If you’re part of a book group and are interested in reading The Hourglass Factory, here are some ideas for things you might want to chat about. Please don’t hesitate to tweet me if you have any more of your own. I’d love to learn what interests readers in the book.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHOY!

Reading group questions

  1. Who is the most feminist character in the book?
  1. Frankie’s dream is to be a news reporter, freed from the confines of the Ladies’ Page. Does Frankie do enough for advancing women’s rights?
  1. Why did Frankie draw the cartoon mocking the torture the suffragettes were undergoing? Can you think of any modern parallels to this in today’s journalism?
  1. What would you do with the rounded up Hourglass Factory seamstresses?
  1. How far have we come in terms of sexual liberation? Is there still a need for organisations like The Hourglass Club to remain secret?
  1. How would the public react if a prominent politician of today belonged to The Hourglass Club?
  1. Is Twinkle a misogynist? How does she feel about suffragettes and why?
  1. Twinkle makes the point to Frankie that it is more socially acceptable for women to dress in male clothing than the other way around. Does this still hold, and if so, why?
  1. Is Milly a liberated woman?
  1. The suffragettes were an unimpeachable force for good. Discuss.
  1. Major & Mrs Barclay-Evans left the suffragettes because they did not approve of arson. How far is it acceptable to go in the name of protest, or does it depend on the cause?
  1. Primrose is concerned with the moral role of the police. Do the police have a moral role?
  1. Does Primrose do everything he can to uphold his morals?
  1. How do you think female prison wardresses felt when confronted with (and made to force feed) suffragettes?
  1. What is the legacy of the suffragettes today?