When thirteen-year-old Polly befriends two suffragettes in the top floor flat at 6 Chelsea Walk, she finds herself questioning the views of those around her. The Votes for Women campaign strikes a chord with Polly and she becomes determined to join the suffragettes' protest march, even if it means clashing with her family...
A perfect blend of history and story-telling, illuminating women’s place in history and introducing this to today’s readers.
Received in exchange for an honest review from Usborne Publishing UK.
Girls for the Vote follows 13-year-old Polly as she finds herself dragged into a flurry of posters, sashes and women's rights campaigns when her best friend and neighbour, Lily, moves away and two suffragettes (or rather, a suffragette and a suffragist) move in to her apartment instead. Edwina and Violet are the two young women who are fighting for suffrage, among many, many others, and it is through them that Polly begins to see a world of new opportunities. A world where she gets just the same opportunities as mean Maurice downstairs.
"Lily who had recently been to her cousin's wedding, had told Polly that in the marriage service, the bride had to promise to obey her husband. That meant doing whatever he told you, the way Mama always did what Papa said. Really, you might as well stay on at school, if someone was to carry on telling you what to do and not do."
Seeing how her friendship with Edwina and Violet blossomed was heartening indeed, and how they slowly but surely made Polly see what their cause was all about- it never came across as too preachy. Polly absorbed all she was told and still thought about things on her own, from her perspective, in order to make more sense of what the movement was all about. Furthermore, I loved how Polly's friendship with Maurice changed over the course of the story, and it was a very important aspect of the book, I feel. More so than Polly's relationship with her best friend, Lily, though that was portrayed well too.
"Do this, do that. Be a good girl. Do as you're told. Sometimes it seemed this was all she ever heard."
Set in 1914, in a time when women were fighting for basic rights, Girls for the Vote provides a well-balanced look into the suffrage movement, depicting various views within the movement itself. Polly's journey of understanding the need for women's rights is done beautifully, and the message is sent across extremely well. Polly sees all what the women sacrifice and go through to dedicate their lives for the cause, and with the onset of World War One, she further sees how their lives are on the brink of change.
History was blended beautifully with the plot, and the author does a brilliant job in conjuring up the world of 1914 for young readers while giving a thorough look at the need for women's rights. I'd highly recommend this book for all readers, young and old, not just because it conveys its message across brilliantly, but because it does so in the most...fun way possible.
Enjoy factor: 5/5