The jaunty picture on the cover of a young red-haired suffragette does somewhat belie the contents of this story, telling of a poor girl, only 12 years old, who becomes a Suffragette.
Daisy is the eldest of four children of a family who have hit on hard times. Their mother works in the shirt factory and the twin boys are looked after by a childminder until Daisy and her sister Lily who is six, come home from school. The family seem to live on bread and cheese, and sometimes some milk. This is grinding poverty indeed. Mum is handed a leaflet about the Suffragette movement and this sparks Daisy’s interest, and does lead to some life changing events. Daisy’s father believes women are very definitely second class citizens and this nearly leads to the breakup of the family. Fortunately kind Suffragettes come to the rescue but not before some heart breaking scenes.
The plight of women at this time, belonging to their husbands without any say in their lives is very clearly portrayed and this Daisy sees and wants to act. An interesting aspect brought out by this story is that Suffragettes not only wanted the vote but equal opportunity and pay for women, and Eliza’s plight working in the jam factory brings this to the fore. Daisy is a girl old beyond her years, willing to fight for what she thinks is right but also seeing the plight of her family and the need to be together. Even when her father is at his worst she does not stop loving him, so this is a many layered novel which some younger readers might find upsetting. The small but telling pictures of life, sleeping four to a bed, two each end with Great Aunt Maude’s smelly feet in the face will make girls smile, but must have been truly awful!