The Coming Woman
written by Karen J. Hicks
published by Sartoris Literary Group, 2014
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Did I enjoy this book: It’s interesting, but not my style. It’s tough to write (and read) in present tense, and I often felt like I was reading a stage play or screenplay rather than a novel. It’s my own issue—the writing otherwise is wonderful—but I struggled to stay invested in the book because of it.
I also had a bit of an issue with the cover art—it’s beautiful, but it certainly doesn’t match with a novel set in the 1800s—feminist or otherwise.
Content-wise it’s lovely, but again, historical fiction isn’t really my thing. Someone with a more in-depth appreciation for history (feminist or otherwise) would likely rate this book higher than I’m going to.
Would I recommend it: It’s a worthwhile read, but not something I’d recommend to those who typically enjoy reading the same things I do.
About the book – from Goodreads: “The Coming Woman” is a novel based on the life of feminist Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for U.S. President, 50 years before women could even vote!
Running for President wasn’t Victoria’s only first as a woman. She was also the first to own a successful Wall Street firm, the first to publish a successful national newspaper, and the first to head the two-million-member Spiritualist Association. She was the first woman to enter the Senate Judiciary Committee chambers to petition for woman’s suffrage, her argument changing the entire focus of the suffragist movement by pointing out that the 14th and 15th Amendments already gave women the vote.
In her campaign for the Presidency, Victoria Woodhull boldly addressed many of the issues we still face today: equal pay for equal work; freedom in love; corporate greed and political corruption fueled by powerful lobbyists; and the increasing disparity between the rich and the poor, to name only a few. Her outspoken and common-sense ideas may shed a new perspective on the parallel conundrums of today’s world.
This bold, beautiful, and sexually progressive woman dared to take on society and religion. To make an example of the hypocrisy in what Mark Twain dubbed The Gilded Age, she exposed the extramarital affairs of the most popular religious figure of the day (Henry Ward Beecher). This led to her persecution and imprisonment and the longest, most infamous trial of the 19th century. But it did not stop her fight for equality.
Victoria’s epic story, set in the late 1800s, comes to life in a modern, fictional style, while staying true to the actual words and views of the many well-known characters.