'Jack stands in the dark on the landing of the old house, and looks at his feet....He has been here for minutes, his hand on the door handle, debating whether or not to go in.
A high -ceilinged room lit only by candles.
Thirteen chairs, one empty.
Twelve mysterious storytellers, waiting to begin.
Come in ! Take your place. We have been expecting you. Do you dare to listen to our stories? Do you dare to tell your own?
Jack is a curious boy.
Are you curious too?'
Well that's a pretty enticing way into a story if ever I read one.
The reason why I haven't been quite enticed is the book fairy also sent 'Sally Heathcote Suffragette' by Mary M Talbot, Kate Charlesworth+Bryan Talbot
Gripping read which would be brilliant for 10 upwards particularly if there's already a bit of background knowledge around force feeding/cat and mouse act etc. It's a graphic novel which therefore makes the images of Sally being force fed whilst in prison, the violence towards the suffragettes even more striking but also harrowing to read. I couldn't put this book because both the words and the pictures combine for that compelling read on feel. I had read excellent reviews of the book already but hadn't found myself a copy as yet so it was perfect timing because I was able to read in one sitting during the last day of the holidays. I really liked the flow and style of the story which took you through the important years in the struggle for votes for women without appearing to be short changing us on the history but also not over loading - just right for facts and pertinent events, some not so well known as others. I found it very moving as the story starts with an elderly lady who has a medal and other important clues to her past by her bedside, then we're privy to her memories and the story of how she came by them. I hadn't really thought about the details of what it would have been like to be part of the movement - just really only recall the cat and mouse act from history lessons and famous images from the time. This book tells of the divisions amongst key leaders in the movement, how the struggle became more violent and the day to day life of these pioneers. I hesitate to say it is from an ordinary women's perspective because clearly these people were not ordinary, but from one of the many Suffragettes whose names are not always recalled in our history books so readily. It's another one of those books everybody should read...Yes I know there are a lot but please read this-particularly if you're a voting woman and I'm sorry but Russell Brand you might need to take note of the last page of this book too.
Lastly but of course no means least is 'True Grit' by Bear Grylls. This is a collection of stories about Bear's true heroes written in a style which could be easily read by 8+ with the proviso that some of these true stories about astonishing feats of survival are very gruelling, harrowing, tragic. I did know about some of the folk in the book as you will too but there are others who are certainly not as well known to me for example Nancy Wake. I'm ashamed to say I didn't know much about Nancy although I have read 'Charlotte Gray' some of which is based on her life.
I make no apology for writing about another remarkable woman-we still don't seem to hear about female amazing feats as much as we should. Nancy was a fighter in the French resistance and evaded capture so many times that she was nicknamed 'the white mouse'. A french colleague said of her "She is the most feminine woman I know until the fighting starts. Then, she is like five men".