Jaffareadstoo is delighted to host today's Blog Tour stop
The Word for Freedom : Short stories celebrating women's suffrage and raising money for Hestia
1 November 2018
My thanks to the publisher, authors and Random Things Tours for my
copy of this book and the invitation to be part of the blog tour
A collection of 24 short stories celebrating a hundred years of women’ suffrage, from both established and emerging authors, all of whom have been inspired by the suffragettes and whose stories, whether set in 1918, the current day or the future, focus on the same freedoms that those women fought for so courageously.
A clerk of works at the Palace of Westminster encounters Emily Davison in a broom cupboard; a mermaid dares to tread on land to please the man she loves; a school girl friendship makes the suffragette protests relevant to the modern day; a mother leaves her child for a tree; an online troll has to face his target; and a woman caught in modern day slavery discovers a chance for freedom in a newspaper cutting.
These stories and many more come together in a collection that doesn’t shy away from the reality of a woman’s world, which has injustices and inequalities alongside opportunities and hard-won freedoms, but always finds strength, bravery and hope.
Through this anthology Retreat West Books is proud to support Hestia and the UK Says No More campaign against domestic abuse and sexual violence.
Authors that have donated stories include:
* Sophie Duffy, author of The Generation Game;
* Angela Readman, Costa Short Story Award winner;
* Anna Mazzola, author of The Story Keepers and winner of the Edgar Allen Poe award;
* Isabel Costello, author of Paris, Mon Amour and host of The Literary Sofa blog;
* Angela Clarke, best-selling author of the Social Media Murders series;
* Karen Hamilton, author of The Perfect Girlfriend;
* Helen Irene Young, author of The May Queen;
* Victoria Richards, journalist and award-winning short story writer; and
* Cath Bore, feminist short story writer and broadcaster.
Here are my thoughts about it..
I'm a bit of a butterfly when it comes to short story reading and rarely ever read a book of them in sequential order, so with The Word For Freedom, I followed tradition and jumped right in with The Silent Woman by Anna Mazola which comes mid-way in the book. I was intrigued by the story, which is only a couple of pages long, and yet, it made me stop and consider the effect of modern slavery, a term we hear far too often, and one which should make us deeply ashamed every time we hear it.
I then flipped back to the start of the book and went back into the past and entered into the Palace of Whitehall, where in Counting for England by Christine Powell, we are treated to the story of Emily Davison, the suffragette, who deliberately locked herself into the broom cupboard on the night of the 1911 census. Told from the point of view of the clerk of works, there's a nice little twist to the story, again its just a couple of pages long, but which conveys its message, loud and clear. I also loved, Women Don't Kill Animals by Carolyn Sanderson, and found myself cheering by the end of it. So many stories, far too many to single out, but which all made me stop, think, and consider the lives of women both past, present and future.
The Word for Freedom, written to celebrate 100 years of women's suffrage, continues the message that women's voices must be heard. In the book's 231 pages there really is something for everyone one to enjoy and consider, and whilst I have mentioned just a few by name, I have to say that all the stories have something rather special about them.
From the enigmatic, Word for Freedom by Isabel Costello, which opens the stories, to the stark message conveyed in a final suffragette story, Brick by Rachel Rivett which concludes the book with a strong message, and whose final words made me think long and hard about how far we have come and yet, it would seem, it's nowhere near far enough..
Retreat West Books is an independent press publishing paperback books and ebooks.
Founder, Amanda Saint, is a novelist and short story writer. She’s also a features journalist writing about environmental sustainability and climate change. So all Retreat West Books publications take advantage of digital technology advances and are print-on-demand, in order to make best use of the world’s finite resources. Retreat West Books is an arm of Amanda’s creative writing business, Retreat West, through which she runs fiction writing retreats, courses and competitions and provides editorial services.
Initially started to publish the anthologies of winning stories in the Retreat West competitions, Retreat West Books is now open for submissions for short story collections, novels and memoirs. Submission info can be found here.
Twitter: @RetreatWest #WordForFreedom