Duty and Deception

Written by Roberta Grieve
Review by Marilyn Sherlock

In 1903 Emmeline Pankhurst set up the Women’s Suffrage Movement to campaign for votes for women, and their stories are well known, but there were also other groups who did not agree with the way this was conducted, and aimed to try to gain the same ends by more peaceful means. Such was the group to which Anna Grayson finds herself drawn. She meets a couple of girls who work at a local factory, is drawn into the local suffrage organization, and begins to attend their meetings and rallies. At one held at Brighton, one of her new-found friends is killed by a hit-and-run driver. It is put down as an unfortunate accident, but Anna maintains that somebody had deliberately pushed Lily into the path of the oncoming car.

I thought the book had possibilities, with a different stance on the Suffragette movement, but it becomes a standard boy-meets-girl story with misunderstandings put in their way. The various side plots, I regret to say, hold no surprises at all.

The pace is quite good and the characters believable although not exceptional, but the style of writing is irritating: it has too much explanation, which interrupts the narrative. Although it’s described as a wartime saga, WWI doesn’t come into it until the very end when the murder of the Archduke is mentioned, and war is anticipated but not yet declared.