cover_9781849547956_-_CopyA disclaimer that Lyndsey (@teadevotee) is a friend from my early book blogging days, and one of the few bloggers I actually met in person. So please don’t think me biased if I say this was a great book, both as a biography of one of the most prominent British suffragettes, and a brief history of the movement itself.

As Lyndsey pointed out, Lady Constance was an unlikely suffragette – a top-echelon aristocrat, introvert, devoted to family and mother, for whom she sacrificed a budding career. Her path towards becoming a militant suffragette is remarkable and, even after finishing the book, still a mystery.

Lady Constance is not an easy person to understand, so I enjoyed the parts where Lyndsey explored her contradictions, intentions, tendency towards martyrdom and obsession, and relationships with the people around her. The book gives you the facts, and asks you to look at them from different perspectives. For instance, Lady Constance disguised herself as a working-class suffragette to experience what prison was like for women that didn’t receive special treatment because of their class. She paid dearly for that experience… but did she do it to make a point about class, or to prove herself to the movement’s larger-than-life leaders?

The history of the British suffrage movement in general is fascinating and led to hours spent on Wikipedia. (Do you know the difference between a suffragist and a suffragette? Now I do!) The description of the movement’s escalation of violence, is especially relevant considering ongoing discussions about terrorism, and its causes.

If I met Lyndsey again for tea and waffles I’d shower her with questions, but the one that’s still haunting me days after finishing the book is: what do you think would’ve happened to the suffragette movement and its cause if World War I hadn’t happened?

Any good recommendations on the women’s suffrage? 


Other thoughts: Fingers and Prose