3 out of 4 stars
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Mistress Suffragette by Diana Forbes is the story of a young girl trying to find her identity in a world where women were not allowed many freedoms. Penelope Stanton is a young girl who is under a lot of pressure from her mother and society to find herself a husband. After being dumped by her cousin Sam, she is beginning to feel as though she may be hopeless. In enters Mr. Daggers, a wealthy, well-respected man who has one major flaw. He is already married, although it does not seem to bother him all that much. Mr. Daggers continues to pursue Penelope even though she tries to explain to him that she does not want to be his mistress.
When Mr. and Mrs. Daggers decide that they want Penelope to come work for them and live with them in New York, Penelope decides that she can not allow that to happen. She runs off to Boston with her friend and somewhat accidentally joins the suffrage movement. While in Boston, Penelope begins to work with Verdana Jones, a short-haired, bloomer-wearing woman who is trying to spread the word that the clothing women are expected to wear are irrational and unpractical. As Verdana's polar opposite, Penelope tries to explain to her why she enjoys wearing the stiff, cumbersome dress of the times. A well-enjoyed debate at a speaking engagement makes them fast allies.
What I liked about this book was how there were so many different, well-developed characters. I could see bits of myself in almost all of the main characters, which made them realistic. Also, the author's writing style incorporated descriptive language, creating scenes that you felt you were a part of. This book is excellent for readers who enjoy historical fiction; especially if they have an interest in women's history. This book is also great for all women to read as the protagonist is incredibly relatable and her story is of women's empowerment.
The only thing I did not like about the book was the pace of the storyline at certain times. At the beginning of the book, there were times that I was very bored and had to push myself through the pages. But, once I hit about halfway through, the book picked up its pace and I struggled to put it down.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It was a delightful read with a great storyline about women's empowerment and gives an interesting look at the early stages of the women's suffrage movement of the 1800s.
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