My latest choice for ‘The Year in Books’, The Bristol Suffragettes by Lucienne Boyce, was fascinating. Like most people, I’d heard of famous British suffragettes such as the Pankhursts, but I knew little about local women whose own contributions have largely been forgotten by history. As the book revealed, there were many – far too many to name here, in fact, but they included prominent members of the campaign and numerous women who took part in demonstrations, hunger strikes and more.
I had no idea that suffragettes were so active in Bristol, and reading about activity in locations I pass every day was an important reminder of the change they achieved. There were plenty of original photographs to support the accounts, and even a guided walk around some of the places mentioned. It was thought-provoking stuff, and in a world where women are still fighting for equality (and a country where less than a third of MPs are female), their struggle seems as relevant today as ever.
The Bristol Suffragettes was the last pick in my year-long challenge to read books based in Bristol, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my literary journey around the city I call home. I’ve read memoirs that revealed incredible local stories, thrillers whose familiar setting made the action seem all the more real, and historical fiction with vivid imaginings of Bristol’s past. And I’ve seen the city portrayed as beautiful, scruffy, sinister, rebellious and refined – and sometimes all these things at once (which, as I’m sure anyone who knows Bristol would agree, it is).
So, in case you missed anything, here’s a round-up of the titles I’ve covered over the course of 2015 – all highly recommended, whether you know Bristol yourself or just want a good read:
A bit of history:
- Just a Boy from Bristol by Michael Kelly
- Evelina by Frances Burney
- The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman
- The Devil’s Mask by Christopher Wakling
Good old-fashioned page-turners:
And for something completely different:
- The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer
- Clever Girl by Tessa Hadley
- Station to Station by James Attlee
Wherever you live, I’d certainly recommend taking the time to hunt down books set in your local area – you never know what you might learn!
‘The Year in Books’ is run by Laura of Circle of Pine Trees, with the aim of encouraging people to make more time to read. If you’d be interested in taking part in 2016, just head over to the information page for details.