4 out of 4 stars
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Many of the historical fiction books that I have read have included scenes of ballrooms, worries about fortunes, future, reputation, and honor. This book includes all these elements, yet it has something more. The protagonist of this book makes choices and goes on a journey that will impact her life in a major way. This book also takes a look at the beginning of the suffragette movement and shows the difficulties women faced to get equality.
Mistress Suffragette is written by Diana Forbes and published by Penmore Press. It is a historical fiction set in 1893 America during what was known as the Panic, an economic recession that impacted and destroyed many lives.
Penelope Stanton is at the crossroads of her life. Her old, stable life is crumbling around her, and she must make difficult decisions that will shape her future. The world is experiencing the Panic and her affluent family is one of those who are affected. In order to secure her and the family’s future, her mother tries to push her into the arms of any man that will have her. This is when she meets Mr. Daggers. He is an attractive, rich, and charming man. Save for one problem. Mr. Daggers is already married. However, he does not seem to find this a problem and proposes to make her his mistress. Penelope resists Mr. Daggers offer, and together with her good friend, Lucinda, she leaves for Boston.
Here they meet Verdana, one of the main leaders of the suffrage movement, who is eager for Penelope to join her in the cause. Although at first, she does not have much inclination towards this cause, Penelope soon learns that this is her calling, and becomes heavily involved in the suffrage movement. Penelope thinks that she has run to Boston, away from her troubles, only to find that they seem to follow wherever she goes.
I liked the fact that the book was not predictable, and that the main character Penelope is not flawless. Her career is progressing on the one hand, yet on the other hand, she is regressing in terms of her love life.
I really enjoyed this book and found it both interesting and captivating. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction especially those who would like to get a sense of what it was like for the women who struggled for their rights during this time period and as a reminder of how far we’ve come.
The book has won several awards, such as first place in the Missouri Romance Writers of America(RWA) “Gateway to the Best” contest in Women’s fiction, first place in the Book Excellence Awards for Romance and several other favorable commendations.
Much of the time period is based on true events although not all facts are strictly adhered to, according to the author. Some of the other characters in the book are also inspired by certain individuals who lived at that time.
Some historical fiction books tend to be written in heavy language to portray the language of the time and to seem more historically accurate. However, in this book the style of writing is relatively modern and easy to read. The characters are well crafted, the storyline is interesting, and the book is well written. Therefore, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars.
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