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Review : The Trial of Lotta Rae by Siobhan MacGowan

We’re delighted to be sharing Laura’s thoughts about The Trial of Lotta Rae by Siobhan MacGowan.

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book cover for The Trail of Lotta Rae by Siobhan MacGowan.  Dark blue background with symbols of justice - weighing scales either side but full of fire, justice tarot image, sword and owl
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Welbeck (26 May 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 400 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1787397319
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1787397316

On Halloween night, 1906, young working class Lotta Rae is attacked by a wealthy gentleman. She seeks justice at an Old Bailey trial alongside her barrister, William Linden, who she believes to be her ally.

The verdict is devastating and Lotta Rae soon realises the guardians of justice do not support her. But what none could foresee were the shocking consequences.

Twelve years later, as the suffragettes rise and the ghost of WW1 looms large over London, William is joined again by Lotta Rae. Now they will travel to a fateful destination, where truths must be faced and wrongs will be righted.

The day in court is done. But tonight he will hear her testimony.

Rich in historical detail, The Trial of Lotta Rae transports us to suffragette London, combining fact and fiction featuring key historical figures.

Book Review

I felt very emotional reading The Trial of Lotta Rae. The injustice to women at this time frustrates and upsets me.

Lotta Rae, a hard-working working-class woman is brutally attacked by a wealthy gentleman. She decides to take him to court but faces prejudice and discovers at far too early an age that women and especially poor women are treated appallingly.

After her unjust court case Lotta faces further hardship throughout her life. She joins the Suffragette movement whilst she begins an addiction of opium in her grief.

The reputation from her court case followed Lotta for the rest of her days.

This is a fascinating read. Lotta’s character, I’m sure will always stay with me. A feisty young girl who was treated in a vicious way, and not just by the wealthy gentleman of Halloween night.

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I read this book in one sitting as it was compelling and beautifully written.


Siobhan MacGowan is a journalist and writer who lived and worked in London for much of her life before returning to Ireland several years ago. She is from a family of great storytellers, the most prominent of which is her brother, Shane MacGowan of The Pogues. Highlights of Siobhan’s eclectic career include a highly acclaimed solo album ‘Chariot,’ touring with Van Morrison across the US and Europe and appearing in the Johnny Depp produced and Julien Temple directed 2020 film ‘Crock of Gold.’

Siobhan has connections with many of the locations which feature in The Trial of Lotta Rae including Spitalfields, Bishopsgate, Soho and Kings Cross. She lives in County Tipperary.

Twitter @EtainsDream

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