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Tree of Heaven by May Sinclair

Mayu Sinclair

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The Tree of Heaven follows the fortunes of the Harrison family as the children grow up in the shadow of the First World War and Dorothy's brothers go off, one by one, to the trenches, while she becomes involved with the suffrage movement, and later joins a version of the Women's Social and Political Union. Published at a time when women still did not have the right to vote, Sinclair - passionately in favour of women's enfranchisement - asks not if the vote should be won, but how. Her reflection on the war is of course limited by having not yet seen its end (The Tree of Heaven was published in 1917), yet Sinclair provides an excellent snapshot of the views and experiences of a family in the face of such great uncertainty.