A look behind the curtains at the life of the celebrated 19th century American actress whom Walt Whitman called a "genius" and who played female and male roles to equal acclaim. She was a radical on and off the stage, making an independent income, supporting her family, creating one of the first bohemian artists’ colonies abroad, and living publicly as a queer woman.
Lady Romeo by Tana Wojczuk will keep you up at night. Turning the page—hungering for more ... Wojczuk, brings Cushman, who lived from 1816 to 1876 and was as famous as Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson or Charles Dickens, vividly to life. As you read, you forget that you live in the 21st century ... Wojczuk rescues Cushman from history’s dustbin. Lady Romeo brings a queer icon back to the stage.
The story is riveting, but unfortunately it is related in the bland manner of a young-adult novel, and the author’s flat, declarative style is ornamented with dubious novelistic touches describing things she can’t possibly have known. Ms. Wojczuk plods through events step by step when she might have skimmed over the duller episodes and dwelt more lovingly on the fun and fascinating material, of which there is a great deal. The book is also poorly edited and fact-checked, with quite a few misstatements ... Lady Romeo is a good read, but it made me wish for a much longer and more leisurely biography of this delicious character.
... a brisk and vivid biography ... Wojczuk enriches her portrait with lively theater gossip and detailed discussions of 19th-century class, social, and gender codes. This enthralling history restores Cushman to her rightful place in the spotlight.