Book Review – Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls

things a bright girl can doThrough rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.

Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women’s freedom.

May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who’s grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.

But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?

***

gold_star-svggold_star-svggold_star-svg  3/5 Stars.

I liked lots of things about this book, the characters are interesting, you learn about the timeline without it being preachy and the relationships are good. However. It felt like two stories, the two threads don’t interact. Evelyn and Teddy is probably my least favourite (though I do love Teddy!!), but I love the stuff with her indignation and her family at the start, and all the stuff towards the end – it does an excellent job of portraying the war and is really poignant. I wanted to know what they did next though especially in relation to Teddy. (Wow that’s a hard one to discuss without spoilers!)

I much preferred the tale of May and Nell, or more specifically, Nell. May is a naive and self involved so and so half the time! Nell is excellent, and the story of her family and her relationships would have been great for me on their own. While not perfect, I really liked her character and her growth. I loved her early interactions with May and her discoveries about herself toward the end. I think I’d have quite liked her story, with May as a side character, more fleshed out as the book on its own.

A good read, but nothing stellar for me sadly, it’s a bit let down by telling two stories that are only related by timeline and therefore don’t interact enough to be relevant.

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