After reading, and loving, Webb’s sequel to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s ‘The Secret Garden,’ I was delighted to see learn that she had also reimagined Hodgson Burnett’s beloved classic ‘The Little Princess,’ but set against the tempestuous backdrop of the Suffragette movement of the early 20th century.
Still set in the prim and proper Miss Minchin’s school, the story centres around Lottie, a girl whose father sent her to live at the seminary at the age of four after the apparent death of her mother. Lottie cannot help but feel there’s more to life than following pointless rules and behaving ‘like a proper young lady’ when out in public.
Feeling stifled by her life at present, and angry at her distant father, Lottie takes an interest in the upsurgance of the women’s rights movement and the daring actions of the Suffragettes. Determined to support the cause and exert her own mind, she develops a friendship with one of the young maids working at the school. The two of them embark on a friendship which will see them both find the empowerment their long for and uncover a long-hidden secret about Lottie’s missing mother.
This story revisited favourite old characters and introduced us to the new class of young ladies sent to improve themselves at Miss Minchin’s. It comes at a time when women’s rights are, once again, very much at the forefront of politics. And although women do now give the right to vote, other rights are being taken away and the gender pay gap still gapes.
Historic events and fictional characters are carefully interwoven to introduce a new generation of girls and boys to the struggle against inequality fought by women decades ago and which still continues now.
A rallying call and timely reminder ahead of next year’s 100th anniversary of The Representation of the People Act and the legalisation of the right of the women’s vote, to fight for your convictions and equal rights for all.
If you’d like to read more about Emmeline Pankhurst (leader of the Suffragette movement), you might like to try THIS book.
For Webb’s fabulous reimagining of one of my childhood favourites, The Secret Garden, click HERE.
*Many thanks to Scholastic for sending me this title to review*