It’s shocking to realize how little I knew about women’s fight to earn the vote, and the terrible toll it took on those first few (and incredibly brave) Suffragettes.
The story told in this spell-binding release by Galia Gichon is historically accurate, which makes the emotional whallup it packs all the more devastating. Taking us back to a time beginning in 1911, we follow thirty-something Helen Fox, her husband Albert, and their four children, as they manage to just get by, their lives a constant struggle against poverty and hardship, the factory whistle a constant reminder of the toil required to just get through another day.
As Helen and her family must suddenly face unexpected tragedy, the circumstances leading up to it open a long and necessary path that Helen finds herself unable to avoid. Caught up in a cause that she knows, deep inside, to be absolutely essential and “right” (pun intended!), Helen becomes a crusader for women’s rights, at a time when the movement is only just beginning, and the battle ahead promises to be fierce.
Just how fierce, and how appalling, I had little clue.
The author does a wonderful job managing a difficult and emotional story line, allowing us glimpses into the family life, cultural context, political arena, wartime attitudes and the just plain bleakness life could take in its unfolding in the beginning of the twentieth century. Especially if you had the misfortune to be born a woman, and a poverty-stricken one at that.
Helen’s courageous path, and the related historical journey laid out in this well-written and mind-altering story, comes as a timely and welcome reminder in a time period, a hundred years later, when new atrocities such as those captured by the “Me Too” movement, can still rear their ugly head.
I fear, unfortunately, we are not quite done with this topic, and am grateful to the author for her part in sharing this heart-breaking and inspiring story, – helping us understand, once again, the essential values that we must never take for granted.
A great big thank you to the author and the publisher for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.