Review: The Magdalen Girls
If you haven’t heard the term “Magdalen Laundry”, the first thing you should probably do is have a look at Wikipedia here. It’s understandably a touchy subject, involving morality, feminism, the Catholic Church and it’s power, and this isn’t the place to explain it.
The basic plot of the novel is that of three young ladies sent to live in the Magdalen Asylum in the early 60’s, and their plotting to escape.
The strength of the novel is in the writing itself. Alexander spins the plot into a story that lives and breathes. You worry about these girls. You fear. You want to yell at them not to be stupid. You care. You feel the settings, the grim cold wet of a rainy December in England, the darkness of a dark, windowless room, the feel of rough wool.
Lovers of historical fiction should definitely pick this one up, and it should be short-listed for feminist-friendly reading groups. I’d happily see this added to High School reading lists as well, as a reminder of what women’s equality movement is (and was) fighting against.