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Daring, witty and unexpected


With June being Pride Month, Jill by Amy Dillwyn is an obvious pick for our Classics Challenge. Dillwyn’s exploration of unrequited same-sex romance is nearly 150 years old (100 years older than Pride), but Dillwyn’s forward thinking and eagerness to break the mould makes this book feel modern and well suited to our June reading list, but equally would entertain us throughout the year.

Dillwyn once said “I abhor domestic novels.” She wasn’t a fan of love stories or conventional heroes and we see this in her earlier book The Rebecca Rioter (May’s Classics Pick) but with Jill Dillwyn amplifies her stance taking us on an unexpected adventure with a character as diverse and unusual as the story itself.

Jill—a gentlewoman with a yearning for adventure—disguises herself as a maid and runs off to London. She forms a strong friendship and one-sided romance with her mistress Kitty and later with Sister Helena. This desire felt through Jill is richly narrated and reflects Dillwyn’s own personal romances and unrequited love.

Dillwyn also explores class from a unique set of eyes: a gentlewoman who is pretending to be a servant. This allows the narrative to spark with great humour and social commentary. Dillwyn’s witty overview of the world through Jill’s sharp eye, keeps the story lively and exciting.

Just like with The Rebecca Rioter Amy Dillwyn offers readers a flawless and fun narrative. With Jill we are taken into her confidence and passed secret whispers on the truths of Jill’s world. We are immersed into Jill’s adventures and feel our hearts swell and ache in tandem. This is one of my favourite Welsh Women’s Classics so far.

Lynzie Fitzpatrick – June 2024

[Lynzie Fitzpatrick, Honno’s Business Manager, is one of the team embarking on the Classics Reading Challenge this year. Keep an eye on our website and social media for more updates and reviews of our Welsh Women’s Classics]

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