Must read – the pages of Spirit Burns just fly by

This stunning novel, set 120 years ago, is available from and Amazon. It is perhaps the best I’ve read for a long time.

Welcome to the grimy, grim, deprived world of Madge, Bet, Ellen and Stella. Take a deep breath and immerse yourself in what we would now see as terror, violence, poverty and hideous lives spent in an unbalanced world that, over a century ago, was real life.
Spirit Burns is a fascinating novel, where the words flow in a captivating beauty, without hiding one iota of the brutality of what is being set down on the page. Tina Jackson is a literary artist. Imagine taking away the pallet and brush from Toulouse Lautrec and Edgar Degas, handing them a pen instead, and telling them they have to describe their scenes in words with as much insight and depth as their amazing paintings.
We are initially gently coerced into a world of women’s suffrage from the early 20th century. The author teases out the hard, now historical, facts around the Votes for Women suffragette movement, when protesters were violently attacked and sexually molested, even by the police who also shouted loud and obscene, derisive comments. Then, when they were arrested, these protesters were imprisoned and continued their protest by going on hunger strike: resulting in physically damaging force-feeding. Spirit Burns pulls no punches.
There is an ethereal atmosphere to some of the first-person dialogue, a beyond-the-grave style, where the speaker recounts events in ‘live’ time as if they were distant memories. The brutal realism, including sex – rapes, innocence, craved prostitution – joins a world of death and gangsterism where men believe they are superior and women merely chattels. Demands for ‘favours’ are basically sex acts as discipline or a statement of power. Spirit Burns is a hard-hitting expose of man’s inhumanity to women.
Tina Jackson’s first novel, The Beloved Children, was startlingly good; with Spirit Burns she takes a major leap forward.

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