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Old Baggage by Lissa Evans
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Old Baggage

by Lissa Evans

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Matilda Simpkin used to be a Suffragette, she was imprisoned for her cause and still fights for votes for women. However in the genteel Hampstead of 1928 Mattie is a bit of a rebel without much of a cause. She lives in company with a Health Visitor, Florence Lee (The Flea), and writes a column for the local newspaper. However when Mattie decides to fight for the education of young woman then she becomes impassioned. Forming a group called 'The Amazons', Mattie believes in health and education but her counterparts are influenced by Mussolini and nationalistic pride.
I really loved the majority of this book. Mattie is a complex character with a huge backstory and I loved the descriptions of the Suffragette movement. I also liked the fact that Mattie could not read other characters well, The Flea's unrequited passion, her brother's lechery and the presumed innocence of Major Lumb. My biggest issue with this book was that after the incident in the competition between the two youth groups on the Heath the book lost its way. Too many jumps and unheralded switches in plot made the last section confusing and it lacked the verve of the majority. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Aug 19, 2018 |
Such a great novel, it made me want to go back and read her previous book in which the main character first appears.
Mattie is a former suffragette now in her early 60s trying to deal with the failure of the vote for some women making significant differences to the lives to all women by the late 1920s, as well as the fallout personally after WW1. Evans brings together a wonderful liveliness as well as lightly weaving together suffragette memories, repercussions and in 'the Flea', also documenting the very real hardships many working class families faced in the 1920s and 30s before the NHS and social welfare for all.
Also made me laugh out loud. ( )
4 vote charl08 | Jun 29, 2018 |
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SECOND WORLD WAR FICTION. What do you do next, after you've changed the world? It is 1928. Matilda Simpkin, rooting through a cupboard, comes across a small wooden club - an old possession of hers, unseen for more than a decade. Mattie is a woman with a thrilling past and a chafingly uneventful present. During the Women's Suffrage Campaign she was a militant. Jailed five times, she marched, sang, gave speeches, smashed windows and heckled Winston Churchill, and nothing - nothing - since then has had the same depth, the same excitement. Now in middle age, she is still looking for a fresh mould into which to pour her energies. Giving the wooden club a thoughtful twirl, she is struck by an idea - but what starts as a brilliantly idealistic plan is derailed by a connection with Mattie's militant past, one which begins to threaten every principle that she stands for.… (more)

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