Title: Rebel Writers – The Accidental Feminists

Author: Celia Brayfield

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

The Blurb

In London in 1958, a play by a 19-year-old redefined women’s writing in Britain. It also began a movement that would change women’s lives forever. The play was A Taste of Honey and the author, Shelagh Delaney, was the first in a succession of young women who wrote about their lives with an honesty that dazzled the world. They rebelled against sexism, inequality and prejudice and in doing so challenged the existing definitions of what writing and writers should be. Bypassing the London cultural elite, their work reached audiences of millions around the world, paved the way for profound social changes and laid the foundations of second-wave feminism. 

After Delaney came Edna O’Brien, Lynne Reid-Banks, Charlotte Bingham, Nell Dunn, Virginia Ironside and Margaret Forster; an extraordinarily disparate group who were united in their determination to shake the traditional concepts of womanhood in novels, films, television, essays and journalism. They were as angry as the Angry Young Men, but were also more constructive and proposed new ways to live and love in the future. They did not intend to become a literary movement but they did, inspiring other writers to follow. Not since the Brontës have a group of young women been so determined to tell the truth about what it is like to be a girl. 

In this biographical study, the acclaimed author, Celia Brayfield, tells their story for the first time.

The Review

Rebel Writers is a great book that looks at the lives of important feminist writers and the impact that they had. It focuses on Shelagh Delany, Edna O’Brien, Lynne Reid-Banks, Charlotte Billingham, Nell Dun, Virginia Ironside, Margaret Forster and throws in a little bit about Francoise Sagan to boot.

What is great about Rebel Writers is that if you don’t know who some of the writers are (and I must admit that there were three on the above list that I didn’t know anything about) you come away at the end of the book knowing about them and more importantly understanding the cultural impact that they had. Even more interesting is the social history discussed in this novel and the way the patriarchy really tried to oppress these young ladies in a multitude of ways. Their feisty nature and the changing world around them allowed them to grow and retain their dignity if not necessarily always giving them equal rights.

Whether read for entertainment purposes or as an academic text Celia Brayfield’s look at these writers is fascinating and definitely worth a read.

Rebel Writers – The Accidental Feminists by Celia Brayfield is available now.

For more information regarding Celia Brayfield (@highcixiety) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury Publishing (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

Title: The Mercies

Author: Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Pages: 345 Pages

Publisher: Pan Macmillan

The Blurb

Winter, 1617. The sea around the remote Norwegian island of Vardø is thrown into a reckless storm. A young woman, Maren, watches as the men of the island, out fishing, perish in an instant. Vardø is now a place of women.

Eighteen months later, a sinister figure arrives. Summoned from Scotland to take control of a place at the edge of the civilized world, Absalom Cornet knows what he needs to do to bring the women of the island to heel. With him travels his young wife, Ursa. In her new home, and in Maren, Ursa finds something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place flooded with a terrible evil, one he must root out at all costs . . .

The Review

I have heard nothing but great things about The Mercies. Everyone I spoke to who had read it recommended it to me. It came with a lot of expectations that for me weren’t met.

This is not a slight against Kiran Millwood Hargrave. The premise of The Mercies makes it sound like it is my kind of book – an LGBT historical fiction with a feminist slant and persecution due to the belief in witches but I just didn’t gel with the story. It seems I am in the minority among my friends so this may have been a case of right book wrong time but at this point it wasn’t for me.

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave is available now.

For more information regarding Kiran Millwood Hargrave (@Kiran_MH)please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Pan Macmillan (@panmacmillan) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.

Title: More than a Woman

Author: Caitlin Moran

Pages: 277 Pages

Publisher: Ebury Press

The Blurb

The author of the international bestseller How to Be a Woman returns with another “hilarious neo-feminist manifesto” (NPR) in which she reflects on parenting, middle-age, marriage, existential crises—and, of course, feminism.

A decade ago, Caitlin Moran burst onto the scene with her instant bestseller, How to Be a Woman, a hilarious and resonant take on feminism, the patriarchy, and all things womanhood. Moran’s seminal book followed her from her terrible 13th birthday through adolescence, the workplace, strip-clubs, love, and beyond—and is considered the inaugural work of the irreverent confessional feminist memoir genre that continues to occupy a major place in the cultural landscape.

Since that publication, it’s been a glorious ten years for young women: Barack Obama loves Fleabag, and Dior make “FEMINIST” t-shirts. However, middle-aged women still have some nagging, unanswered questions: Can feminists have Botox? Why isn’t there such a thing as “Mum Bod”? Why do hangovers suddenly hurt so much? Is the camel-toe the new erogenous zone? Why do all your clothes suddenly hate you? Has feminism gone too far? Will your To Do List ever end? And WHO’S LOOKING AFTER THE CHILDREN?

As timely as it is hysterically funny, this memoir/manifesto will have readers laughing out loud, blinking back tears, and redefining their views on feminism and the patriarchy. More Than a Woman is a brutally honest, scathingly funny, and absolutely necessary take on the life of the modern woman—and one that only Caitlin Moran can provide. 

The Review

I am a little bit in love with Caitlin Moran. Okay, this is an understatement. I love her that much that I know the my gentleman friend would understand if I left him for her (please don’t ask me to). I truly believe that she is my patronus and that one day if evil should befall me and I should call on her that she would be by my side, fag in hand, sarcastic comment at the ready. That is just how much I love her. In my eyes, she can do no wrong. For that reason alone I knew I would love More than a Woman. Fortunately for Caitlin Moran, her writing warrants that love.

In More than a Woman we see the more grown up Caitlin Moran. She has changed in the past 10 years since How to be a Woman was released. Her opinions have changed, her lifestyle has changed, many things are different now but what is great about Caitlin Moran is that she is willing to accept change, admit that she has changed her mind and still own it. She is an example to us all.

Some of the later chapters did leave me feeling broken and there is a sadness that maybe isn’t seen as much in her earlier works. It makes you want to wrap her up in a great big hug and tell her that it will all be okay. 

I really loved More than a Woman and I think Caitlin Moran is consistently brave with her writing. It is for that reason that I believe people love and believe in her.

More than a Woman by Caitlin Moran is available now.

For more information regarding Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) please visit www.caitlinmoran.co.uk.

For more information regarding Ebury Press (@EburyPublishing) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: The Book of Gutsy Women – Favourite Stories of Courage and Resilience

Author: Chelsea Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton

Pages: 464 Pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

The Blurb

She couldn’t have been more than seven or eight years old. “Go ahead, ask your question,” her father urged, nudging her forward. She smiled shyly and said, “You’re my hero. Who’s yours?”
Many people—especially girls—have asked us that same question over the years. It’s one of our favourite topics.

HILLARY: Growing up, I knew hardly any women who worked outside the home. So I looked to my mother, my teachers, and the pages of Life magazine for inspiration. After learning that Amelia Earhart kept a scrapbook with newspaper articles about successful women in male-dominated jobs, I started a scrapbook of my own. Long after I stopped clipping articles, I continued to seek out stories of women who seemed to be redefining what was possible.

CHELSEA: This book is the continuation of a conversation the two of us have been having since I was little. For me, too, my mom was a hero; so were my grandmothers. My early teachers were also women. But I grew up in a world very different from theirs. My paediatrician was a woman, and so was the first mayor of Little Rock who I remember from my childhood. Most of my close friends’ moms worked outside the home as nurses, doctors, teachers, professors, and in business. And women were going into space and breaking records here on Earth.

Ensuring the rights and opportunities of women and girls remains a big piece of the unfinished business of the twenty-first century. While there’s a lot of work to do, we know that throughout history and around the globe women have overcome the toughest resistance imaginable to win victories that have made progress possible for all of us. That is the achievement of each of the women in this book.

So how did they do it? The answers are as unique as the women themselves. Civil rights activist Dorothy Height, LGBTQ trailblazer Edie Windsor, and swimmer Diana Nyad kept pushing forward, no matter what. Writers like Rachel Carson and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie named something no one had dared talk about before. Historian Mary Beard used wit to open doors that were once closed, and Wangari Maathai, who sparked a movement to plant trees, understood the power of role modeling. Harriet Tubman and Malala Yousafzai looked fear in the face and persevered. Nearly every single one of these women was fiercely optimistic—they had faith that their actions could make a difference. And they were right.

To us, they are all gutsy women—leaders with the courage to stand up to the status quo, ask hard questions, and get the job done. So in the moments when the long haul seems awfully long, we hope you will draw strength from these stories. We do. Because if history shows one thing, it’s that the world needs gutsy women.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

I love hearing about amazing women throughout history. More and more books are being released celebrating the lives and achievements of women from the past…and about time too!

For me, the brilliant thing about Gusty Women is the diversity of the women being celebrated. I had only heard of a few of them but even with those that I did know I still managed to learn things about them that I was unaware of.

What was equally enjoyable was the candid style in which the book has been written. Both Chelsea Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton have equal time to speak and extol the virtues of the women celebrated. They make no bones about voicing a controversial opinion such as disagreeing with the current government and also governments of the past.

I really enjoyed this Gutsy Women. It is definitely a palette cleanser of a book. I wouldn’t advise reading it all in one sitting. Cherish it and learn more about the fabulous women inside the pages.

The Book of Gutsy Women – Favourite Stories of Courage and Resilience by Chelsea Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton is available now.

For more information regarding Hilary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) please visit www.onwardstogether.org.

For more information regarding Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) please visit www.facebook.com/chelseaclinton.

For more information regarding Simon & Schuster (@SimonSchusterUK) please visit www.simonandschuster.co.uk.

Title: She is Fierce – Brave, Bold and Beautiful Poems by Women

Author: Ana Sampson

Pages: 304 Pages

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

The Blurb

A stunning gift book containing 150 bold, brave and beautiful poems by women – from classic, well loved poets to innovative and bold modern voices. From suffragettes to school girls, from spoken word superstars to civil rights activists, from aristocratic ladies to kitchen maids, these are voices that deserve to be heard.

Collected by anthologist Ana Sampson She is Fierce: Brave, Bold and Beautiful Poems by Women contains an inclusive array of voices, from modern and contemporary poets. Immerse yourself in poems from Maya Angelou, Nikita Gill, Wendy Cope, Ysra Daley-Ward, Emily Bronte, Carol Ann Duffy, Fleur Adcock, Liz Berry, Jackie Kay, Hollie McNish, Imtiaz Dharker, Helen Dunmore, Emily Dickinson, Mary Oliver, Christina Rossetti, Margaret Atwood and Dorothy Parker, to name but a few! Featuring short biographies of each poet, She is Fierce is a stunning collection and an essential addition to any bookshelf.

The anthology is divided into the following sections: Roots and Growing Up Friendship Love Nature Freedom, Mindfulness and Joy Fashion, society and body image Protest, courage and resistance Endings

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

As I have gotten older I have come to appreciate poetry more than I did as a child. However, my love isn’t for the written word it is for the chosen nuances. I like studying the poem, looking at the writer and discovering why it was written. What is great about the She is Fierce collection is that some of the work is already done for you. You have the poem, you have it categorised into what type of poem it is and then you have a breakdown of the writer. Brilliant.

She is Fierce is a wonderful collection that is compromised of fantastic female voices. Some poems are familiar but the majority are ones that I certainly hadn’t come across before. It was wonderful to find some new and interesting voices.

This is a perfect collection for the feminist poetry lover in your life.

She is Fierce – Brave, Bold and Beautiful Poems by Women by Ana Sampson is available now.

For more information regarding Ana Sampson (@AnaBooks) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Macmillan Children’s Books (@MacmillanKidsUK) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.