In 1912 Dublin, 14-year-old Mollie Carberry becomes an unexpected suffragist.
At first she sneaks out after her older sister, Phyllis, only out of curiosity, but when Phyllis ends up at a suffrage meeting, Mollie stays to listen and is impressed. Denying votes to women, Mollie decides, is just as unfair as her brother’s getting the best bits of their Sunday roast chicken, which maddens her. Along with her best school friend, Nora, Mollie attempts to balance participating in the suffrage movement with keeping out of trouble with her parents, her more conservative classmates, her teachers, and, heaven forbid, the police. Irish author Carey (not to be confused with the American novelist for teens of the same name) presents a gentle and readable account of Mollie’s activism and a charming picture of Dublin life at the time. Not only are all the characters white, they’re all Catholic, and many of them are related to each other. The story unfolds as a series of letters Mollie writes to her friend Frances, away at boarding school; her voice is reminiscent of another historic heroine, Anne of Green Gables, only with an Irish lilt. The plot is realistic and satisfying. Mollie and Nora don’t achieve greatness, but in the end they know they’ve made a contribution to a worthwhile cause.
A lovely import with an unusual setting. (Historical fiction. 10-14)