Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

The Suffragette Scandal

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Suffragette Scandal (2014) Courtney Milan

Set in England in 1877

Free Marshall has done the things she told her brother Oliver she would, including going to college. Now she runs a women’s newspaper that calls for rights for women and points out injustices. (Free was based a bit on Nelly Bly.)

She wagged a finger at him. “You’re mispronouncing that word.”

“Your pardon?” He groped, trying to remember what he’d said.

“Suffragette? How does one pronounce it, then?”

“Suffragette,” she said, “is pronounced with an exclamation point at the end. Like this: ‘Huzzah! Suffragettes!’”

Edward Clark was abandoned by his family, and after years away is fine with his brother taking the estate–fine until he discovers his brother is trying to ruin his childhood friend, Stephen Shaughnessy, and so he returns to England against his better judgment.

When the declaration of war had come, Edward had written to his father, asking for the means to return to England. It had been a blow when his father refused. He’d said that if Edward didn’t believe in the family honor, he needn’t rely on the family’s help.

But it was James who had taken matters two steps further. When Edward had arrived at the British Consulate in Strasbourg two steps ahead of the advancing army, the consular secretary had declared him an impostor. The secretary had received a letter to that effect, after all—a letter signed by James himself. Edward had been called a liar and a profiteer and he’d been tossed out on his ear.

With that had vanished Edward’s last hope of financial assistance or a pass of safe-conduct.

“I wept when you could not be recovered,” James told him.

Edward was sure that was true, too. James would no doubt have felt very sorry. If he hadn’t, he would have been forced to admit he was a vile betrayer who’d secretly hoped his brother would die. No man saw himself as a villain. James had done what he’d needed to do, and then he’d lied to himself about his actions.

Talk about a shitty family.

We also get some other ends tied up with this story, including Genevieve Johnson (from The Heiress Effect) and Amanda Ellisford (Violet’s niece from The Countess Conspiracy) which I did like.

“That column you wrote,” Miss Johnson said, “that one from six months ago, about the life a woman could have without a man. The one you wrote in response to Lord Hasslemire? I felt that one.” She set her hand on her belly. “I felt it here, when you wrote about how Hasslemire talked about a lady’s life as a collection of things that women did for men. When you said that a woman could exist for herself, without needing to serve someone else’s needs…” Miss Johnson smiled. “Do you know how many women clipped that column and sent it to me? Seven.

What I wasn’t sure about in this story was the end–there were parts of the HEA that bothered me, mostly Edward’s actions. They just felt–strange and weird and just a bit out of time. Yes, things had started to change quickly at that point in history, but I’m not sure if they had changed quite enough for his actions.

Free’s actions I’m fine with, interestingly enough, and I’m ok with Edward through most of the book until the very end. Perhaps because *all* the compromise seemed to come from him. That just seemed… unfair.
Rating: 7.5/10

Published by Courtney Milan

Categories: British, Historical, Re-Read, Romance, Sexual Content     Comments (0)    

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