Title: Crimson Rooms, The
Authors: McMahon, Katharine
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 457
Year: 2009
ISBN-10(13): 9780753825471
Publisher: Hachette New Zealand
Language: English
Description: In a society recovering from World War 1, Evelyn Gifford trains as one of England's first female solicitors. In contrast to her trailblazing employment, her home life is repressed following the death of her younger brother in the trenches. Against this backdrop of a nation grappling with change, Evelyn too is challenged to move beyond her grief and seek justice for those around her. An easy-to-read style and a fascinating examination of the social issues of the time make this an engaging story.

Comments from Groups:

A most interesting history of women in the legal profession and how families coped during and after WW1. All in all a good historical novel with many engaging characters and moments. Wellington 041

Loved the book, beautiful style of writing. Would definitely read the author's other novels. Kaikoura 001

Enjoyable mixture of suspense and history. A different look at society after WW1. Rotorua 004

Thought provoking look at the way women's rights and expectations have evolved in the last century. We enjoyed it. Alexandra 003

All members of the group enjoyed this book and we had a long discussion about the era it was written in and style-all felt that there were several plots within the story. Paihia 003

We all thoroughly enjoyed this book. One member commented, " I loved her determination to have what she wanted and to love in so many ways". Interesting to read the history notes also. Napier 024

Our group enjoyed the book and it led to discussions on women in the work force in those early pioneering years. Masterton 011

Wonderful! For once all our members agreed on this. Well written, informative and kept us guessing. An addictive read. Auckland 060

Enjoyed the book. It covered an area of life that rang bells for members. Auckland 013

We loved this book. The dawning of the women's lib must have been very difficult for some women. We do not appreciate enough what we owe them. Geraldine 002

A bit slow. Didn't keep everyone's attention, but those who finished it enjoyed it. Auckland 347

An enjoyable read about a time in history which we knew little about - womens' first experiences of/in the legal profession in the 1920s. Several topics covered, although not in great detail, were: childrens' rights, mass deportation of children to the colonies, and the fact that women were considered second class citizens. Auckland 284

Discussion was lively. Some disappointment in the 'Mills & Boon' love interest, but overall everyone enjoyed the various sub plots and twists. It took a while to get into but picked up pace. Havelock North 011

A very good meeting and discussion. There was a lot of animated discussion on the subjects raised in the book. Probably the most successful book we have read this year. Wellington 142

Fantastic! We unanimously agreed that we LOVED this book! We liked the themes of love, and the women of the 1920s taking over the role of men following the war. The plot was thrilling and the second half of the book a complete page turner. We couldn't put it down - wonderful! Queenstown 010

Opinion was divided, with some readers very enthusiastic about it. The majority appreciated the author's writing, but had reservations about the novel as a whole. It was thought that there were too many themes within the story - family secrets and tensions, the plight of orphaned children, the trauma of war, a murder trial, and the mores of the times which discouraged the ambitions of women to pursue a career of their choice and to further their education. However the choice of book led to an interesting discussion about our own families, the lives lived by our parents and grandparents, and our own childhood and adolescence experiences in the 40s and 50s.

Wellington 007

Categories: Fiction, War theme, Feminism, Historical, Human Rights, Love story, Morals/Ethics, Social commentary/perspectives, England, What's Hot, Popular Book with Groups


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By: TAUM 003 2018-11-21 13:31:23
A wide range of opinions for this book - from "didn't enjoy" to "excellent". Led to excellent discussion about issues raised.

By: CHCH 316 2018-11-21 13:30:11
Very good reading. We all admired the tenacity of the main character, one of London's first female lawyers, and how the story portrayed the attitudes of the times. Good lively discussion on women's rights and career paths.

By: NELS 023 2018-11-21 13:19:39
Our group unanimously loved this book! Many members read the sequel and enjoyed it too. The history, the characters and the writing all appealed.

By: AUCK 071 2018-11-21 13:12:40
We thought that she had very cleverly woven a large number of topics into a believable story. It presented a good picture of how life for women was at that time. Most of the group enjoyed it and the book brought back some interesting family memories.

By: NAP 021 2018-11-21 13:09:36
This book provoked much discussion on the role of women in society, especially the legal world. We all enjoyed reading this and admired the way the author portrayed her characters.

By: AUCK 037 2018-11-21 13:04:45
Regarded by most of our group as a light read, but interesting subject matter and an unpredictable ending. The discussion centred on the topics of war, boys getting preferential treatment for education back in the early 1900s, women becoming lawyers but not treated equally, whether she (main character) should forgive her man or not. Some felt this book was a bit Mills and Boonish, but others liked the romance and wished for a happy ending!

By: HAMIL 014 2018-11-21 13:00:45
Promoted great discussion on class difference , and the use of colour to describe imagery was amazing. A useful timeline for women in law is at the back of the book, and the notes were great.

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