Valentine Grey by Sandi Toksvig

Valentine Grey

Sandi Toksvig

Set against the background of British Imperialism during the Boer War, our young heroine's daring enlistment, disguised as a man, is a valiant attempt to escape from the suffocating confines of her sexual identity, as imposed by the restrictive Victorian values of the time. This entertaining story of pioneering feminist courage would also be good background reading for readers studying the history of gender politics.

Extract

'I ran into Randolph Churchill the other day,' Uncle announced one evening...
'He mentioned the Primrose League,' Uncle Charles continued, 'and wondered if you and Valentine might attend. His wife apparently, uhm...'
It wasn't quite what I had hoped for but at least it was an outing beyond the confines of the drawing room, and so it was that my aunt and I joined the local branch of the league at St. George's, Hanover Square... Here we heard talks from members of the Ladies' Grand Council and were each given a small booklet entitled The Primrose League - How Ladies Can Help It, in which Lady Randolph Churchill explained how women might assist the Conservative cause at the next election.
'Wouldn't it be better if we could just vote?' I asked my aunt as we folded leaflets for the local man.

Parallels
  • Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
  • Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier
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Violence
Explicit sexual content