Love's Tyranny (by Liz Newman)

I'm slightly puzzled to find that this e-book is listed as being written by Liz Newman, since I know the author by another first name, but perhaps there's a reason for the pseudonym. She doesn't have a web page (and is not the American writer with the same name) but lives in the UK, in quite frail health. I was privileged to read an early draft of this book some years ago, and delighted to learn that it was recently published in e-book form.

'Love's Tyranny' is set at the turn of the 20th century. It's a story revolving around the early Suffrage movement, when women began to realise that they could do as much as men, and deserved to be recognised for their skills. It paints a moving picture of life for many impoverished women, employed at a mill in Manchester, where their health is seriously at risk.

Josie, the heroine of the book, has been left a small shop and is determined to make it a success, while keeping an eye out for her troubled teenage niece Sarah. What Josie doesn't expect is that she will meet and fall in love... and, in this era, she must eventually decide whether she cares more for the cause she is working for, or the man who would like to marry her.

The characterisation is good, and the pace works well. There are descriptions, just enough to give me a general feeling of where each scene was set, but without becoming boring. This novel is based on a true story, and includes some real people by name (such as the Pankhurst family) but I could not tell where the line was between history and fiction. I found it very readable, and felt I had a much better understanding of an era I knew little about, as well as quite an affection for Josie.

My only problem with this e-book is that there are two places where the same section is repeated; I don't think anything is missing, but I had to page through a couple of chapters in one place to find where the story continued. There are also some minor formatting errors on my Kindle, and a few typing or punctuation errors in the early pages; happily there were very few of these as the book progressed, so it's worth persevering through them.

Recommended if you like light historical fiction and are interested in women's rights in the early 1900s.

Review by copyright 2014 Sue's Book Reviews

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