It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Little Brown Dog by Paula S. Owen
About the Author
Paula is something of an accidental novelist. A scientist, with a PhD in climate chemistry, she has spent her career writing, educating, campaigning and fretting about the state of our planet. Her late foray into fiction was down to a serendipitous encounter with an amateur historian at Battersea Arts Centre. The incredulous, but true, story he told, and the themes it portrays, stole her heart and became an obsession. Hence Little Brown Dog was conceived. Paula is Welsh born and bred and now lives in London with her partner and a menagerie of rescue animals. Follow @paulasowen, Visit littlebrowndog.london
About the book
One nameless stray. Two fearless young women. A heroic fight for justice. – It’s 1903, and Britain is desperate for change, but widespread calls for social and gender reform flounder against entrenched misogyny. Navigating this world are best friends Lena Hageby and Eliza Blackwood – two thoroughly modern young women determined to live life on their own terms.
Rumours abound of barbaric experiments taking place within London’s medical schools, and when the women covertly witness a shockingly brutal procedure performed on a semi-conscious dog, they resolve to take down the perpetrator – renowned physiologist Dr William Bayling.
In their fight for justice, the women are drawn into an increasingly vicious ‘David and Goliath’ battle with an all-powerful male medical establishment who will stop at nothing to protect the status quo. But how much are the women prepared to risk? Their friendship, their loves, their freedom, even their lives?
Based on extraordinary true events that shook Edwardian society, Little Brown Dog is a tale simultaneously heart-breaking and heart-warming. Although a century has passed, it remains a strikingly modern parable of female bravery in speaking truth to power
Lena and Eliza find themselves taking on the machine that is the male dominated society when they try and change the brutal mistreatment of animals in the name of medical science. What seems to them to be a normal reaction to an atrocity, brings forth unlevelled abuse and hatred, and ultimately consequences neither of them are expecting.
I thought was a fascinating story. Kudos to the author for retrieving it from the dusty archives of history, and paying homage to the people brave enough to fight for both regulations and some humanity when it comes to research, vivisection and experiments. Given the vast amount of political changes and fights for independence, and a voice for women, taking place – I suppose it is no wonder that the fate of animals and the statue of the little brown dog have faded into obscurity over the last century.
Owen makes an excellent point about crossing boundaries with animals when it comes to experiments, pain and torture, all in the name of research. If you are willing to do it to a living and breathing being, then you’re not far from crossing the boundary when it comes to the human species. If history has taught us anything, then it is that those lines get blurry really quick, both in the name of research for the greater humanity and personal gain.
Personally I found it rather interesting how much skin in the game the power players and string pullers still have when it comes to said statue. It’s almost as if losing certain battles over a century ago is still a matter of contention for this patriarchal society, which is still seeped in misogyny.