5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Loved it (despite the cricket...),
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Half of the Human Race (Hardcover)
I really enjoyed Anthony Quinn's first novel, The Rescue Man, mainly because it was set in Liverpool and I was familiar with a lot of locations in the book. From the synopsis I thought his second, Half of the Human Race, sounded just my cup of tea - and I was right.
I find the time just before, during and after WW1 fascinating because of all the changes taking place in society, with barriers between the classes and sexes starting to break down, and this book is a compelling portrait of one particular aspect of that tumultuous second decade of the 20th century. Our heroine Constance (Connie) Calloway, has had to put her dreams of becoming on a surgeon on hold due to a combination of reduced family circumstances and hostility towards female medics. Instead she has joined the Suffragettes and is making a name for herself as an agitator. Through a family connection she meets Will Maitland, a lawyer turned professional cricketer. Will is a principled man, fiercely loyal to his friends, but he's also a traditionalist and doesn't approve of or even understand some of Connie's more extreme endeavours in the Suffragette cause.
I have to say there's a bit too much information about cricket for my liking in the first 100 pages or so, and I was worried that this would carry on for the whole book. Thankfully it doesn't - the Suffragette storyline soon takes centre stage as Connie and her comrades fight to free themselves of the constraints placed on their gender, using every means necessary to make their voices heard.
All this is happening as the timeline moves into 1914, which inevitably means that these young people will find themselves thrown into the chaos of war, with their lives changing forever. I'd certainly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed My Dear I Wanted To Tell You by Louisa Young - the wartime chapters only take up the final third of the book and the scenes in the trenches aren't as detailed or graphic, but I thought the relationships between the characters gave it a similar feel.
So 2 out of 2 hits with me for Anthony Quinn - I'm glad to see this book has been chosen by the TV Book Club as he deserves a wider audience.