Things that Bounded

Ellen and Kate were best friends and committed suffragettes. On the eve of the Great War, Kate burned down a church. A man died and she disappeared. Sixteen years later, Ellen and her brother Freddie have rebuilt their lives after the trauma of war and loss. She is overjoyed when Kate reappears. But Kate is consumed by remorse over the death. They enlist the help of Alec, Freddie’s ex-lover, to find out what happened that day in the church. There are ties from the past that bind them all: guilt, fear, pride. Can they break free from these…

I absolutely loved this fascinating historical read. Things that Bounded drew me in from the very first paragraph and kept me engrossed in its diverse characters and their stories right until the very final page.

The Great War, the Women’s movement and long buried secrets – these are some of the many reasons that I was so drawn to Things That Bounded and why I’m so grateful to Anne Cater from #RandomThings Tours for inviting me to participate in this blog tour.

I love immersing myself in a convincingly told historical tale and I felt like I could totally surrender myself to this reading experience and luxuriate in it over a drench week where we are teetering on the edge of another lockdown here in Scotland – I really felt like I could imagine life in Ellen &Kate’s world and found it very difficult to detach myself from this tale, once I had lost myself in it. I loved the idea that complicated relationships and allegiances aren’t a modern invention and same sex relationships aren’t the prerogative of 21st century people and got totally caught up in his story. I have immediately ordered another two books set during the same period and can’t wait to enjoy them over the weekend

Image result for ww1 sweetheart creative commons

Is anyone else like me and love to go online and immerse themselves in the period of the book that they’re loving, to try and really place themselves in the characters’ world? I love doing it and I found myself scrolling through pages and pages of tales of crimes, the fashions of the time and the limitations for women living in that periods too – I found it totally fascinating and might have developed a new obsession…This book wears its research lightly and makes you feel like you are learning new things about life at this time, rather than just the accepted narrative, which I really enjoyed.

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It was lovely to lose myself in an interesting and thought provoking historical read after a period where I’ve been mostly reading contemporary writing and non-fiction.  It’s funny that I get drawn to books in waves, and after reading Things That Bounded I’m now Bouncing off myself on a real Historical Fiction mission and have been drawn back to one of my comfort-reads –  Rebecca– dealing with secrets, fractured family dynamics and unspoken feelings, too. I am so excited to see it on the screen once my sister is out of lockdown and think that Things that Bounded would make a fantastic Adaptation too!

Ellen, Kate, Alec and Freddie have such vividly-depicted lives, Fiona Graph allowed me to travel back in time with them through its pages.  I really loved the way that she draws the reader in and keeps them connected with the small details that connect and separate these characters as we see the way that people’s choices were far more limited in that era and it is so easy to see why so many people living at that time bowed to convention and tried to mask the truth and bury things that would bring disgrace on the family. The supporting characters played just as important a part as The key figures and I enjoyed seeing the personal and political landscape of the time contrast in this novel as we get an
insight into their lives as well as see how they fitted into the wider context of life and its limitations at this point.

I found myself wondering about Kate,Alec and Freddie when I wasn’t reading this book and thinking about their reasons for behaving in the way that they did – as well as considering how Ellen’s life and choices was of course very different to my Own experiences and how Kate’s personality And passions really shone through although we were so far apart in time and space. This is a touching and intelligent read that will make you think about the way we view people from the past and the suppositions we have about sexuality, courage and acceptance in this period.

I recommend this book for people who enjoy a compelling narrative with memorable characters and a Fresh look at gender roles, decisions about self expression and bravery at a time when even following your heart was a perilous endeavour In a world where conforming was very much the Lesser of two evils…

This is a novel with female and male queer characters, and their love for each other is at its heart. The two central characters were young suffragettes who find each other again in the 1930s. It is an uplifting story which manages to address important and universal themes around vulnerability and courage.” – Helen Pankhurst, international women’s rights activist and writer

Writer On The Shelf


Fiona Graph

Fiona Graph was born in Sydney. Once she had obtained a degree in Psychology and Ancient History, she travelled before settling in north London. She worked variously as a psychologist, for an LGBT organisation and as a librarian, before ending up at the Foreign Office. Her youthful interest in writing came back strongly about five years ago. 

Things that Bounded, published in October 2020, is her first novel. Helen Pankhurst, international women’s rights activist and writer, called it “an uplifting story which manages to address important and universal themes around vulnerability and courage.” A second novel, Beloved Ghost, will come out in 2021.

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