Troubador The Courage Game

Released: 28/09/2021

ISBN: 9781800464513

eISBN: 9781800469884

Format: Paperback/eBook

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The Courage Game

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Gladys grows up in a large family, convinced she is the odd one out, especially compared with pretty Rita, the sister closest to her. Then elder brother Jim invents a new game he calls the Courage Game, in which all seven of the children will be tested for their ability to keep a stiff upper lip.

Little does she know, she'll recall this game years later, comparing his little hand-made badges to those handed out by the W.S.P.U., the suffragettes. The poverty of Ireland in the 1890s is capped by the terrible conditions of the Birmingham slums where she first works as a teacher.

Heartsick at the hardship she sees all around her, she's driven to change it, but only the Pankhursts seem to offer any hope of a woman’s voice being heard - providing they win the right to vote, that is. Enthusiastically, Gladys throws herself in, juggling her job, her burgeoning love life and her work for the suffragettes. But how long can one woman keep walking such a line without losing her balance?

This is a book I have been waiting for for a long time, the Suffragettes was such an important movement and yet not much literature/fiction around it exists and so this book is special. it was so readable and i became really invested in the characters and their plights. The settings were really good and the vivid descriptions and imagery of the living conditions and the poverty felt in these settings was noth heartbreaking and humbling. A really great book that I didnt want to end.

Original review:

by NetGalley review


Gladys Hazel was a real person who led an extraordinary life. What makes her story so enjoyable to read is Jeni Whittaker’s skill in getting into her personality and character, bringing her to life so vividly and sympathetically. She constantly questions her own motivation and actions, even challenging the ideas and methods of the Suffragettes. The Courage Game is a powerful novel that explores the human costs of political struggle while also celebrating the courage of women who fought and gained freedoms taken for granted today.

by Bob Owens


In Europe we live in privileged times when women and men should be treated equally. In 1880 Gladys Hazel was one of a large English family, despised by the Irish peasants and looked down on by the English gentry. She developed a deep sense of moral fairness and determined to improve the conditions of the poor. With a teaching qualification she started working in the slums of Birmingham but realised nothing would change when men were in power, and women did not have the right to vote. Commitment and Courage drew her into The Cause of the Suffragette Movement but left many physical and emotional scars.
Jeni Whittaker relates this story with compelling detail, drawing the reader into life choices and moral dilemmas, with inevitable consequences which seem increasingly hopeless. Through written reflection Gladys can gain peace. These diaries and poems were packed in a family attic until found by the author’s father, Gladys’s nephew. It is to the Courage of Gladys we should turn for hope in our own times.

by Dr David Lyle


Jeni Whittaker

They say write what you know. This is no more true than for Jeni Whittaker who used her own great-aunt's past to inspire her new suffragette novel, The Courage Game.

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