Review of Things A Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls

(Andersen Press kindly sent me a copy of this book in exchange for a review, but my opinions on the book haven’t been affected as a result.)

Sally briefly mentioned this book that she was writing a while ago on Twitter, and I remember distinctly seeing that tweet and being really excited about it. I couldn’t wait to read this book, and then when I finally saw that proofs had become available a few months ago I was extremely excited.

Things A Bright Girl Can Do is a book set in the early 1900s when the campaign for women’s suffrage was on the rise. Set in the East End of London, three girls – Evelyn, Nell and May, join the fight for women’s suffrage, all for their own reasons, be it that women were expected to marry rather than continue education or for equality for all kinds of women in the case of Nell and May, the story follows the three characters throughout the campaign for women’s suffrage.

This is the first ‘historical’ fiction book I’ve read in a very, very long time. Any hopes I had for the book to be as amazing as I expected it to be though were entirely realised.

This is a powerful book, and whilst it explores two or three almost separate storylines simultaneously which can be confusing at times, you get really involved with the characters as they fight for the vote. The setting perfectly compliments the characters, and it’s a powerful book about equality, feminism and being who you are and making no apologies for that.

I loved reading about them, and I think that, even if you, like me, don’t usually go for historical novels, you’ll love this book in like I did.

Sally has an incredible voice when writing. You can see it in any of her past books and it shines through in this book too. I can’t recommend it enough. Definitely worth a read.


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