Book Review – The Trial of Lotta Rae by Siobhan MacGowan

Thanks to Welbeck Publishing for gifting me this book in exchange for an honest review. I am also honoured to take part in the book tour for this title. So, watch this space on 24th May for my stop on the tour.

The Trial of Lotta Rae instantly attracted my attention after reading the blurb, it is a historical fiction, which is a genre I have tried to explore more of this year. This particular title is set in Suffragette London. Lotta Rae, a 15-year-old girl who works in the same factory as her father to help support her family, is raped by a man who is of high standing and has connections with the government. Her family believe that justice needs to be done and so Lotta makes the brave decision of speaking up and testifying against him in court.

Then we have the barrister assigned to her, William Lindon. His luck in winning cases has been failing recently and he cannot afford to keep losing. However, after being approached by some well-connected people and asked to potentially sway Liotta’s case, he has a difficult decision to make. Does he risk his career and potentially struggle to house, clothe and feed his wife and young son but do what is right? Or does he do what he needs to keep his family afloat and his career?

Right from the start I could tell this would be a special novel. Firstly, it is a dual narrative which as you may know by now, I absolutely love. However, this time the narrative was unique in that Lotta’s narrative was in the first person as if she were talking directly to you, and William’s narrative was written in the 3rd person, which made the character less relatable and slightly more withdrawn from the main action. This was clearly purposefully done to help you connect and empathise with Lotta more, and to find it easier to distance yourself from William. This may have also been done because it is Lotta’s story and as she is the narrator it makes sense to have her speak in the first person. I don’t want to give too much away but I loved the way she delivered the narrative and how she was telling her story, it was unique and very cleverly executed and definitely delivered the most intense of emotions.

As the novel progresses, we hear from Lotta about what happened throughout her life, from starting this job, the rape and the aftermath. We see how certain decisions that were made, not only by her but by other that lead to some dramatic consequences and you couldn’t help but become immersed into her world.

I lived with horror, anguish, love and hate in equal measure, my mind a carnival of confusion

This is a story about justice, not just for Lotta but for all women as this was set during an age where women were fighting for the right to vote and to generally be heard. Back then it was still very much a male dominated world which made it harder for women to become anything or be who they wanted to be. So, this was an important story to tell.

Siobhan tells the story beautifully, to the point that I did on occasion shed many a tear. The way she combined the fictional story of Lotta with real life events and characters such as one of the main figures for women’s right, Emeline Pankhurst was truly brilliant and also made it clear, that although this story was fictional, these events were realistic. In fact, it is probable that women were being overlooked and didn’t often see justice for crimes committed against them, especially if they were unlucky enough to be from a working-class family.

This was a moving, intense but beautifully written story about a very important time in history, especially for women. It also shows the intense power some men had in society and how easily they could sway outcomes and decisions that would have made them look bad or would damage their reputation.

If you are looking for an emotional read set in the suffragette times or just want an immersive historical fiction read, I would highly recommend this book.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – A beautiful yet heart breaking story about a young girl’s fight for the justice she deserves and the aftermath of it all. This hooked me from the very start.

The trial Of lotta rae is out on 26th May!

Much love 💘

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