So thought-provoking it hurts, this is a fictional account based on the true story of US journalist Nellie Bly. She was famous for exposing the horrific abuse that took place in the Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island in 1887, and at the time this was pioneering investigative journalism. Louisa Treger gives Nellie her voice and creates a simply told story where you experience her thoughts and feelings. The tale first takes you to her childhood and allows you to discover the true strength and grit that made this extraordinary woman. When entering the asylum it is difficult to comprehend the cruelty uncovered. The effect of Nellies descent into a world of pain can not be ignored. As interesting, is Nellie’s fight to be a voice in a male dominated world, not only for herself, but also the women falsely incarcerated. It is sometimes difficult to hold on to the fact that this is based on history and not a fictional flight of fancy, and so, it is successfully shocking in its impact. After finishing I wanted to find out more about Nellie beyond this stage of her life, what a woman! The clarity of the tale ensures Madwoman hammers home in this compelling and achingly absorbing read.
'A daring blend of romance, crime and history, and an intelligent expose of the inherent injustice and consequences of all forms of oppression' Tsitsi Dangarembga, Nervous Conditions Opening with the shooting of Lady Virginia 'Ginie' Courtauld in her tranquil garden in 1950s Rhodesia, The Dragon Lady tells Ginie's extraordinary story, so called for the exotic tattoo snaking up her leg. From the glamorous Italian Riviera before the Great War to the Art Deco glory of Eltham Palace in the thirties, and from the secluded Scottish Highlands to segregated Rhodesia in the fifties, the narrative spans enormous cultural and social change. Lady Virginia Courtauld was a boundary-breaking, colourful and unconventional person who rejected the submissive role women were expected to play. Ostracised by society for being a foreign divorcee at the time of Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson, Ginie and her second husband ,Stephen Courtauld, leave the confines of post-war Britain to forge a new life in Rhodesia, only to find that being progressive liberals during segregation proves mortally dangerous. Many people had reason to dislike Ginie, but who had reason enough to pull the trigger? Deeply evocative of time and place, The Dragon Lady subtly blends fact and fiction to paint the portrait of an extraordinary woman in an era of great social and cultural change.
Dorothy Richardson is existing just above the poverty line, doing secretarial work at a dentist's office and living in a seedy boarding house in Bloomsbury, when she is invited to spend the weekend with a childhood friend, Jane. Jane has recently married a writer who is on the brink of fame. His name is H.G. Wells, or Bertie, as they call him. Bertie appears unremarkable at first. But then Dorothy notices his grey-blue eyes taking her in, openly signalling approval. He tells her he and Jane have an agreement which allows them the freedom to take lovers, although Dorothy can tell her friend would not be happy with that arrangement. Not wanting to betray Jane, yet unable to draw back Dorothy free-falls into an affair with Bertie. Then a new boarder arrives at the house- beautiful Veronica Leslie-Jones-and Dorothy finds herself caught between Veronica and Bertie. Amidst the personal dramas and wreckage of a militant suffragette march, Dorothy finds her voice as a writer.