Wednesday, 25 October 2017

The Princess and The Suffragette by Holly Webb (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

This hardback version is gorgeous! Looks luxurious, and feels nice to the touch. Love how cute it is! The colours are signifcant...
5th October 2017, Scholastic, 240 pages, Hardback, Review copy 

Summary from Scholastic
Holly’s dreamy new sequel to classic story A Little Princess. Rags, riches and a fight for rights! It’s 1913, and Britain’s young women want change. All over London, they’re uniting to demand a vote – a real voice. Meanwhile, life at Miss Minchin’s school feels as dull as ever for Lottie, the smallest girl from the first book. But when Lottie sneaks out to a Suffragette protest, she’s swept up into the fight for women’s rights. A fight that means defying her cold, strict father – and learning a big secret about her missing mother…

Nayu's thoughts
Ever since I was little I've adored A Little Princess by Hodgson Frances Burnette, which Holly's book is a sequel to. It's about a rich girl at boarding school who ends up poor (and mistretead there) before finally becoming rich again, who is generally very kind to others no matter her circumstances. I've reviewed the audio version here.
I love it so much I do have different versions!
I'm also a huge Holly fangirl having read and enjoyed a fair few of her animal stories, some of which I've reviewed on this blog (I love the winter themed books). Usually once a year I watch the anime version of A Little Princess called Princess Sara (which I prefer some bits to the book, though it does keep true to a lot of the main elements).

I've read another sequel to The Little Princess, Wishing For Tomorrow by Hilary McKay 
  This is completely separate from Holly's sequel, explores different issues and just like Holly's sequel is a brilliant read. I only mention it because I was a bit confused at there being two!

Holly takes on an older Lottie who is less of a brat thanks to Sara (who now lives next door to Miss Minchen's boarding school) and to simply growing up. There's a sentence somewhere which mentions Lottie is no longer a 4 year old whose only problem is brushing (or not brushing) her hair and being allowed to eat cake-this is so true. I watched as her childhood innocence (similar to mine & a lot of children) was washed away with tears upon learning the awful events involving the suffragettes, whose suffering led to me and every other woman in the UK being able to vote just like men do. 

My first time of learning about human cruelty was the Holocaust, and I sympathised with Lottie when she saw some horrifying events in the flesh (rather than just seeing photos in a newspaper). I never forget being in floods of tears when I learnt it at school, that's when my childhood ended, just like when Lottie learns there are things you can't unsee, which strikes a passion in her young heart, one that increases with each dismissive letter her father sends, more so when some family truths are brought to life and change Lottie's life forever. 

I liked how Sara didn't always agree with what Lottie was doing because Lotie learnt to stand on her own two feet, no longer kicking them around in a tantrum, and also found an unlikely friend in someone who wasn't as warm and gentle as Sara but who grew to love Lottie in her own way, with a few tear making moments. I loved the immense plot twist Holly took Lottie through, as the repercussions are immense and created a girl I was rooting for every step, no matter how high off the ground she got (literally in a thrilling final few chapters) or how grubby her dress got (Much to some people's disgust)

She still was friends with Ermingarde, a girl who I got to know a bit more and feel sorry for. Top mean girl Lavinia makes a reappearance but the story's focus is primarily on the once a brat Lottie turned women's rights protestor who does her best despite her restricted circumstances. Apparently next year will be 100 years since the Suffragettes took action, sometimes peaceful, quite a few times violent which both Lottie & I didn't like learning about. I probably learnt a bit about the suffragettes at school, but I'd totally forgotten what they did apart from getting women the right to learn. I was equally horrified as Lottie learnt what happened to the Suffragettes. I may not always agree with what they did, but I have respect for their achievement and guts. 

Find out more on Holly's website

If you buy The Princess and the Suffragette from Scholastic it comes with a free copy of A Little Princess!!! So no excuses for not knowing the original story!

Suggested read
Check out the rest of Holly's books, including another sequel to a classic tale Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E, short 'n' sweet review)