It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Secret Letter by Kerry Barrett.
About the Author
Kerry has always loved books, words, writing and reading. She was a very bookish child and read all the time. She remembers challenging herself to read all the Famous Five books by her seventh birthday – but she doesn’t remember if she succeeded!
From growing up on a diet of Enid Blyton, Noel Streatfeild, and Sweet Valley High, she moved on to Jackie Collins and her all-time favourite Jilly Cooper. She studied English Literature and Language at the University of Birmingham, then after university, she trained as a journalist and worked on various newspapers and magazines as a writer and editor. In her spare time, she wrote and rewrote what would eventually become her first novel, Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, which was published in 2013.
Kerry now divides her time between writing her own novels and editing other people’s. She loves editing as much as writing and she thinks being an editor helps improve her writing, while being a writer makes her a better editor.
Kerry is from Edinburgh originally, but now she lives in South London with her husband and two sons.
Follow @kerrybean73 and @HQDigitalUK on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Amazon, Visit kerrybarrett.co.uk, Buy The Secret Letter
About the book
I signed the letter with a flourish. I wouldn’t send it. There was no need. But I wanted to keep it somewhere safe, somewhere I could find it if I ever needed to remember why I’d done what I’d done. The fight goes on, I told myself. The fight goes on…
London, 1910. Twenty-one-year-old Esther Watkins would do anything for the Suffragette cause. Imprisoned, force-fed and beaten, she is determined to fight for what she believes is right – no matter what it costs her. With new love Joseph by her side, will she get the better future she dreams of?
Kent, 2019. With her marriage in tatters, school teacher Lizzie Armstrong moves to sleepy Elm Heath for a fresh start, and her pupils and the community soon steal her heart. So when the school is threatened with closure Lizzie knows she has to fight, and she looks to the school’s founder for inspiration.
What makes Esther, born and bred in London, a proud Suffragette, suddenly leave the city and escape to Elm Heath? And when Lizzie uncovers Esther’s heartbreaking secret, could it give her the strength she needs to save not just the school, but her new beginning too?
Esther is brave and so are her fellow Suffragettes, but fighting to have a voice comes with a price. Prison, police brutality and being shunned by family, friends and colleagues are just a few things that come to mind. Having to find new homes and employment were no easy feat in 1910. Luckily Esther finds other like-minded women to support her.
When she falls in love she doesn’t expect that relationship to define the rest of her life and the choices she makes, but in a way it does. Those choices are also the beginning of the story Lizzie becomes wrapped up in.
In 2019 Lizzie is recovering from betrayal, heartbreak and adjustments in her career. A bit of a pariah in educational circles she finds her way to a school in Elm Heath, which is in as much need of assistance as indeed she is. There she discovers Esther and the will to fight for what is right.
It’s a double time-line contemporary read and simultaneously also historical fiction.
Barrett shows us women’s empowerment and what that looks like in our day and age, and for women in the past. In the 21st century it’s easy to forget the struggle of the women who came before us. The courageous women who had to endure pain, humiliation, violations and imprisonment for decades, so we can cast a vote just as easily as the opposite gender. The fact it isn’t part of our conscious thought process it perhaps why so many throw away their heavily fought for right to vote away at each given opportunity.
The Suffragettes would be appalled at the way many throw away the opportunity to have a political voice, but perhaps more so because of how hard they fought for it. Of course one could argue that choosing not to vote is also part of democracy.
This story is all about collaboration, even when it stretches over decades, and acknowledging that sometimes we fight not only for ourselves, but also future generations.
Buy The Secret Letter at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ – HQ Digital; pub date 6 Feb. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.
Read my review of The Hidden Women by Kerry Barrett.