and alternately charming, upsetting and downright terrifying - but with such a deep well of compassion running throughout for all of its different characters even when all three of its heroines disagree intensely with each other. All three heroines come from very different backgrounds. Evelyn comes from a conservative middle-class family, May is the daughter of a radical vegetarian socialist feminist single mother (but stil *4.5 stars*This book is just wonderful - warm and witty, genuinely wise, and alternately charming, upsetting and downright terrifying - but with such a deep well of compassion running throughout for all of its different characters even when all three of its heroines disagree intensely with each other. All three heroines come from very different backgrounds. Evelyn comes from a conservative middle-class family, May is the daughter of a radical vegetarian socialist feminist single mother (but still has a housekeeper) and Nell is one of 6 children crammed (with their parents) into a two-room flat in London's East End, battling against starvation and outright desperation. They all come to the suffrage movement (fighting to win women the vote) for different reasons, but each one of them is fighting in her own way to find purpose and fulfilment in her life. All three of them are sympathetic by the end of the book, and I wanted every one of them to be happy, but Nicholls is ruthlessly clear-eyed in exposing all of her heroines' own blinders, foibles, and limitations as well as their shining strengths.17-year-old Evelyn, who has never been allowed to read a newspaper and has been forbidden to go to college (because what would be the point? her parents ask), is fiercely intelligent and bursting with frustrated potential - but she's also fairly immature (for understandable reasons, given her upbringing) and quite self-absorbed in the beginning of the book. Her sweetheart, Teddy, is a very nice guy who wants to support her - but as regrettable as he finds the subjugation of women to be (and as good an idea as he thinks women's suffrage would be *in theory*), he sees any real social change as an impossible pipe dream, not worth risking your life to fight for, so he does everything he can to discourage Evelyn's involvement with the suffragettes.May (a pacifist Quaker feminist who studies at a private school) and Nell (a soldier's atheist daughter who's worked in a factory for years and loves the fighting at the suffrage rallies) may both be 14 years old, but they come from such different worlds, it's hard for them to even understand each other's perspectives. Still, they fall deeply in love in an intense romance that risks an awful lot...but only for Nell, who lacks all of May's privilege. Nell, in a different time period, might have identified as trans or genderqueer, but she's living in the 1910s in the East End and faces abuse and discrimination every day just for wearing men's clothing.And when World War I begins, every one of their lives - along with the suffrage movement itself - is thrown into turmoil.The book covers five years, and it's utterly immersive and compelling throughout - like a lovely fat, satisfying Rosamunde Pilcher saga but with far sharper edges. Really upsetting things happen along the way (although nothing I'd assign a trigger warning to, fwiw); characters sometimes struggle with terrible hopelessness for good reason; but the overall feeling of the book is so warm and generous and uplifting, and the ending is just about perfect. I let out a happy good-book sigh when I finished it and patted the cover affectionately - and I have a LONG list of friends in mind who will love it!My single nitpick (and the only reason that this isn't a full 5-star review) is that, although there are multiple references to how multi-ethnic the East End is - and May idolizes the glamorous suffragette Princess Sophia Duleep Singh when she reads about her in the news - there isn't a single active character in the book who's a PoC. This book is so intelligent and subtle in the way it shows the effect of class differences as well as what it was like to be LGBTQ in this period, and the topic of racism is addressed in a really powerful scene showing the abuse of a German woman in Nell's neighborhood during the war...but still. In a book that's trying to show so much of the breadth of the suffrage movement across different social scales, it would have been nice to at least show the Indian suffragettes taking their own places in the big rallies that are written about, or show Nell actually interacting with any PoC characters from the different ethnicities that apparently share her neighborhood.However, that doesn't change the fact that this book was wonderful in every other way. It made the whole fascinating historical period feel so vividly real in every detail, and so breathlessly exciting, too. I think it would be impossible to read this book as a girl or a woman and not feel IRATE at every level of injustice that was accepted as the norm only 100 years ago - and it's incredibly inspiring to realize just how much change WAS successfully implemented over the last century, to make those historical details so outrageous in retrospect!It's also a book that's incredibly resonant with modern civil rights movements, as different women debate furiously over the most effective methods of activism, whether it's better to only do peaceful types of protest or to take more aggressive action to force people to pay attention - and as pleasant, liberal people shake their heads about women's suffrage (something we now pretty much universally agree is an essential point of justice) because "I might sympathise if they went about it differently, but really, with behavior like that..." (A paraphrase, not a direct quote.) This was a book that not only inspired me with hope that seemingly-impossible change really CAN happen - that as a society we can make changes bigger and better than any that sound remotely likely or predictable to us now - but also made me question some of my own assumptions. (What potentially fixable issues do I thoughtlessly shrug off because "that's the way life is"?)This book made me think, it made me cheer, it was a hugely enjoyable read, and I just loved the depth of the characterization and all the different levels of ambiguity in both the girls themselves and the situations they find themselves in. I devoured the whole novel in just over a day because I couldn't stop coming back to it - I just wanted to sink into that world and live with those fierce, wonderful girls. I'm full of theories about all of the heroines' possible futures (after the ending of the book) and I really want to talk about them! I'm having to force myself to end this review here (is this my longest review ever? quite possibly!), but it's honestly a struggle because I just want to talk and TALK about this book in general - it absolutely begs to be read by book clubs and groups of friends. So in other words: please read it so that we can talk about the characters together! :)
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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    Things a Bright Girl Can Do Is the story of three young female protagonist- Evelyn, Nell and May who are all a part of the Suffragette movement. The book is set in London during the peak of the Suffragette movement and WW1. It’s always interesting reading historical fiction told from a Young Adult POV, I think this is what stood out the most for me and this book. All three girls, though a part of the movement came from different backgrounds and were in the movement for different reasons. Evely Things a Bright Girl Can Do Is the story of three young female protagonist- Evelyn, Nell and May who are all a part of the Suffragette movement. The book is set in London during the peak of the Suffragette movement and WW1. It’s always interesting reading historical fiction told from a Young Adult POV, I think this is what stood out the most for me and this book. All three girls, though a part of the movement came from different backgrounds and were in the movement for different reasons. Evelyn is the oldest and is set to live the clichéd life of marrying her childhood sweetheart, having kids and managing a household. Except, Evelyn wants to go to University and learn and be able to make decisions on her own. Nell, who is from a humble background lives with her parents and 7 other siblings, is the expected to work to take care of her family. She dresses like a boy because that’s how she feels most comfortable and she also loves girls. She is a part of the Suffragette movement because she believes in Girl Power and their right to be who they want in the world. May lives with her Mom who is a known rebel, as a child she was exposed to various movements and causes that spoke to Women’s rights. She lives for a protest and fighting the power. The book is told from the POV of these three girls during a time where their future is unknown with the impending war. We get a glimpse into their personal lives, how they handle the demands and expectations of society- which for me was the most insightful read for me. Overall, a great YA novel, I think every young reader should be privy to this book. If you are interested in the Suffragette movement, this is a must read as well.
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    RELEASE DATE: 7 September 2017Actual rating: 4.5 starsI wasn't sure how to begin this review as even though I really enjoyed this book, I did struggle with it a bit; whether that was because of the difficult subject matter or because I generally struggle with historical fiction I'm not sure. Even though it is fiction, I actually came out with a better understanding of the emancipation of women in 1900s Britain and I loved every second of it. So much goes on in this book; as well as following thr RELEASE DATE: 7 September 2017Actual rating: 4.5 starsI wasn't sure how to begin this review as even though I really enjoyed this book, I did struggle with it a bit; whether that was because of the difficult subject matter or because I generally struggle with historical fiction I'm not sure. Even though it is fiction, I actually came out with a better understanding of the emancipation of women in 1900s Britain and I loved every second of it. So much goes on in this book; as well as following three characters on their journey for the emancipation of women, we get to see the impact of WW1 on the different social classes and respective neighbourhoods that the girls live in. The book spans the period of five years - four of those being during the course of the war - and it is so immersive throughout that you actually feel as though you are there with each of the heroines. I especially enjoyed reading the earlier part of the book where we see Evelyn campaigning with the Suffragettes as this was where my eyes were opened the most; I knew the bare bones of the campaigns from high school history but reading the techniques that were deployed in prison was harrowing to say the least. I was a bit worried going into this that I would have a difficult time keeping track of the three heroines separate storylines (especially as as far as I could tell, neither Nell or May actually met Evelyn) but I was pleasantly surprised. If I am being honest, I would have liked another POV to have been added. We see in Nell’s POV that the East End was culturally diverse and I would have loved to have seen this period of British history through a woman that wasn't white but that is the only gripe I have with the books as whole. I cannot recommend this book enough. If nothing else, read it for the gay suffragettes (there is the argument that Nell could be trans too, at the very least genderqueer). Please just read it. It is one of my favourite books I have read so far in 2017 which is something I never thought I would say about a historical novel!Thank you for the publisher for approving my eARC request in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are my own and please don't let them sway yours but go buy this book.
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  • Moon
    January 1, 1970
    This is actually a 3.5 (shame we can't do half stars here). The short version of my review is that there are some great things in here and several good quotes. Teddy and Nell are my favourite characters. But it felt too much like two completely separate stories with the only contact point between them being a pamphlet sold. All through the book I kept expecting them all to meet and do shenanigans, do great things or at least some craziness but it never happened. On their own they are good storie This is actually a 3.5 (shame we can't do half stars here). The short version of my review is that there are some great things in here and several good quotes. Teddy and Nell are my favourite characters. But it felt too much like two completely separate stories with the only contact point between them being a pamphlet sold. All through the book I kept expecting them all to meet and do shenanigans, do great things or at least some craziness but it never happened. On their own they are good stories, even if they felt a tiny bit repetitive to me (but I read a lot about the World Wars and other historical events). A review will be up on my blog later on.
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  • Femke (booksfemme)
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars!Absolutely loved this novel. Longer review soon hopefully!
  • Joanne
    January 1, 1970
    Originally published on Once Upon a Bookcase. WARNING: This review is so very long, but I have a lot to say. When I first heard about Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls, there was absolutely no way I wasn't going to read it. A book about the Suffragettes! As a feminist, there's just no way this book wasn't going to appeal to me. Having finished, I can say that Things a Bright Girl Can Do was such a good book - but for different reasons than I expected.Things a Bright Girl Can Do isn't Originally published on Once Upon a Bookcase. WARNING: This review is so very long, but I have a lot to say. When I first heard about Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls, there was absolutely no way I wasn't going to read it. A book about the Suffragettes! As a feminist, there's just no way this book wasn't going to appeal to me. Having finished, I can say that Things a Bright Girl Can Do was such a good book - but for different reasons than I expected.Things a Bright Girl Can Do isn't about the Suffragettes - it's about three girls who are Suffragettes/ists, or become one. It's about what Evelyn, May and Nell think, their opinions and their morals, and their individual stories. To be honest, there isn't a huge amount of them actually being Suffragettes/ists; there's some, but mostly it's them talking about or thinking about how unfair the world is for women, while their individual lives and what happens to them make the core of the plot.Evelyn comes from a wealthy family. She's clever, and has a passion for learning, and absolutely hates that a university education isn't easily available to women. Because women don't need an education; they will marry men who are educated who will provide for their family, and the women will have children and look after their family - rich women, that is. Evelyn's parents don't understand why Evelyn would want a university education or a degree (not that she can actually get one; women can take the classes, but they don't get a qualification at the end of it), because it's not a necessity as she won't work. They look at it as something she wants to do that isn't really important, and will cost a lot of money, and as it's unnecessary, they're not paying that money. It's almost like they think Evelyn weird for wanting an education - why would a woman want more than getting married and having children? This enrages her, and having already been interested in the Suffragettes, she becomes one. She goes on marches, she where's sandwich boards and hands out handbills, she takes part in actions - risky missions the Suffragettes undertake to fight for their rights. But she always doubts herself and what she's doing, wondering if it's the right thing to do. When it comes down to actual risk, her heart is never fully in it. (Though she does end up going to prison and hunger striking, and oh my god it was appalling, and major props to Evelyn - or rather the actual real life Suffragettes who went through it - for going to such lengths to be heard.)May is a Suffragist like her mother - a woman who wants the vote, but is more for trying to get it through peaceful means; protests and conversations and handing out handbills, basically fighting for their rights through talking rather than violence and criminality. Due to being a Quaker (which Nicholls is herself, making this book #OwnVoices), May is also a pacifist, and frowns upon Emmeline and Sylvia Pankhurst's methods. She is a very opinionated, and confident in talking about what she believes to be right, assertively fighting her corner. She's not quite holier-than-thou, but she is genuinely bewildered and upset when people don't understand or at least respect her views. Because she genuinely believes she is right, this is the right way of doing things, and everyone else has got it wrong and she doesn't understand why.Nell is from the East End of London, a Suffragette who is all for violence and criminality, though mainly because she gets a thrill from it all, finds it exciting, not necessarily because she doesn't believed they won't be listened to otherwise. She lives in extreme poverty, which only highlights for her how needed equality is, because there are certain jobs women simply can't have, and in the jobs which men also do, the women get paid far less. At times in the book, things for Nell's family are absolutely desperate.The three girls have one thing in common; wanting votes for women. But otherwise, they're completely different. Evelyn is wealthy, May is middle class, and although they have money, they don't really have enough to replace their worn clothes, and Nell has practically nothing to spare. Their morals when it comes to rights for women are at odds. I was actually surprised that May and Nell ended up together, because they as people, and their views, are just so different.They're Sapphists, which is an old fashioned term for lesbians; it comes from the Greek poet Sappho, who wrote about women and loving women. Although their relationships to the wider world is secret, it's not something that's completely clandestine; May's mother knows, has known her daughter is a Sapphist for a while, and has no problem at all, even gave her a book to understand herself better, and introduced her to other Sapphists in the Suffragist community. I don't know if Nell's mum knows or not, but May does visit their house a number of times. Basically, to everyone who does know, there's not a problem, and there's never any worrying about being found out, or experience homophobia. It's just them, together and their happy.For the most part, because Nell is confused about herself. She wears her older brother's old clothes; breeches, shirt, jacket, hat. A lot of people on first meeting think she's a boy. It would be interesting to read a review by a trans person, because I think Nell might be trans; she thinks of herself as not a girl, but not a man either; when she gets upset, she fights her tears, because of toxic masculinity - guys don't cry, and so she won't either. Because of what she says, I was never really sure why Nell wanted equal rights for women, because she wants to do the things that guys can do, but it's never really clear whether she wants more freedom for women, or she wants to be a man herself. There's a lot of confusion for Nell; she didn't realise that Sapphists were a thing, she thought it was just her until she met May, and she puts down her thoughts and confusion down to being a Sapphist, but a lot of it is about gender, and so I do think that she's trans, but I'm not trans, so obviously, I can't say for sure. But there is a lot of heartache for Nell because she doesn't know what she is, as she herself says. It's heartbreaking to watch.There's more heartbreak for us as readers when it comes to Nell once the First World War starts. For me, it seemed there were two parts of the book, the first part that deals with Suffrage, and the second that deals with the war, and where Suffrage has to take a back foot. The war affects all three characters, but Nell more so. Things a Bright Girl Can Do tells us the story of the war that we don't hear. I knew the war was hard for the people at home, what with rationing and evacuation, but I never realised just how terrible it could be. When you're poor, and the breadwinner of the family is called up, it's devastating. Not only are you worried about your husband/father, but you're also worried about how you can survive. During war, the price of everything goes up. Jobs are lost because, in the case of Nell's job at a jam factory, who cares about jam now? It was mostly sold to the Germans, so no-one is going to buy, and most of the top men in the company are now at war, so the factory is closed. So many jobs are lost. There are so many women who are out seeking work, but not enough jobs to go round. Possessions had to be pawned, even when you have practically nothing anyway, right down to your bedstead. Appeals for help were made, but too many people needed help. No work, meant no money, and no money meant no food and no coal, and not paying the rent. God forbid you get ill, because there's no way to pay the doctor's bills. Reading about Nell's experiences of the war was horrific.May isn't struggling as much as Nell, of course, and although she offers to help, Nell refuses charity. But even May's family has very little food now, and her mum is gone all the time on her various committees to try and stop the war. As pacifists, they are completely against the war. May is vocal about it, and is treated terribly by the people at school. She loses friends, and is bullied. When her mother complains, the school pretty much says, "Well, if she's going to be unpatriotic, what do you expect?" I really, really struggled with May. I respected her views, but she doesn't seem to want to respect anyone else's. She and Nell get into a huge fight when Nell finally gets a job in a munitions factory, telling her she shouldn't accept it, because it's wrong - no matter that it's the only job she can find, no matter that her family is in dire straits, no matter that her younger brother has pneumonia. No matter that if the soldiers don't have weapons to fight back with, they will be killed by the Germans, including Nell's father. Nell simply shouldn't take the job, and May feels betrayed that Nell is even considering it. This, on top of thinking bitchily about how Nell hadn't realised that things at school were terrible for May and not asking her about it, when there's a very strong chance her family could be kicked out of their home or starve or die from illness... it was just too much. I did not like that girl in that moment, and I haven't really forgiven her for it.I did at first think I wouldn't like this book. The language used made the characters feel like caricatures; there was a lot of "jolly good", "rotten", "splendid", and so on. People did probably talk like that at the time, but it just didn't feel natural at the beginning. I did get used to it, however, and it stopped bothering me. I also never related or connected to any of the three girls. Although I respected them in some ways, there was a lot I didn't like about each of them. Though I did find that even though I wasn't a huge fan of them as people, it didn't mean I didn't care about them and what they went through, especially Nell. It's so odd, because I've never cared and felt so emotional for a character I didn't really like before. But it was difficult not to care when you think about how the things that happened in this book actually happened in real life.I would have preferred to have seen more of what the Suffragettes/ists did rather than just being told about it, I would have liked more of it to have been on the page. But it was still so amazing to hear about the unbelievable things these wonderful, passionate, brave women would do in the fight for equality. Just thinking about it is kind of overwhelming, and I feel such gratitude to these women who thought so hard and were treated so terribly so that I can have the life I live now. I feel such pride in these women that they thought so hard and risked so much for me and the rest of us women, but also such huge disappointment that they suffered so much, and yet there's still a long way to go.Things a Bright Girl Can Do is such a wonderful, wonderful book. I may not have got on with it all the time, but it was eye-opening, thought-provoking, and just brilliant, really. I can't recommend it enough.Thank you to Andersen Press via NetGalley for the eProof.
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  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    Perhaps this book can be rushed through to print with the announcement of a snap election this year as it is a thought-provoking, nuanced and rich story about political engagement and how complex, hard and rewarding it can be to work out your own private political beliefs, let alone play an active political part in society. Compelling, complex and real characterization against a detailed and at times surprising historical backdrop (you might have read quite a few books about the suffragettes but Perhaps this book can be rushed through to print with the announcement of a snap election this year as it is a thought-provoking, nuanced and rich story about political engagement and how complex, hard and rewarding it can be to work out your own private political beliefs, let alone play an active political part in society. Compelling, complex and real characterization against a detailed and at times surprising historical backdrop (you might have read quite a few books about the suffragettes but I'd wager you'll still discover new aspects to to their/our story when you read this book) make this a rewarding read, asking hard questions about the different aspects of political campaigning, how frustrating it can be, how building something is much harder than simply raising your voice against it (though this too is important), about how essential but challenging it is to work with others who, whilst they may share a similar goal, have very different beliefs about the means to achieve it. All in all a terrific story for helping foster socially engaged readers. And it's not all politics; there are two beautiful love stories woven throughout the novel. One explores the intensity, confusion and landscape-realigning experience of first love (and how these feelings are all perhaps twice as large as life, when the relationship is not one society at that time believes is "proper"), and the other a quieter, under the radar love, beset with the burdens of expectation but still full of kindness and just as true.
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  • Katy Noyes
    January 1, 1970
    YA look at suffragettes and World War I It's about time that young women (and men) had a book aimed at them that looked in a grown-up way at the pre-War suffragist movement, how the War affected it, and what that War did to the young men and women in Britain. And this one takes on several issues in one book.Three young women are our eyes on this world of a century past - one rich girl (Evelyn) who is pushing back from marrying her childhood sweetheart. One is the daughter of a feminist vegetaria YA look at suffragettes and World War I It's about time that young women (and men) had a book aimed at them that looked in a grown-up way at the pre-War suffragist movement, how the War affected it, and what that War did to the young men and women in Britain. And this one takes on several issues in one book.Three young women are our eyes on this world of a century past - one rich girl (Evelyn) who is pushing back from marrying her childhood sweetheart. One is the daughter of a feminist vegetarian activist - May, and the third, Nell, is part of a large struggling family, a young woman comfortable in boys' clothes who develops immediate feelings for May after they meet at a suffragist rally.In the course of their interactions and over a few years span, we watch one go to prison for her attempts to gain women the vote, we watch how they and their families cope with the arrival of war, how each decides on the future they want to have and their attempts to achieve them.For many readers, this might be the first exposure to the period and situation women like this trio were in back in the early twentieth century. The period detail is descriptive and thorough, and gives an excellent background to the women's lives. It also doesn't shy away from the sad facts of War - injury, death, psychological damage, and touches upon conscientious objectors, white feathers and other issues that today would not be the scandals they might have been then.I really loved hopping from one young woman to the other, all three stories were equally fascinating. A bold author, to include sexuality in the mix as well, though there is nothing here that makes it unsuitable for young readers interested.The ideal audience is probably ages 13 and above, and it could make excellent extract reading for KS3 history/PSHE lessons.With thanks to Netgalley for the advance reading copy.
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  • Nikki
    January 1, 1970
    I liked lots of things about this book, the characters are interesting, you learn about the timeline without it being preachy and the relationships are good. However. It felt like two stories, the two threads don't interact. Evelyn and Teddy is probably my least favourite, but I love the stuff with her indignation and her family at the start, and all the stuff towards the end - it does an excellent job of portraying the war and is really poignant. I wanted to know what they did next though espec I liked lots of things about this book, the characters are interesting, you learn about the timeline without it being preachy and the relationships are good. However. It felt like two stories, the two threads don't interact. Evelyn and Teddy is probably my least favourite, but I love the stuff with her indignation and her family at the start, and all the stuff towards the end - it does an excellent job of portraying the war and is really poignant. I wanted to know what they did next though especially in relation to Teddy. (Wow that's a hard one to discuss without spoilers!) I much preferred the tale of May and Nell, or more specifically, Nell. May is a naive and self involved so and so half the time! Nell is excellent, and the story of her family and her relationships would have been great for me on their own. While not perfect, I really liked her character and her growth. I loved her early interactions with May and her discoveries about herself toward the end. I think I'd have quite liked her story, with May as a side character, more fleshed out as the book on its own. A good read, but nothing stellar for me sadly, it's a bit let down by telling two stories that are only related by timeline and therefore don't interact enough to be relevant.
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  • Fray
    January 1, 1970
    I picked this book up on a whim and I loved it, I really did. The problem with loving it, however, was that I also loved the characters and this story is incredibly sad. Silly old me didn't think the war would as prevalent in this book as it actually was which came as a bit of a nasty shock.Overall I really enjoyed the writing and the characters of this story. The plot got quite dark and if you've struggled with any form of PTSD, depression or anxiety/depression in a romantic relationship this b I picked this book up on a whim and I loved it, I really did. The problem with loving it, however, was that I also loved the characters and this story is incredibly sad. Silly old me didn't think the war would as prevalent in this book as it actually was which came as a bit of a nasty shock.Overall I really enjoyed the writing and the characters of this story. The plot got quite dark and if you've struggled with any form of PTSD, depression or anxiety/depression in a romantic relationship this book should come with a warning. The twisting of characters as they matured was very well handled and honest but overall rather unpleasant to read about. I found the last 100 pages to be more than a little miserable (and I wasn't expecting sunshine and roses) so that made the ending a tad unsatisfactory for me.All in all I think this is a great YA novel and eventually depicts a lot of great changes to troupes in YA, so it should really receive more buzz. That being sad I think that buzz should come with a little more warning because the trauma at parts of this book was a little blindsiding.
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  • Sabrina
    January 1, 1970
    Three very different girls from all walks of life, fighting for the same thing. For many reasons they all know that women deserve the vote just as much as men do and they are all willing to do whatever they can to get it. But then the war starts and most people's priorities are suddenly very different. I felt quite emotional throughout the book, reading about what these girls and women went through, and the different reactions to the start of the war. This is one of those books that stays with y Three very different girls from all walks of life, fighting for the same thing. For many reasons they all know that women deserve the vote just as much as men do and they are all willing to do whatever they can to get it. But then the war starts and most people's priorities are suddenly very different. I felt quite emotional throughout the book, reading about what these girls and women went through, and the different reactions to the start of the war. This is one of those books that stays with you even when you're not reading it.
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  • Camila
    January 1, 1970
    I wanted to love this so bad, but the writing felt clunky and I just couldn't get past that.
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    GAY SUFRAGETTES!!!This book was pretty darn beautiful. Set just before & during WW1 (which isn't a period i'm particularly familiar with), we meet 3 very different types of people and stories. First, is fiery (ok... every female character in this novel slays actually, an accurate description of women if you ask me) Evelyn, the eldest daughter of a well off family, slated to marry her best friend since she was a child, but how can she know if she wants to marry Teddy if she doesn't know who s GAY SUFRAGETTES!!!This book was pretty darn beautiful. Set just before & during WW1 (which isn't a period i'm particularly familiar with), we meet 3 very different types of people and stories. First, is fiery (ok... every female character in this novel slays actually, an accurate description of women if you ask me) Evelyn, the eldest daughter of a well off family, slated to marry her best friend since she was a child, but how can she know if she wants to marry Teddy if she doesn't know who she is herself? With big aspirations and the whole world holding her back - by her whole world, i mean mainly her family and those obsessed with societal standards that women should not go to University, which is pretty much the whole world - except for Teddy, who is wonderfully supportive every step of the way like literally... I want a Teddy!!!! Evelyn and the other two girls dont really interact too much, but there is a small overlap, where Nell meets Evelyn. But, both Nell & May (who become friends, and then lovers) and Evelyn are all suffragettes, even though they do it very differently. I'm not gay/lesbian so i cant comment on the validity of the rep, but i thought it was pretty darn beautiful how May, so sure and well-read (despite the problematic philosphical 1914 view of what it means to be gay), guides Nell and assures her and loves her and tells her that her feelings are valid and beautiful. if you dont want to read this book and be submerged in WW1 history and see the ripples it has on every-day society as well as history, and see 2 young girls discover their sexuality through fighting for womens rights, plagued by stereotypes and poverty, we probably would be poor company if we were on a desert island, sorry //thanks to netgalley for providing me with a copy of this in exchange for an honest review//
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    This was my most anticipated book of the year and it did not disappoint I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review but also got the finished copy in my August Book Box Club, which is the copy I read This book is beautiful and necessary and everything I have ever wanted. We follow Evelyn, May and Nell who are all teenage suffragettes/suffragists and their journeys before and throughout the First World War. They are all wonderful, complex, feminist characters and I loved th This was my most anticipated book of the year and it did not disappoint I received this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review but also got the finished copy in my August Book Box Club, which is the copy I read This book is beautiful and necessary and everything I have ever wanted. We follow Evelyn, May and Nell who are all teenage suffragettes/suffragists and their journeys before and throughout the First World War. They are all wonderful, complex, feminist characters and I loved them so much . All three of them are fierce feminists but they express their beliefs in very different ways. From going on hunger strike in prison to only engaging in pacifist activities, they were all wonderful and I can't praise the author strongly enough for creating these incredibly vivid, strong young women.There is also some fabulous diversity- a beautifully written lesbian relationship between May and Nell which absolutely melted my little heart along with discussion about homosexuality within the historical context. ALSO, can we just talk about Teddy because I am still swooning from his absolutely perfection. What a truly wonderful character!The feminism in this book was so on point that I will struggle to appropriately praise it. Evelyn in particular resonated with me as all she wanted was an education that was denied to her simply because she was female. She struggled a lot with some of the decisions that she made and had a genuinely difficult path in this book (along with May and Nell of course but Evelyn was my favourite of the three), I think she was handled incredibly well by the author and her relationship with Teddy is gorgeous. For me, this book is mostly about the characters and their development over time. But the plot is also fantastic, including real historical events such as the Buckingham Palace demonstration and it brilliantly depicted the horror of war including the Battle of the Somme. Basically what I'm trying to say is that this book is perfection. To top it all off, the hardback is completely beautiful especially the back cover and I LOVE the use of suffragette colours- a small but important element. I was almost 100% certain that I would love this book and oh my goodness I don't think I could have loved it any more if I tried. Now desperately hoping for more historical fiction from Sally Nicholls.
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  • Jessie Thomas
    January 1, 1970
    I always love a healthy dose of feminism in my fiction, so I was incredibly happy to see proofs of The Exact Opposite Of Okay, Moxie, and Things A Bright Girl Can Do on offer at YALC this year. Luckily, I managed to get my hands on all three and, with Things A Bright Girl Can Do being one of the earliest releases on my pile, I dove into that pretty quickly. Even though I’m very passionate about equality and gender issues, my gravitation towards feminism as a movement has only really happened in I always love a healthy dose of feminism in my fiction, so I was incredibly happy to see proofs of The Exact Opposite Of Okay, Moxie, and Things A Bright Girl Can Do on offer at YALC this year. Luckily, I managed to get my hands on all three and, with Things A Bright Girl Can Do being one of the earliest releases on my pile, I dove into that pretty quickly. Even though I’m very passionate about equality and gender issues, my gravitation towards feminism as a movement has only really happened in the last few years and I seem to have somehow just jumped straight in to where we are now without learning much about the history. Thus, I don’t actually know a helluva lot about women’s suffrage, and I thought a YA fiction book about it would be the perfect diving platform from which to start my education. I don’t usually get on amazingly well with historical fiction – contemporary YA is my jam – but I do think it’s important to broaden your horizons every now and then, and as this is a subject I’m so interested in I was determined to give it a fair chance. I wasn’t prepared for how much I was going to like it! I was really surprised at how quickly and easily I managed to read this. Something that usually puts me off historical books is how different the language can be. All that “well I say old chap, that’s a jolly poor show!” comes across as really stuffy and (I find) can be quite hard to understand at times, meaning I generally have to slow down and digest things a bit more. However, whilst the language in this book did feel really authentically old fashioned, something about it was just a bit easier to absorb and I didn’t get too put off. Something that really helped me in this respect, was how it was structured into really short chapters and switched frequently back and forth between different characters’ points of view. Whenever I began to get a little tired of Teddy and Evelyn’s formal tone, Nell would swoop in wth her “blimey guv’nor”s and vice versa, and this, for me, kept it continuously refreshed and moving along at a nice, steady pace so the story never got stagnant. Speaking of these different points of view, I really like the contrast between the three main characters, Evelyn, Nell and May. They are all in completely different situations, from different social standings, with different views on things, so it’s really interesting to see three different approaches to the same issue. What’s even better and more prominent than the differences we see between the girls, though, is how we see that a lot of what they’re going through and feeling is pretty universal. These similarities are highlighted in what I thought was a really clever and poignant way, by the fact that at different points in the story, all three girls express the same sentiment, phrased almost identically. “Nobody understood what it was like to have your life transformed by something you’d believed to be the most important thing in all the world, and then to have it suddenly pulled away from underneath you.” That, to me, just perfectly sums up the feeling of being a teenager. One of the other, authentically teenage, things I loved the most was the relationship between Nell and May. I don’t often do spoilers, but I’m about to here so if you don’t wanna know, scroll past this next paragraph… Ok, gone? Here it is: they break up. And it’s fine. The world doesn’t end or anything; yes, they’re both sad, but their breakup is just another one of the difficult things they have to deal with in life, and it doesn’t paint their relationship as a failure simply because it ended. In fact, in the last chapter, we even see Nell a couple of years later, appearing very happy, comfortable in her identity and in a new relationship. They did have a really intense, loving relationship and it would have been easy to look at them as “couple goals” or whatever, but – whilst I loved seeing them together and was sad that they had to break up – I was glad the author did it, as it felt so much more realistic to give them separate opportunities to grow and change and live their lives, rather than going with the happily-ever-after that is so common in fiction yet incredibly rare in the real world. You may notice it’s a bit of a theme, me being completely ignorant of history, but I hardly know anything about the First World War either. In my defence, I never did anything past basic high school history (at my college you could only pick one humanities subject for GCSE, and I went with sociology) and all the focus in English high schools in my day was on the Holocaust. But anyway, as pretty much this whole time period is completely unknown territory to me, it was really interesting to read about and learn so much on a new subject. I felt like this book was such a more valuable education though, for the fact that it didn’t focus on any facts. It was told from such a personal perspective, more about the emotions and the experience of what it was like to live through the war, rather than what was actually happening. And I loved how it was largely focused on the normal people and unsung heroes of the time – the boys who were slightly too young for war and left behind; the mothers who had to step up and keep their families afloat with their husbands and sons off to fight; the young girls who believed and fought for the suffrage cause, but weren’t the famous faces we remember leading the movement; the Quakers who refused to drop their pacifist, suffragist beliefs and support the war – all this meant I connected with it so much more, and really got a sense of what it was like to live through that time as one of the general public, rather than “our brave boys on the front line”, who most of the stories are about. This book was so different to anything I would have usually picked up, but I’m so glad I did. It made me laugh, ache, learn, swell with pride, and so many other emotions over the course of its 400 odd pages. It’s passionate and political, with amazing representation of women, LGBT people and a widely overlooked faith community, all while being historically accurate and teaching its readers about a time period which seems to get a little forgotten in schools. After reading Things A Bright Girl Can Do I feel like a more informed feminist, a more historically aware citizen, a more empathetic person… This book had a huge impact on me and I honestly feel like it’s sparked something in me; I’m a Bright Girl and I’m capable of so much, so get out of my way and watch me change the world. ;)
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  • Katy
    January 1, 1970
    I am so happy that this book has been written; I'ma big fan of YA novels that consider the experiences of teenagers in important historical periods, and Sally Nicholls' choice of early 20th century London and the Suffragette movement is enthralling.I found the depiction of the 3 central heroines both educational and entertaining. My favourite was privileged Evelyn, who joins the Suffragettes primarily as an act of petulance, rebelling against the parents who won't let her go to Oxford and would I am so happy that this book has been written; I'ma big fan of YA novels that consider the experiences of teenagers in important historical periods, and Sally Nicholls' choice of early 20th century London and the Suffragette movement is enthralling.I found the depiction of the 3 central heroines both educational and entertaining. My favourite was privileged Evelyn, who joins the Suffragettes primarily as an act of petulance, rebelling against the parents who won't let her go to Oxford and would prefer her to practise being an obedient wife. Working class Nell represents the opposite end of society, sharing a 2 room home with 5 siblings and her parents, as well as questioning her sexuality. The third protagonist is May, following her mother on Suffragette marches and peace initiatives from a life of relative comfort. The level of historical detail here is excellent, with relevant references to real-life figures like Sylvia Pankhurst and Emily Wilding Davison neatly woven into the narrative. Aspects of the Suffragettes' struggle, particularly hunger strikes and their effects on the body, are well-used, adding both depth and horror to the description of how the vote was finally gained. I found the representation of the fight for Votes for Women really compelling.Inevitably, as it's a historical novel set in that period, World War I comes along and ruins everything; aside from the terrible impact on each of the main characters, this has an effect on the story too, as the fight for women's rights falls to the wayside. Obviously this is historically accurate (and I also learned new things about how the Suffragettes contributed to supporting families left behind as husbands and fathers went off to fight) but I missed the strong feminist outlook of the book's first half.Overall, I strongly recommend this book, both to teen and adult readers. It offers a fascinating perspective on a turbulent and crucial period of history, as well as being extremely well-written and, when appropriate, highly entertaining.
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  • Kerry Bridges
    January 1, 1970
    Evelyn, Nell and May are all young members of the Suffragist movement in 1914, moving in different circles and having very different lives. When war comes they all face difficult choices, how will their lives change and will it be for the better?I have taken many trips to the Battlefields of Ypres and the Somme and have a broad experience of what things may have been like for the young me during 1914 onwards but strangely have never really considered the Suffragist movements back home and how th Evelyn, Nell and May are all young members of the Suffragist movement in 1914, moving in different circles and having very different lives. When war comes they all face difficult choices, how will their lives change and will it be for the better?I have taken many trips to the Battlefields of Ypres and the Somme and have a broad experience of what things may have been like for the young me during 1914 onwards but strangely have never really considered the Suffragist movements back home and how the women were affected. This amazing book has definitely put that right.From the first page the writing transports one back to the early 20th century, the style of writing is perfect and the way that the characters speak and interact appears to be totally authentic to the time. On top of that, and interestingly, my favourite character is the long suffering and general top chap, Teddy, who is obviously ahead of his time and offers gentle advice to the hot headed Evelyn whilst always being there to pick up the pieces.May and her mother bring another interesting dynamic as representing the Quaker movement of conscientious objectors and how difficult that must also have been. The scenes where the bailiff comes to stay for 6 weeks are some of the most interesting to me as I had never heard of this happen before.Finally the relationship between Nell and May appears so naturally part of the story as it adds yet another dimension to the necessity for women's lives to be changed in so many ways.This is a glorious book - you should read it!
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    Evelyn, May and Nell join the fight for the vote for women.Evelyn comes from a privileged background. She is 17 and tells her parents she want to go to University like her brother. Her parents are outraged and say no, that she will get married and have children. This only makes her more determined and she joins the Suffragettes, handing out leaflets and attending rallies, being spat at and having rotten vegetables thrown at her.May who is 15years old is an enthusiastic suffragette with a forward Evelyn, May and Nell join the fight for the vote for women.Evelyn comes from a privileged background. She is 17 and tells her parents she want to go to University like her brother. Her parents are outraged and say no, that she will get married and have children. This only makes her more determined and she joins the Suffragettes, handing out leaflets and attending rallies, being spat at and having rotten vegetables thrown at her.May who is 15years old is an enthusiastic suffragette with a forward thinking, supportive single mother. May meets Nell who has had a difficult upbringing. Her mum and dad struggle to raise her and her siblings.Each of the girls are devoted to the cause and stand up to be counted but suddenly there is a war and father's, husbands. brothers and sons go off to fight in the war and everything changes.I enjoyed this book but felt something was missing. I read on thinking something was going to happen but it did not.I received this novel from the author and Goodreads in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.
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  • Miss Fay Myers
    January 1, 1970
    I was very lucky to receive a proof of this book from the publisher as well as go to the #drinksYA launch event in London. Thanks Anderson! One fun fact I learnt at the event was that the publisher came to Sally Nicholls after having dressed as a Suffragette as a protest to the suffragettes not being honoured as they had been previously at the derby). I took me a little while to get into this book, (more my own slow reading mood at the time) but I am glad I persevered as I did really enjoy it. I I was very lucky to receive a proof of this book from the publisher as well as go to the #drinksYA launch event in London. Thanks Anderson! One fun fact I learnt at the event was that the publisher came to Sally Nicholls after having dressed as a Suffragette as a protest to the suffragettes not being honoured as they had been previously at the derby). I took me a little while to get into this book, (more my own slow reading mood at the time) but I am glad I persevered as I did really enjoy it. I don't read a lot of historical fiction but this (re)opened my eyes to the suffragette's and war time experience. As well as being a re-education for me, I really enjoyed the story line. The fact that there was a both a heterosexual and lesbian relationship, it spanned across the classes, across political opinions and upbringings. It was really great. It made me laugh as well as mourn for the difficulties of both suffragettes and war time Britain. I will be recommending this to the students in my library, and I expect it to be very popular!
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  • Lesley
    January 1, 1970
    I picked up a proof copy of this at a conference. I loved the book. The three protagonists are all believable, flawed and lovable women from different backgrounds, showing how women of all classes fought for freedom, and there are cameos from real historical figures such as the Pankhursts, This book highlights the campaign for women's suffrage and emancipation against the backdrop of WWI and is obviously meticulously researched. However the history is told through the story, the words and action I picked up a proof copy of this at a conference. I loved the book. The three protagonists are all believable, flawed and lovable women from different backgrounds, showing how women of all classes fought for freedom, and there are cameos from real historical figures such as the Pankhursts, This book highlights the campaign for women's suffrage and emancipation against the backdrop of WWI and is obviously meticulously researched. However the history is told through the story, the words and actions of the characters, not through exposition, which makes it wonderfully readable. It is also great to see a lesbian love story and a theme of gender expression/identity at the heart of a book for young readers again as a full part of the story not as an 'issue' or PC nod.I really hope this gets a wide readership and wins awards and I will be very surprised not to see it on a Carnegie shortlist, although as it is not published until September we will have to wait a while for that!
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  • Kate Dansette
    January 1, 1970
    eARC received from NetGalley in return for an honest reviewThis book begins by following the lives and loves of 3 young women involved in the suffragette movement. Fairly early on the First World War happens so the suffragette part of the story for most of them begins to take a backseat to life during wartime although the politics with the characters needing to manage their response to the war (pacifism storyline alert!) while continuing to manage their love lives, education and career plans. Th eARC received from NetGalley in return for an honest reviewThis book begins by following the lives and loves of 3 young women involved in the suffragette movement. Fairly early on the First World War happens so the suffragette part of the story for most of them begins to take a backseat to life during wartime although the politics with the characters needing to manage their response to the war (pacifism storyline alert!) while continuing to manage their love lives, education and career plans. This book could easily have been bogged down in historical fact but fortunately the author avoids this. There’s an engrossing cross class lesbian romance and the author doesn’t downplay the role of women of colour in the suffragette struggle.
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