Freedom. Sacrifice. Courage.
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Like Fire-Hearted Suns

Melanie Joosten

An Australian Women’s Weekly Great Read

The cost of freedom is sacrifice
London, 1908. It’s the dawn of a new century and change is in the air.
When 17-year-old Beatrice Taylor stumbles across the offices of the infamous Pankhursts and the Women’s Social and Political Union she begins to realise her future may not be the one she wants.
Her friend Catherine Dawson is too pragmatic to get caught up in the women’s suffrage movement. Despite Oxford refusing to award women degrees she is determined to keep apace with her twin brother and pursue a career in science.
Meanwhile, Ida Bennett, recently promoted to head wardress of DX wing at Holloway Prison, has her work cut out for her. The suffragette inmates are refusing to be treated like criminals—and Ida's not having any of it.
This is the story of three women whose lives become entwined—with the burgeoning women’s movement and with each other. Like Fire-Hearted Suns shows how much things have changed for women—and how much they stay the same.

About the Author

Melanie Joosten is the author of two novels and a book of essays. Berlin Syndrome (2011), a psychological thriller, won the Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist prize, and the Kathleen Mitchell Award for the best writer in Australia under 30. Berlin Syndrome was made into an internationally released, AACTA-nominated film directed by Cate Shortland and starring Teresa Palmer. A Long Time Coming: Essays on Old Age was shortlisted for the Nib Waverley Prize (and won the People’s Prize). It was named the Australasian Journal of Ageing Book of the Year. A social worker by profession, she works as an adviser in justice reform.



‘For those who enjoyed The Dictionary of Lost Words and Lessons in Chemistry, Melanie Joosten's latest novel will fuel appreciation for the women who advocated for gender equality, no matter the cost.’ – Books+Publishing

‘Sometimes a reviewer wants to write this: ‘‘I loved this book. You might too. The end” … The best art is compelling, and clarifying. The latitude of Joosten’s imagination has made all these long-dead invisible women visible to us, bringing updated news from the past.’ – Sydney Morning Herald


‘Thoughtful, intelligent writing with strong, credible female characters, each of whom grapples with the consequences of her choices.’ – The Age


This historical drama manages to both faithfully recreate a particular setting and time period while also keeping up the thriller pace.’ Vogue Australia

‘Most of us recall stories of the suffragettes from school – the horrors endured, the courage summoned in the battle for women to win the vote. We take that right for granted now, but like author Melanie Joosten I was captivated by these fearless warriors. Her new novel, Like Fire-Hearted Suns, is essential reading, an extraordinary tale that takes us right into the heart of that vital period in history.’ Australian Women’s Weekly


Like Fire-Hearted Suns shows how much things have changed for women—and how much they stay the same.’ – AU Review


‘Joosten is a gifted writer who manages to integrate factual detail into an engaging, compelling story with a fascinating cast. Her ability to revitalise such an important chapter of women’s history is a huge achievement.’ – The Conversation




Pub Date
March 2024




Historical Fiction. Feminism. Suffragette. WWI.