Old Baggage

Written by Lissa Evans




What do you do next, after you’ve changed the world?

It is 1928. Matilda Simpkin, rooting through a cupboard, comes across a small wooden club – an old possession of hers, unseen for more than a decade.

Mattie is a woman with a thrilling past and a chafingly uneventful present. During the Women’s Suffrage Campaign she was a militant. Jailed five times, she marched, sang, gave speeches, smashed windows and heckled Winston Churchill, and nothing – nothing – since then has had the same depth, the same excitement.

Now in middle age, she is still looking for a fresh mould into which to pour her energies. Giving the wooden club a thoughtful twirl, she is struck by an idea – but what starts as a brilliantly idealistic plan is derailed by a connection with Mattie’s militant past, one which begins to threaten every principle that she stands for.

Old Baggage is a funny and bittersweet portrait of a woman who has never, never given up the fight.




Engrossing and Entertaining!   5 stars


What a wonderful read! True to the period it’s set in and so appealing to my sense of humour.

Miss Matilda Simpkins, unmarried woman of a certain age is an educated former suffragette who prides herself on her ability to point out to others where they are going wrong with their lives. It’s hard to try and recreate the busy glory days when, along with many others, they had a common goal and a fight on their hands. What Mattie needs is to occupy her time with a cause …

Set in the 1920’s, this is such an engaging and stimulating read. I thought the protagonist reminded me of someone, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it, until she fastened her cloak. Margaret Rutherford played Jane Marple in the black and white Agatha Christie films (before my time, but I’ve seen them watching tv on a wet Sunday afternoon) with the same gung-ho attitude that Mattie displays. Being an exponent of fresh air and exercise, it’s not long before she comes up with something to offer the community. Will it be the making of her or her downfall?

This is such a good read; with so many books set at the time of women’s suffrage in this, the centenary year, it’s a delight to read one which shows life after their aims were achieved. Choc-a-bloc with information – some of which I was previously unaware of – this is a story told with good humour and honesty. Adroitly written with a wonderful array of characters, I find myself unsurprised to discover that this author has been nominated for quite a list of literary prizes. Lissa Evans is a new author to me, but I hope to read more of her work in the future. Such a terrific novel deserves no less that the maximum number of stars and a hearty endorsement.

My thanks to publishers Random House UK for approving my request via NetGalley. This is my honest, original and unbiased review.


Tags: women’s fiction



  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2140 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Transworld Digital
  • Publication Date: 14 June 2018
  • Purchase Links: Amazon.co.uk
  •                                 Amazon.com




Meet the Author


81GOr+wrcJL._UX250_Lissa Evans has written books for both adults and children, including Their Finest Hour and a Half, longlisted for the Orange Prize, Small Change for Stuart, shortlisted for many awards including the Carnegie Medal and the Costa Book Awards and Crooked Heart, longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.





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