cover image Old Baggage

Old Baggage

Lissa Evans. Harper Perennial, $15.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-06-289544-8

Evans’s fourth novel (following Their Finest) is a thoughtful and satisfying story featuring 50-something Mattie Simpkins, a suffragette living in 1928 London with her friend Flossie, or, as everyone calls her, the Flea. Instead of still being on the front lines of change, the women now lead predictable, comfortable lives, which bothers Mattie as she fondly recalls fighting for the right to vote. But after running into a former suffragette who tries to turn young people toward Fascism, Mattie and the Flea are spurred into forming their own organization for young women called the Amazons, with the goal of educating the next generation to be thoughtful and engaged as opposed to being focused on marriage and going to the movies. When Inez joins the club, Mattie is shocked to discover they have a connected past. Trying to motivate Inez to become a strong person, Mattie inadvertently does something that upsets the Flea and threatens the club. Evans weaves an enchanting tale around Mattie and her circle of friends as they attempt to imbue a new generation with their feminist and antifascist values; readers will be captivated. (Apr.)