Posted in Book Review, Historical Non Fiction, Non-Fiction

Magnificent Women and Their Revolutionary Machines Henrietta Heald 5*#Review @henrietta999 @unbounders #Historical #nonfiction #feministhistory @magnificentwo #MagnificentWomen #RandomThingsTours @annecater

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In 1919, in the wake of the First World War, a group of extraordinary women came together to create the Women s Engineering Society. They were trailblazers, pioneers and boundary breakers, but many of their stories have been lost to history. To mark the centenary of the society’s creation, Magnificent Women and Their Revolutionary Machines brings them back to life.

Their leaders were Katharine and Rachel Parsons, wife and daughter of the engineering genius Charles Parsons, and Caroline Haslett, a self-taught electrical engineer who campaigned to free women from domestic drudgery and became the most powerful professional woman of her age. Also featured are Eleanor Shelley-Rolls, sister of car magnate Charles Rolls; Viscountess Rhondda, a director of thirty-three companies who founded and edited the revolutionary Time and Tide magazine; and Laura Willson, a suffragette and labour rights activist from Halifax, who was twice imprisoned for her political activities.

This is not just the story of the women themselves, but also the era in which they lived. Beginning at the moment when women in Britain were allowed to vote for the first time, and to stand for Parliament and when several professions were opened up to them Magnificent Women charts the changing attitudes towards women in society and in the workplace.

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I received a copy of this book from Unbounders in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

2019 marks the centenary for the Women’s Engineering Society, which was created by seven women in 1919. Partly created, in response to a reactionary parliamentary bill, and to reinforce the employment inroads women achieved during WW1. The Women’s Engineering Society wanted the women who had kept Britain working during the WW1, to continue in their chosen engineering and manufacturing roles. They also encouraged more women to enter engineering as a career. Given the small proportion of women enjoying a university or technical education, this was an ambitious aim. Women’s rights and choice were also at the forefront of the Women’s Engineering Society’s aims. Many of the founders came from prominent engineering families, but their social class was diverse.

The book follows the accomplishments and life events of the two most active women in the organisation; Rachel Parsons, daughter of a famous engineer, and Caroline Haslett, a dedicated suffragette. This personal element in the book draws the reader in and makes the achievements and sacrifices relatable.

The book is written in an engaging easy to read style, which makes the events, people and social ethos of the twentieth century come to life. Divided into chapters which explore significant individuals, their achievements and inventions, it is easy to dip in and out of and use for reference. However, the potential and vibrancy of this period in history for women, make this addictive reading.

The cover and images contained within the book, support the narrative well. The reader is given a good sense of the time period, social ethos and economic climate and the uphill struggle women faced in their battle for economic equality.

The final chapter lists notable events and inventions for women in the twentieth- century and is the perfect hopeful conclusion to inspire women engineers in the twenty-first-century.

 

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Henrietta Heald is the author of William Armstrong, Magician of the No rt h which was shortlisted for the H. W. Fisher Best First Biography Prize and the Portico Prize for non-fiction. She was chief editor of Chronicle of Britain and Irela n d and Reader’s Digest Illustrated Guide to Britain’s Coast. Her other books include Coastal Living, La Vie est Belle, and a National Trust guide.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Escape to Giddywell Grange Kim Nash 5*#Review @KimTheBookworm @HeraBooks @rararesources #RomCom #Romance #BlogTour #BookReview #EscapetotheCountry

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Maddy Young thought she had it all.

Swanky city apartment? – yep. Fancy car? sorted. High-flying career? – tick.

Even if she’s lost most of her friends because of spending all her time at work, and can’t remember when she last had fun, it’s worth it.

Until she’s suddenly made redundant. Now she’s 37, jobless, and after the breakup with the former love of her life, unhappily single.

Enter Maddy’s childhood friend, Beth, the owner of Growlers, the doggy daycare centre at Giddywell Grange, on a mission to make Maddy see there’s more to life than work.

Soon, Maddy is swapping spreadsheets for volunteer duty at the library, daily Starbucks for cups of tea with elderly neighbours, and her Prada handbag for doggy poo bags… And with Beth’s gorgeous brother, Alex, back from the States, Maddy starts to think that Giddywell Grange might just be her happy place.

But when her old life – and her old boyfriend – comes calling, will Maddy go back to the job she loved so much? Or will she discover that the key to happiness lies in making others happy?

An uplifting romantic comedy that will warm your heart.

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I received a copy of this book from Hera Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

MyThoughts…

‘Escape to Giddywell Grange is an amusing, poignant, romantic and uplifting story.

Maddy thinks she’s living the dream until her world crumbles when she loses her glamorous job. In shock, she returns home to the mother who has always put her first, and the best friend who she has sadly neglected and seeks the emotional comfort she needs. The opportunity to help her friend, when she needs her, is too good to resist, and after a while, Maddy realises that it may be the best choice she’s ever made.

This story leaves you with a lovely warm feeling. It celebrates everything that is good about humanity and shows that money and glamour and material things are worth nothing if they are not shared with someone special. The characters are well-written and believable, they have flaws, but in all but one case they are easy to like.

Maddy is at a crossroads in her life, and you want her to find something more worthwhile. Some of her decisions towards the end of the story had me shaking my head and telling her to think again, so she’s someone you can relate to and care about. Thankfully, the story comes to a convincing and hopeful conclusion.

If you’re looking for a lovely escapist read, this heartwarming, humorous journey of friendship, self-discovery and gentle romance is the answer.

Kim Nash lives in Staffordshire with son Ollie and English Setter Roni, is PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture and is a book blogger at www.kimthebookworm.co.uk

Kim won the Romantic Novelists Association’s Media Star of the Year in 2016, which she still can’t quite believe. She is now quite delighted to be a member of the RNA. 

When she’s not working or writing, Kim can be found walking her dog, reading, standing on the sidelines of a football pitch cheering on Ollie and binge-watching box sets on the TV. She’s also quite partial to a spa day and a gin and tonic (not at the same time!) Kim also runs a book club in Cannock, Staffs. 

Amazing Grace was her debut novel with Hera Books and came out in April 2019.

Escape to Giddywell Grange is Kim’s second novel and will be published on September 18th 2019.

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