Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Half of the Human Race” as Want to Read:
Half of the Human Race
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Half of the Human Race

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  523 ratings  ·  74 reviews
A story of love, sacrifice, suffrage and county cricket, projected against a vivid backdrop of England in the early 20th century - an extraordinary age of turmoil and violence.
Hardcover, 349 pages
Published July 18th 2012 by Jonathan Cape (first published February 1st 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Half of the Human Race, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Half of the Human Race

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Roman Clodia
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an intelligent and assured novel which eschews the melodrama that tends to accrue around subjects like the suffragettes and the first world war. Instead this feels subtle and deeply-felt with a kind of emotional and historical integrity to it.

Spanning a nine year period, this opens in 1911 when the 21 year old Connie first meets Will Maitland, a professional cricketer. They neither fall in love at first sight, nor do they indulge in coy and arch bickering to conceal their instant attract
Jun 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
The idea sounds interesting: a novel about the the women's suffrage movement, the first World War, and cricket, the last-named presumably emblematic of England before the advent of the first two. Alas, the work itself is terrible.

Imagine a book by a contemporary man attempting to sound like a woman attempting to sound like E. M Forster. This is it. Numerous elements of the story are both psychologically unconvincing and practically implausible, even within the context of the fluid realities of t
Mar 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this. This is a much much better cover than the one I saw - actually gives you an impression of what the book's about - from the cover and blurb of the paperback edition I read you'd hardly know it was about suffragettes.

An absorbing read - it would be very very easy to descend into cliches and predictability and this didn't happen; it was also effectively character-driven, without a trite manufactured 'happy ending' which would have ruined the character development laid out so c
Jan 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
I really enjoyed this novel. It is beautiful written in a simple A to B, past tense, third person narrative. It's such a relief to read something written in a traditional style which allows the plot and characters come to the fore.

This novel features some fascinating topics including suffragettes, cricket, World War 1. It is engaging and opens a window on life in the 1910's. The main characters, star-crossed lovers Will and Connie, are fully rounded, flawed but likeable people; it was a joy to
Jul 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hab-readers
This took me a long time to read, it was very slow and rather boring, it was a reading group read,chosen by the library not us. Set from 1911 to 1920 it covers the issues of women`s suffrage and the Great War. It is billed as a moving love story, which is very off and on. The main character is a so called professional cricketer, which I doubt they had then, so if you know nothing about cricket much of it would be meaningless. For the rest Ford Maddox Ford wrote about a similar situation in the s ...more
Feb 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
OK, I have finished it. I didnt dislike the book as I thought the characters were all brought to life well, overall it was a well told story. But I am afraid I just couldnt warm to it. The story is set Pre and during and post WW1 and includes the movement of the suffragets. The two main characters are a headstrong female desperate to be come a doctor and a cricket playing male of society. I liked the flow of the story, nothing appeared to be lost or forgotten in the telling of this major histori ...more
This book had a very slow start and to begin with, I really disliked most of the characters. But it got better and towards the end, I was hooked as to what would happen to the suffragette Connie, the cricketer Will and all their friends and family.
Inadvertently, this was the second novel with a Suffragette theme I read this week. It also involves cricket and a painter and WWI and is at heart, a well-written, thoroughly entertaining love story.
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely falls under the umbrella of what my mum might call "a nice wee book", minus the fact that it's quite long! Very easy to read, and about a time in history I know very little about, which helped increase my investment. The descriptions were simple but evocative, and I had a feeling of really living alongside the characters, even though the characters' feelings didn't feel all that immediate for me. I didn't mind that; I was happy to be carried along for the ride.

A description I loved, a
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Admittedly, I will forgive a book with a plucky wartime heroine almost anything - here it’s occasionally unconvincing motivations and multiple counts of ‘wanting desperately to say something/ being unable to speak’ - but I really enjoyed this. It’s just a good, old-fashioned love-in-war story. There’s a sort of Jane Austen quality to the parade of characters moving in and out of each other’s lives over time, misunderstandings and social mores. Simple, satisfying and so, so readable.
Michael Harling
It wasn't a bad read, but as you can see by how long it took me to read it, it didn't grip me. On the other hand, I kept at it, so there must have been something there. It painted a fairly good picture of the era, which was around the First World War, and depicted the dangers of the Suffragette movement well. I guess I was just busy doing other things.
Lindsay Barnard
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Slightly slow-paced start at the cricket match when the main characters are introduced, but the plot soon gets going with a good mix of historical action involving the suffragette movement; events around the First World War and an ongoing love story. A good sense of period, rounded characters and effective plot makes this an enjoyable read.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic. A great read, poignant love story

Strongly recommended
I really like Anthony Quinn novels and this shares the sense of place and character, and the rich ical detail, but adds a very moving love story
Tolkien InMySleep
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Intelligent romance with a social conscience
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
You can read the full review on my blog Miscellany Pages. Expand Your Reading Horizons - Book Blog with Variety!

Rating: 4 stars

Category: Historical, Romance

Synopsis: Constance is a suffragette with ambitions to become a surgeon and a deep aversion to following her sister’s footsteps into domesticity. Will is the rising star of county cricket, whose values are far more ‘traditional’. When the two fall in love, each finds their views of the world irrevocably sh
Nov 27, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A modern Jane Austen or like a cricket match, lots of hanging around with not much action, maidens and dot balls, then a flurry of action, the ring of willow as the ball races to the boundary?

This book is set in and around London in the 1910s. A time of great change in the city and the country as Queen Victoria dies and women's rights come to the fore with the suffragette movement. The two main characters are Will Maitland, an ex-lawyer turned professional cricket player from an upper class fami
Ian Young
A novel set in an interesting period (1910 – early 1920s), against the background of the suffragette movement. Could be enjoyed simply as a light romance, but written with more serious intent and reviewed as literary fiction by most of the broadsheets. The central characters are an independently minded young woman and a rather stuffy county cricketer, who are strongly attracted to each other but struggle to get beyond their political positions. There are a number of significant peripheral figure ...more
Jun 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Much of my enjoyment of this book stemmed from the characterisation of Connie. Admittedly the extent to which I felt I could relate her in terms of character, conviction and experience coloured what might otherwise be a harsher criticism of some of the book's problems. Namely, as much as I understood Will's affection for Connie and to some degree its developments, Connie's inner monologue seemed stunningly blank when it came to representing her feelings for him. Coming from an author who draws t ...more
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
Apr 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
It's 1911, Constance is 21 and has had to drop out of medical school after her father's sudden death. She is an advocate for the right of women to vote and becomes involved in the suffragette movement. She meets Will, a handsome and wealthy young cricketer and they strike up a friendship. However, while Will admires and is attracted to Constance, he also has strong reservations about her attitudes and illegal activities. While this is essentially the story of their relationship, the story - whic ...more
Kathleen Dixon
This is a nice clean romance told in an old-fashioned style and centred around the suffrage movement in Britain and World War One, with a side look at professional sports. The feisty Connie is a great character - brought up to be an independent thinker by her father, but moved back into a traditional role on his death (by her mother and elder sister), she nevertheless has the gumption to get involved in women's suffrage, which leads her to places she would never have dreamed of. Will is a profes ...more
Mar 03, 2012 rated it liked it
The main characters in this novel are not the easiest to warm to. Both are torn between love and ambition. So much so that one wonders in the end, do they settle for the one because the other has eluded them?
We learn in the first chapters that Connie's early ambitions to study medicine have been curtailed by lack of money. She is also involved with the suffragette movement. (We are now about a century on and it seems crazy that women didn't have the vote then. However, would I have condoned a m
Claire Greaney
I found this book enjoyable and disappointing in equal measures. Set in the earlier part of the twentieth century, the novel's backdrops illustrate the tumultuous climate in Britain in a period were women were fighting for the right to vote and the country was fighting 'a war to end all wars'.
Whilst I had little interest in Will's world of cricket, I would have loved the author to devote more of the novel to the Suffragette movement. The portrayal of life in the trenches was gritty and vivid, a
David Lowther
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a good old fashioned pot-boiler, excitingly told and written in the style of the early 20th. century in which it's set. It's a love story, a war story and a tale about cricket and political activism. Half of the Human Race is meticulously reseached and skillfully constructed as we follow the main characters until their paths cross.

Anthony Quinn's first novel was The Rescue Man and was set in Liverpool during the blitz. He's also the film critic of The Independent and I read his reviews e
Sean Harding
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is one of the most wonderful and beautiful books I have read.
The use of the language is amazing, with ancient and obscure words used greatly.
The plot itself is moving and challenging and takes you on a rollercoaster ride of deep and real emotions.
It takes you from joy, to anger, to sadness, almost despair, before finishing on a rule satisfying ending.
It is well recommended and should be read by many people.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ant Koplowitz
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I loved Half of the Human Race by Anthony Quinn, a big book with a big story. It starts in 1911 and takes in the momentous events of the decade, with the focus being the will-they-won't-they relationship between Will Maitland and Constance Callaway.

The underlying theme is Connie's struggle to assert herself as an independent woman in the constricting and patriarchal world of the early 20th century. Quinn's exploration of women's suffrage and the conflicts this raised for the women themselves an
Apr 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable read - I particularly liked the descriptions of life after the war something I'm really not familiar with and hadn't previously thought about. A lot of books I've read recently have been crammed with literary quotes just shoe-horned in which I hate - this book had none of that pretentiousness and was all the better for it. Would have liked more detail on how everything turned out especially regarding Connie's career, but that didn't spoil the book for me. I found this book by search ...more
Apr 03, 2012 rated it liked it
An enjoyable book with a good story. I loved the way the suffragette movement was set against the very English gentile world of cricket, a good contrast. Will's character probably summed up a lot of people of the time who just accepted that that was the way that the world was and why would you want to change it, without it being a particularly detrimental attitude towards women and their rights. His circular change of mood annoyed me in the first part of the book where he rotated from being shoc ...more
Jayne Charles
Nov 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
If I was ever tempted to see the suffragette movement as a small group of women who chained themselves to railings and immediately forced the government to capitulate to their demands, I’m not tempted to do so after reading this. It brings to life the injustices suffered by women at that time, the scale of the struggle, and the contempt with which suffragists were held at the time – even by other women. It conveys the sense of frustration felt by the oppressed in the face of the and the complace ...more
Jane Cable
Aug 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I wanted to read this book because I'm a big cricket fan and novels with the sport as a backdrop are rare. The book is far wider though, and depicts the class and gender struggles of the Edwardian era beautifully, backed by painstaking research. The characters stand out from the page and I missed them so much when I finished the book - always a good sign - and as a writer I spent some time working out how Quinn had done it. A slight frustration was how the book deteriorated into a predictable WW ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Ten Stories about Smoking
  • Elizabeth: Renaissance Prince
  • The Red and the Green (Vintage Classics)
  • Long Time, No See
  • Sarah's Story
  • Mrs Rosie and the Priest
  • The Afterparty
  • The Story of Spain
  • Medea
  • A Cruel Bird Came to the Nest and Looked In
  • Waterline
  • The Bridge in the Clouds (The Magician's House Quartet, #4)
  • Sappho's Leap
  • A Man of Parts
  • The Reinvention of Love
  • Spring
  • In the Beginning: A New Interpretation of Genesis
  • Bone & Cane
Anthony Quinn was born in Liverpool in 1964. Since 1998 he has been the film critic of the Independent. His debut novel, THE RESCUE MAN, won the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award. His second novel, HALF OF THE HUMAN RACE, was released in spring 2011. THE STREETS, Anthony's newest book, is set to be published by Johnathan Cape in October 2012.
“We are what we love, Connie. The secret - the thing we hope for - is having that love returned.” 4 likes
More quotes…