Book Review- The Princess and the Suffragette by Holly Webb
The Princess and the Suffragette by Holly Webb is a sequel to the ever so famous ‘ A little Princess ‘ by Frances Burnett. Unlike ‘A Little Princess ‘, this book is centered around Lottie, the smallest girl from the orphanage. It is 1913 and nine years after the little princess escaped Miss Minchin’s orphanage, women are ready to fight for their rights. All around London, women are uniting in their desire for a voice, for a vote.
But life at Miss Minchin’s feels as dull as ever for Lottie until Sara visits her again and informs her about the suffragette movements. Soon Lottie finds herself sneaking out in order to attend a demonstration, she is swept up in woman’s rights movement- celebrating the joy of friendship and female empowerment- defying the will her own cold and distant father. Also, uncovering a secret about her own missing mother…
In the first book, ‘A Little Princess ‘, Sara has been rescued by her father’s business partner and is living happily. This book is set nine years after that incident and is based around Lottie who is now eleven and questioning her life. Questions like why her father is so cold and never visits her, or what is going on outside Miss Minchin’s orphanage?
She is often visited by her friend Sara Crewe who informs her about the famous Suffragette movement which took place in 1913. Lottie, trying to get away from her current situation in life, sneaks out and witnesses these riots for herself, immediately falling in love with the movement and how a woman is standing up to a government of men.
Soon a simple movement turns into a clue of finding her missing mother. Her father never talked about her, her father is a cruel and cold man. Later Lottie with the help of Sara, Lottie dives deeper into her past to find more clues about her mother and her state. In the end, little Lottie goes through a lot of danger, because of the void left in her heart, a void that can only be filled by a mother’s love.
The Princess and the Suffragette are just one of many books written as a supposed sequel to ‘ The Little Princess’. I love the way Holly Webb has woven this book from start to finish, instead of focusing on Sara Crewe she focuses on a Lottie and her future which I find very interesting. Lottie used to be a small girl, however, due to the book being set nine years ahead, she is now eleven and at a stage in her life where she has matured enough to understand how big the suffragette movement is and feels a rebellious liking to it.
She is also questioning the coldness her own family has shown towards her. When you read this book for the first time, you get glimpses of Lottie’s personality, where she is portrayed to be quiet and shy.
As the story unfolds you find there is a marked difference in Lottie’s personality and the readers are simply blown away by how fast this character progresses, never taking away the little child in her though. A great book for anybody who is a fan of Frances Burnett or has a fascination for women’s rights. Holly Webb has done a good amount of research to write this book and her efforts do not go in vain. An incredible magical twist to the past !!
“Suddenly it all seemed desperately dreary.”
One element I love about the whole book is the Victorian setting which really adds a dramatic time for a change and this story reflects that. This book is best recommended for readers between the ages of 9 to 15.
If you are into historical fiction, this would be the perfect book for you to read. This book also includes a lot about Emmeline Pankhurst, who was the leader of the suffragette movement, to begin with. This book strongly reflects historical fiction, feminism, and children’s genre.
A splendid read, which I have enjoyed as much as the first book. Not only did Holly Webb include a feministic aspect by basing the whole book around the women’s rights movement, but she makes Holly stand up for herself, a big difference from the shy girl in the first book.
About the Authors
Frances Eliza Hodgson Burnett was an English-American author and playwright who was best known for writing children’s books. Her top three children’s books include ‘ A little Princess ‘, ‘Lord Fauntleroy’ and ‘The Secret Garden’. Born in Manchester, Chetham, England, she settled in Nassau County, New York, where she died in 1924 and was buried at the Roslyn Cemetery.
Holly Webb is an author of British origin who was born in 1976. She attended Newnham College, at Oxford University where she studied classics. Currently living with her husband and three kids, Ash, Robin and William, outside Reading, her works have been translated into numerous languages including Russian and Polish. She has been named one of the top ten most popular children’s writers in Russia in 2016. Holly Webb is also very popular in Poland. It has been said that one of her books, Maisie Hitchins and the case of the Phantom Cat, was the fifth bestselling books for teenagers.
Overall, I give ‘The Princess and the Suffragette’ a five-star rating for an amazing storyline describing how far the act of bravery can do to win women’s rights!