The Kew Gardens girls

Posy Lovell, 1973-

Book - 2021

"A heart-warming novel inspired by real life events, about the brave women during WWI who worked in the historic grounds of London's Kew Gardens"--

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FICTION/Lovell, Posy
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Historical fiction
New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons [2021]
Item Description
Includes reading list, discussion guide and a conversation with the author.
Physical Description
308 pages ; 21 cm
Main Author
Posy Lovell, 1973- (author)
Review by Booklist Review

When men across England are called up to fight in WWI, London's Kew Gardens, like so many other home-front enterprises, hires women to take their places. Three suffragettes from different sectors of society join the staff, hiding their suffragette leanings from the foreman, who is still angry about the suffragettes who had burned the gardens' tea pavilion two years before. Ivy is an illiterate teen from Hackney, childhood friend of Jim, already on staff; Louisa is a farm girl from Kent, hiding from her abusive husband; and Lady Winifred ("Win") Ramsay is trying to keep busy while her husband is at sea with the Dover Patrol. Joining them is Bernie Yorke, a former schoolteacher and a Quaker. Although still ardent feminists, the women question the movement's branding of conscientious objectors. As the Great War begins exacting its toll, the women overcome their class and political prejudices to help each other. Flourishing under their care, the gardens bind the group together and nurture them all in this endearing slice of wartime life, which is base on real-life events.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Lovell, the pseudony of Kerry Barrett (The Smuggler's Daughter), debuts with an engrossing exploration of the suffrage movement in WWI-era London. In 1915, Louisa Taylor, 35, and 16-year-old Ivy Adams are hired to work at London's Kew Gardens to replace men who left for the war. Louisa and Ivy bond over their membership in the women's suffrage movement, a secret they keep from their employer, who remains bitter about the movement's role in setting a pavilion at Kew on fire. After Louisa shames their pacifist coworker Bernie Yorke by planting white feathers in his coat, as part of the "white feather campaign" against men suspected of not enlisting, Bernie loses his job and Ivy breaks with Louisa to help Bernie go into hiding and avoid conscription. Later, Louisa's guilt over exposing Bernie leads her to help him register as a conscientious objector and avoid the draft. Ivy and Louisa then join up with another Kew Gardens worker on a campaign for equal wages for the women gardeners, and support one another through the war's tragedies. Lovell expertly instills the fictional narrative with details of the discord in the suffrage movement between pacifists and militants, and the ill-treatment of men who refused to fight. Historical fans will devour this down-to-earth page-turner. Agent: Felicity Trew, Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency. (Apr.)

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