The Quietness by Alison Rattle
The Quietness is an action-driven historical novel with the rights of women at its heart. In a Victorian setting, a story about unwanted pregnancies, babyfarming and belonging unfolds.
|The Quietness by Alison Rattle|
The Quietness is about fifteen year old Queenie and sixteen year old Ellen, two characters whose stories interweave to reveal a complex picture of what Victorian life for women and girls, both working and middle class, was like. Packed full of poverty, prostitution, pregnancy, abortion, rape, childbirth, adoption, death and body care, this story is shocking and sad (and worse, based on true events). This is not a rose-tinted novel but it is also a story full of hope. Above all, I think it tells an important historical story that is intended for a teen readership.
The idea for this novel came about after the author had done extensive research for a non-fiction title. While based on historical facts and events, the story is not packed with dull historical notes. It is an easy read with short chapters and quite a fast pace.
For me, some elements of the plot were plausible but a bit unlikely. Some other readers might love these aspects. The ending is very neatly drawn together.
I think this is a good teen read about an important story that’ll likely bring a tear to your eye. Written for the teen market, it’s still a bit of a shocker and doesn’t beat about the bush. It might make you want to ask questions. Publisher Sarah Odedina describes Rattle’s writing as being along the lines of Mary Hooper. I think she is right.
If you’ve ever read Malorie Blackman’s Noughts & Crosses or Ruta Sepetys’ Between Shades of Gray, or if you’ve ever watched Call the Midwife on television, you’re old enough and wise enough to read and enjoy The Quietness. More than anything, I’d like to see some boys reading this.
Historical notes and resource packs are available for this novel from the publisher.
Publication details: March 2013, Hot Key Books, London, paperbackThis copy: review copy received from the publishers