I’m pleased to be joining the blogtour for Common Cause, the sequel to Kate Hunter’s The Caseroom. I read and reviewed the first book a while back and you can read my review here. I haven’t been able to fit in this book unfortunately but have a brief extract to share with you today. Iza is the main character and she is a skilled worker in the print industry. In this book, it is 1915, women have stepped into traditional men’s working roles and women’s suffrage is becoming a big issue.
As guests trickled into the parlour Iza recognised them as League members. There was something about their clothes and manner. These were fairly well-heeled women. And none of them had babes in arms or bairns in tow. As Iza made to fetch sandwiches from the kitchen, Mrs Sinclair caught her arm. ‘You sit down for a nice chat,’ she said. For a moment Iza thought to object, and then she thought better of it. She sensed in Mrs Sinclair a particular need for her presence in the drawing room. Doubtless the afternoon’s entertainment would have been still more edifying with Janet present – both of them on display for the assembled company. But what the hell? Among the guests, Margaret had turned up and, for a spell, she and Iza took seats in the big bay window, the very spot where they’d sat together for Amelia Maclean’s We Women meeting years back.
The lone bairn in the room, Harriet was treated to clucks and tickles. This suited her fine till she got sick of it and grabbed and tugged at a woman’s hair. One of the women set down a bowl of sweets and biscuits wrapped in shiny gold, green and white paper and tied with bows. Another had brought choice items of bairns’ clothing, expecting, or hoping for, mothers to give them to. Iza picked out a red velvet dress with a big white lace collar. It was one of the most beautiful things she’d ever seen. A bit too big, but it’d soon fit. She tried to hold it up to Harriet, but Harriet was busy ripping off paper and stuffing her mouth. Iza left her to it. Sweets and biscuits and her first at-home were no substitute for chums to play with, but let her have her moment.
From the back of the book
It’s 1915 and Britain is at war as Kate Hunter’s sequel to The Caseroom – shortlisted for the 2017 Saltire First Book Award – opens on the next stage in the lives of Iza Orr, skilled compositor, and the workers in Edinburgh’s print industry. At a time of momentous events, we step alongside Iza as she copes with unexpected complexities of patriotism, women’s suffrage, worker victimisation and a historic wartime lockout. `It seems the country needs starched cloth-lappers and lunatic asylum attendants, but it does not need books, does not need learning and intellectual stimulation.’ Printers are denied reserved occupation status but, with bankruptcies looming, the jobs of Edinburgh’s dwindling number of female hand typesetters are on the line. Riven by challenges both political and personal, Iza must weather conflicting calls for loyalty to nation, to class, to gender, to family – her marriage to troubled John, her children, her estranged daughter Mary, now a grown woman – to discover her true common cause.
Thanks to Kelly at Love Books Tours for inviting me to take part in the tour. Common Cause is published by Fledgling Press and available to buy now in paperback or as an ebook. You can order a copy online here: Common Cause