The desire of being an independent woman in the 1900’s…

Synopsis

1908, Manchester. Mary Maitland is an attractive and intelligent young woman determined to strike out on her own and earn a living. Finding work at a women’s employment agency, her creative talent is soon noticed and Mary begins writing articles for newspapers and magazines.

But being of independent and progressive mind are troublesome traits when those you hold dear must constantly live up to the expectations of the well-to-do family to which they are linked. With increasing pressures from the powers that be, can Mary find the fine line between honouring her family and honouring herself?

My review

Mary is a young woman who does not want to be kept. She earns her own livings, and does everything she can to get promoted.
But in 1908 it’s not done for a woman to have a real career and she discovers that  herself.

As she is a talented writer, she writes articles for newspapers and magazines, finding this an outlet to point out social frustrations.
Meanwhile she has to find a way of honouring her family, linked with a high – class family, but not at cost of herself.

Sometimes a novel can remind you we cannot take our liberties for granted.
It’s hard to imagine that just 100 years ago, women wanting a career was just not done. There were so many restrictions that for us in the present, would be hard to follow them.

And that’s the amazing thing of this story…
Mary is a modern woman, wanting the same things like us. But just being born in the wrong period, is limiting her. It was custom for a woman to just get married and take care of the household.
But she has more dreams and is not planning on just giving them up.

In fact, this book contains the story of 3 main characters, all entwined  together somehow…
Mary is fighting for her right to do what she wants. But she is pulled by her family to just do as told. Because they are linked to the high class Kimber family. And everything they do, can affect the good reputation of the Kimber family.
Greg has inherited from his uncle, but not being able to get his hands on the heritance, he finds himself in big trouble. As having several debts, he needs the cash to pay back the loaners.
And Helen finds herself passed over to Greg after the death of her brother. She has more to offer than just being kept…

Each character is struggling with their current situation. As Mary is determined to make more of her life, Greg is in a downward spiral and is getting in more trouble and taking extreme actions. Helen finds herself lonely and being pushed in a corner.

Susanna takes her time for each character, even the minor characters, so that we understand what is their motivation.
Mary is very independent and strong, and also very mature for her age. And when misfortune happens, she tries to get herself together.
Greg is just being a greedy man, looking at no one to get what he thinks he deserves.
Helen seems a woman constant in a bad mood, but slowly we get to know her better, and I realized she also was a victim of her time…

A historical fiction where you hope for a happy ending for everyone, but also realizing that it’s not always possible…
The story of Mary reminds us that we cannot just take things for granted and that sometimes fighting a battle is worth the end result.
and no matter what, honouring yourself is always worth the risk. And that even with misfortunes in the past, you can have your independence but also your happiness.

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