Mollie on the March

This sequel to The Making of Mollie takes Anna Carey’s charming young suffragette heroine, Mollie Carbery, into the summer months of 1912. Like its predecessor, the book is written through letters to Mollie’s friend Frances, who is now on holiday in America—something the Carberys could never afford. Mollie’s frustration at not being able to travel further than Skerries, quickly pales with the prospect of Prime Minister Asquith’s visit to Dublin, when there will surely be some momentous suffragette activity.

Molly’s ruminations in her letters to her friend Frances are full of lively dialogue as she retells the details of her days, but her style is rather short of descriptive prose, which makes it hard to see characters and scenes. Mollie herself is almost one of the great heroines of children’s fiction, so it’s a shame she needs to complain so much, and that she’s required to tell so many lies in the name of the cause. Both these transgressions subtract from her winning integrity.

In addition, Mollie on the March takes a while to move from its domestic, early summer scenes, to the full-blown drama of mid-July. It’s page 141 before we feel any sense of tension, or get to any real action—but as soon as Asquith arrives, the pace picks up, the novel comes to life, and it’s a pleasure to read about those extraordinary historical events through Mollie’s eyes.