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To me, their fight was about validation, acknowledgement and respect.
The vote was finally granted to women over the age of 30 in February 1918 and then, ten years later, granted to women over 21 giving them equal standing with men. When we look back it is almost unfathomable that women were not given a voice when so many of them worked in service, retail and factories all over the country. Were they not effected as much, maybe even more, by financial, welfare and domestic decisions as men?
It is not hard to imagine the conversations that occurred between women all over the world about the injustice of having to work and raise children, to obey and service families with a budget deemed acceptable by fathers and husbands. How could the government not anticipate that women would eventually rise up? Would revolt?
After all, they were sending a clear message to women - You Do Not Matter.
Hence the battle that spanned decades bringing women together to form a solid, unshakeable, force that would not be silenced without victory.
The suffragists were the peaceful campaigners, relying on rallies and appeals, letters to MPs and people of influence. Then emerged the suffragettes, frustrated, angry and filled with determination. These women concluded only militant action would ensure they were heard. That it was only with drastic action that the press would provide space for them in their newspaper pages.
I have wanted to write a novel with women’s suffrage as the backdrop for many years but couldn’t seem to find the heroine whose story I wanted to tell. At least, I didn’t until I began to write the first book in my Pennington’s Department Store series, The Mistress of Pennington’s.
It wasn’t very far into writing the first draft that a secondary character emerged and I knew I had found the woman to tell my ‘suffrage story’. Esther Stanbury was raised by a mother who had been active in the fight since Esther was a young girl. When her mother died, Esther pushed forward with the Cause…much to her father’s disappointment.
Banished from her home and sent to live in Bath with her aunt, Esther’s passion and determination as a suffragist did not falter. In A Rebel At Pennington’s, Esther grows and changes, eventually being faced with the dilemma of whether to join the suffragettes as her frustrations only grow more profound.
I loved writing this book and I loved writing Esther with all her beliefs, virtues and flaws. A Rebel At Pennington’s is most definitely a book of my heart and I hope readers feel that as they turn the pages.
Owner of the prestigious Phoenix Hotel, Lawrence Culford has what most would view as a successful life. But Lawrence is harbouring shame, resentment and an anger that threatens his future happiness.
When Esther and Lawrence meet their mutual understanding of life's challenges unites them and they are drawn to the possibility of a life of love that neither thought existed.
With the Coronation of King-Emperor George V looming, the atmosphere in Bath is building to fever pitch, as is the suffragists' determination to secure the vote.
Will Esther's rebellious nature lead her to ruin or can they overcome their pasts and look to build a future together?
Read an Excerpt:
She looked towards Lawrence.
He softly studied her, and her cheeks warmed. The way he looked at her inferred he was equally moved by Mrs Hadley’s sadness. Esther looked away. He, too, was widowed. Had he and his wife once shared the same love that Grace Hadley spoke of?
Shamed by the jolt of jealousy that shot through her, Esther walked to stand behind a pillar that blocked Lawrence’s sight of her but gave her full view of Mrs Hadley. A familiar sense of unworthiness knotted Esther’s stomach. If Lawrence understood Grace Hadley’s words and sorrow, then, he too, must have known deep and meaningful love.
She would never be enough to compete with such a ghost. Would never be enough to be with a man who bore such longing for a person he’d lost. If she listened to her body and how it so treacherously reacted to Lawrence, her attraction to him would only end badly when the moment came that she’d inevitably held something of herself back.
She could not forgo everything she had built. Somehow, she had to find the strength to fight the temptation of Lawrence’s gaze and quash the yearning to see him again…to see his children again. The emotions he’d evoked in her proved her capable of feeling. Something she had doubted for so very long. Her meeting him had been worth that, at least.
About the Author:
In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store. The first book, The Mistress of Pennington’s released July 2018 with book two coming February 2019.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America and has thousands of social media followers from all over the world. To sign up for her quarterly and new release newsletter, click here to go to her website: https://rachelbrimble.com/
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Rachel-Brimble/e/B007829ZRM/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1490948101&sr=8-1
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