In 1980, Elise follows her lover Connie from London to LA, where Connie’s novel is being adapted into a major film. Their stormy love affair will leave its mark on the city. Three decades later, Rose is on the trail of the mother who left when she was a baby. The only clue she has is a book by elusive novelist Constance Holden, who may hold the key to why her mother left everything behind. Continue reading What The Confession by Jessie Burton Taught Me About Women’s Emotional Labour
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Literary fiction, magical realism
Summary: When David sets out in his fishing boat from the island of Black Conch, on a morning that seems the same as any other, the last thing he expects is to come face-to-face with a mermaid. He always thought such creatures existed only in rumour and legend, but here one stares at his boat in the vulnerable reality of flesh and blood, and he must step in to protect her when American tourists arrive for a hunting trip like no other.
David nurtures trust and then love between himself and the mermaid, desperate to carve out a life for them among the richness and darkness of his island home. Yet it remains to be seen whether this fusion of woman and myth can ever be his to hold onto. Continue reading The Mermaid of Black Conch by Monique Roffey: Alluring Magical Realism
Black History Month may be over, but the process of decolonising our bookshelves shouldn’t be. It all starts with where we get our book recommendations! With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of reading recs from black feminists including Roxane Gay, Candice Carty-Williams, Laverne Cox, Renni Eddo-Lodge, Bernardine Evaristo, and Janet Mock. Whether you’re into historical fiction or powerful memoirs, there’s something for everyone… Continue reading Books Recommended by Black Feminists (Magazine Article)
Maurice Hall appears to be the prototype of the English gentleman – educated at a prestigious school, he will inevitably go on to study at Cambridge then take his place alongside London’s wealthy financiers. Yet when he falls in love with a fellow male student at Cambridge, Maurice feels the ground of convention pulled from beneath his feet. He is forced to make an agonising decision: betray his true self in exchange for a place in polite society, or risk turning his back on this safe and familiar world to live authentically. Continue reading Maurice by E.M. Forster: Should We Ever Overlook Misogyny?
Rating: 3.5 stars
Summary: The USA is perceived as one of the most powerful countries in the world, yet it also has one of the highest maternal death rates. And those rates, already high, skyrocket if you happen to be a woman of colour, a gay or trans parent, or a working-class mother. In Belabored: A Vindication of the Rights of Pregnant Women, Lyz Lenz pulls apart these grim statistics to reveal just how harmful our cultural myths of motherhood have become.
From diminishing access to safe abortion, to the policing of pregnant bodies and the stigma of postnatal depression, the intimate and private act of creating a child has been dragged into the public arena for politicians to debate and everyone else to gossip over, or have an opinion about. Belabored is a furiously feminist manifesto that, finally, puts pregnant people, their bodies, and their choices at the centre. Continue reading Belabored by Lyz Lenz: Sarcastic, Unapologetic Feminist Statement
I wrote this article for ‘We Love Memoirs Day’ which apparently happens every year on 31st August! It features some of my favourite memoirs by women writers, from Audre Lorde to Raynor Winn. I hope you enjoy reading… Continue reading A Dose of Empowerment: My Top 5 Memoirs Written by Women (Magazine Article)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genre: Historical fiction
Summary: Dorothea has enough of her own worries – trying to continue her studies of phrenology under the disapproving eye of her father, dodging her simpering stepmother-to-be at society balls, and dissuading men with matrimonial hopes. Yet when visiting a woman’s prison on charitable errands, she feels drawn to the tragic story of Ruth Butterham, a maid and seamstress condemned to death for the murder of her mistress.
Ruth is an enigma, a girl of only sixteen who has already endured a lifetime of suffering. Always refusing to become a victim, this young prisoner holds onto a burning core of vengefulness that allures and repels Dorothea in equal measure. Is Ruth guilty, or is her confession the product of her own disturbing delusions? Continue reading The Corset by Laura Purcell: Feminist Historical Fiction with a Magical Realism Twist
July is the anniversary of the first Women’s Right’s convention, so I thought it would be the perfect time to share this article I wrote about my favourite non-fiction feminist books! Featuring Roxane Gay, Helena Kennedy, Chelsea Kwakye, Ore Ogunbiyi, Michelle Obama and Mariam Khan… Continue reading Non-Fiction Books to Fortify Your Feminism (Magazine Article)
I recently finished listening to the audiobook of It’s Not About the Burqa, a collection of essays by British Muslim women that is edited by Mariam Khan. A traditional, analytical review felt as though it would somehow detract from the invaluable messages that are at the core of this book. With that in mind, I am instead going to list the 5 most important lessons that I took away from reading It’s Not About the Burqa. Continue reading Most Important Lessons from It’s Not About the Burqa
Rating: 3 stars
Category: Classics, Historical Fiction
Synopsis: Hester Prynne’s husband is missing, presumed dead. Most believe he drowned on the voyage from Amsterdam to join her in New England. Yet getting pregnant out of wedlock is still enough to earn Hester a lifelong punishment – wearing the scarlet letter ‘A’ embroidered on her clothing so her shame can never be forgotten.
Cast to the margins of her Puritan village community, Hester lives in solitude and tries to raise her daughter Pearl away from prying eyes. When a newcomer to the village brings old secrets, she is forced to choose between a life of piety and redemption, or following her perilously taboo passions. Continue reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne: Psychologically Driven Classic