Review: No Surrender- Constance Maud

13 - No Surrender

Rating – 3*

No Surrender is a very rare find – an out and out suffragette novel. It is billed on the Persephone catalogue as just that, which doesn’t seem something outstanding but really, there aren’t any suffragette novels so this one is something special.

This book is something remarkable. It is a multi-faceted look at the suffragette movement of the early 20th century; from the mill workers to the upper levels of society. It looks at how the movement impacted on them and why they were passionate about it. It wasn’t just about gaining a vote as many people think, it was so much more than that and sadly so much more still needs to be done.

The primary character is Jenny, a young mill worker who wants so much and not just for herself, very little of it is for herself, but it is for the people she loves. She wants her sister to have rights to her children, her mother to have right to finances, and she wants equal pay for equal work. When Jenny meets Mary, a young, upper class girl, their joint skill-set proves powerful. Their different perspectives represent the cross section of women who fought for this change to the lives of women and children.

There is no doubting it, this book is powerful. It really brings home how determined and passionate these women were. Some of the passages in this book, particularly when the girls are subject to force feeding, are hard reading. But however uncomfortable it was, I kept reading because the fictional women in this book give voice to the hundreds of nameless women who fought for the freedoms that we, as women, have today. Sadly, there is a lot that needs to still be done even 100+ years on for equality, in both Britain and across the rest of the world. But this book really brings it home how lucky women today are.

However, this book wasn’t without flaws and while it really made me think I didn’t particularly enjoy the writing. I found it clunky, I found it hard to get through, when I put the book down I had to force myself to pick it up again. I am so glad I read this and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to read a brutal, albeit fictional, account of the early Suffrage movement in the UK. But it has to be 3* as I didn’t enjoy the writing all that much.

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5 thoughts on “Review: No Surrender- Constance Maud

    • If you’re talking about Suffragette, I do have the DVD sitting on my shelf but I’m in the middle of writing my dissertation so I shall be watching it when that’s finally over!!
      I loved what the book was about, I really enjoyed the plot, it was a really powerful book but I just didn’t connect with the writing. I feel like I’m in a minority for saying that, and giving it only 3*, as most people on goodreads have given this 4/5*! It’s really impossible to say that this is a bad book, it’s an amazing book and an important book at that. Just I didn’t respond to the writing; but I’m lucky in that I can separate the two (writing and plot) and acknowledge where this book was brilliant.
      I didn’t intentionally read any of the books I read this month, but a lot of my reading really coincided beautifully with Women’s History Month! 😀

      • That’s a good skill to have! Good luck with your dissertation – I know it can be all-consuming so you will deserve that rest when it’s all over. What are you studying/doing your dissertation on?

      • I study Natural Sciences, majoring in chemistry and biology – my dissertation is on protein engineering and application of bioinformatics. I regret my decision every day! xD I wish I had done one humanities subject at A Level to just open doors for me, but I was encouraged to do 3 sciences which left me on a path that has taken me 6 years to realise is not the right one! Only 2 and a half months and it will all be over, thank goodness!
        I realised that I put the wrong title in this review. Oops!

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