The author of the Elm Creek Quilts series takes on the women's suffrage movement in this historical novel, following three activists—Alice Paul, Ida B. Wells and Maud Malone—who bravely risked their lives and liberty in the fight to win the vote for women.
For years, I have been waiting for an engaging and comprehensive story about the women's suffrage movement. So I am happy to report that New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverni absolutely nails it ... The unexpected humor interjected by these outspoken ladies took me by surprise, causing me to laugh out loud numerous times. My favorite parts of the book occurred when the women traveled 250 miles from New York City to Washington, DC in the cold March 1913 weather to participate in the Woman Suffrage Procession. I felt honored and privileged to join their ranks, albeit from my couch, and I could feel their joy and jubilation ... an often brutal and raw look at both sexism and racism, yet it also provides a beautiful and bright ray of hope ... I could not be more pleased, and I implore my fellow readers to march to the bookstore now to pick up a copy.
Jennifer Chiaverini brings a wealth of research and information to an event whose outcome is still felt today. Sadly, the names and the sacrifices of those who organized and participated are not well known, and their hard work has been overlooked and taken for granted. Chiaverini shines in her grasp of the personalities and policies that went into making the march happen. She understands politics and the friends and enemies one must make in order to stand up for a cause ... Although the desire to illustrate that the movement belonged to all women makes sense, because the story is told from the perspective of three different protagonists, there are times the narrative feels disjointed. In spite of this, Chiaverini has given voices to women who worked hard and who gave up much in order for justice to be done.
Although I was excited to see a work of historical fiction about this important moment in time, sadly this novel did not live up to my expectations. The author clearly does her research, but historical fiction should read less like a scholarly text and more like an engrossing tale.