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Featherweight Reviews

Featherweight by Mick Kitson


Mick Kitson

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Canongate Books Ltd
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
Publication date: 6 May 2021
ISBN: 9781838851910

A compelling story of overcoming all the odds, and a woman centuries ahead of her time, set on the canals of nineteenth-century England

3 stars out of 5
Nick Rennison
23 May 2021

"Annie is a lively"

The novelty of a female bare-knuckle fighter ensures her notoriety in the Black Country, but she dreams of greater glory and an escape from poverty. Prolonged, literally blow-by-blow descriptions of bouts become repetitive, although Annie is a lively, appealing character and there is plenty more to enjoy in Kitson’s narrative.


4 stars out of 5
Holly Williams
16 May 2021

"The rollicking story of a female bareknuckle boxer in Victorian England makes creative use of the novelist’s family history"

Featherweight transports the reader to the tough, rapidly industrialising world of the 19th-century Black Country, with its old canals and new railways, the soot of the forges and strikes at the nail factories, via lushly detailed, rhythmical descriptions. “The furnace … made the sky orange all night and fat sparks danced up in the steam and curled and fell like they was the shed leaves of a white-hot tree.”

Kitson’s black-and-white, heroes-and-villains plotting is predictable, although Featherweight remains a gleeful, page-flipping read. Fights are breathlessly paced, if not rendered so grittily as to put off the queasier readers out there. It all adds up to a rollicking tale, one you’ll be glad to take a ringside seat for.