Old Baggage by Lissa Evans – Review.

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About the Book

What do you do next, after you’ve changed the world?

It is 1928. Matilda Simpkin, rooting through a cupboard, comes across a small wooden club – an old possession of hers, unseen for more than a decade.

Mattie is a woman with a thrilling past and a chafingly uneventful present. During the Women’s Suffrage Campaign she was a militant. Jailed five times, she marched, sang, gave speeches, smashed windows and heckled Winston Churchill, and nothing – nothing – since then has had the same depth, the same excitement.

Now in middle age, she is still looking for a fresh mould into which to pour her energies. Giving the wooden club a thoughtful twirl, she is struck by an idea – but what starts as a brilliantly idealistic plan is derailed by a connection with Mattie’s militant past, one which begins to threaten every principle that she stands for.

My Review

Crooked Heart was a book that I enjoyed very much so I was thrilled to see that Old Baggage had been published. You could say that it is a prequel, focusing on Mattie who was Noel’s godmother. She was only in the first chapter of Crooked Heart but it was evident that she was a character who had much to say.
Most of this novel takes place in 1928. Mattie lives with the brilliantly named ‘The Flea’. She isn’t hesitant at making her feelings known,not always with tact, and it’s something that gets her into trouble more than once. I did have some sympathy for The Flea, and in a lot of ways she was the character I preferred. I liked her reading about helping those who were worse off and her quiet devotion to Mattie.
I spent much of the novel trying to work out the connection with Noel and thankfully it was revealed who his mother was. She was the person I expected it to be, and at first I thought her reasoning for her actions a little cold but on reflection I don’t think they were. Just honest. I enjoyed reading Mattie’s memories of her life as a suffragette, it would be brilliant to read another ‘prequel’ and learn more.
Funny, poignant, honest, and revealing. Not just personally but also with attitudes at the time. Old Baggage is one that will be just as successful as Crooked Heart.

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