Source: This book was given to me by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis: *Winner: U.S. Women’s History category – 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction
Forty-eight years before women were granted the right to vote, one woman dared to run for President of the United States, yet her name has been virtually written out of the history books.
Rising from the shame of an abusive childhood, Victoria Woodhull, the daughter of a con-man and a religious zealot, vows to follow her destiny, one the spirits say will lead her out of poverty to “become ruler of her people.”
But the road to glory is far from easy. A nightmarish marriage teaches Victoria that women are stronger and deserve far more credit than society gives. Eschewing the conventions of her day, she strikes out on her own to improve herself and the lot of American women.
Over the next several years, she sets into motion plans that shatter the old boys club of Wall Street and defile even the sanctity of the halls of Congress. But it’s not just her ambition that threatens men of wealth and privilege; when she announces her candidacy for President in the 1872 election, they realize she may well usurp the power they’ve so long fought to protect.
Those who support her laud “Notorious Victoria” as a gifted spiritualist medium and healer, a talented financial mind, a fresh voice in the suffrage movement, and the radical idealist needed to move the nation forward. But those who dislike her see a dangerous force who is too willing to speak out when women are expected to be quiet. Ultimately, “Mrs. Satan’s” radical views on women’s rights, equality of the sexes, free love and the role of politics in private affairs collide with her tumultuous personal life to endanger all she has built and change how she is viewed by future generations.
This is the story of one woman who was ahead of her time – a woman who would make waves even in the 21st century – but who dared to speak out and challenge the conventions of post-Civil War America, setting a precedent that is still followed by female politicians today.
My Review: Victoria Woodhull is the first woman who ran for president of the United States. However, despite her accomplishments, she was known to lead a scandalous life that made her an unsuitable candidate for President. However, Nicole Evelina takes this controversial figure and gives her a voice to let readers see her side of this story. Madame Presidentess chronicles the life of Victoria Woodhull from her childhood until after her run for President. In this novel, it shows a woman’s determination to fight to make her dreams come true.
Victoria Woodhull’s early life is very sad. It was very hard and disturbing to read. Yet, even though it was uncomfortable, it shows how her early life greatly impacted her beliefs. Victoria was abused by her parents, and her first husband was a womanizer who never cared for her. Both her parents and her husband treat her cruelly. Yet, no matter how dire the circumstances were, Victoria was a determined woman. She vowed that she would make her life better, and that she would fulfill her dreams. It is through her persistence that readers come to admire Victoria. She was a woman who made her own success. However, Victoria had her flaws. She was prideful and sometimes she could be a bit ruthless. Yet, I found her to be very human. While she had her ups and downs, trials, and obstacles, she gave all her effort to make a successful life.
Overall, this is an in-depth psyche of a controversial and complex woman. This story is about a woman who never gives up. While I found that I did not like Victoria as a whole, I do find some of her qualities to be very admirable. She was a strong advocate for women’s suffrage. She believed in women’s rights. I really found this story to be very engrossing, and I would have liked for the story to be longer. I would love for the author to write another book about Victoria’s later life or her sister, Tennessee Claflin because in the author’s note, they seem to have had a colorful life while they were in England. I believe Madame Presidentess is a great tribute to a woman who has been largely forgotten by the women’s suffrage United States history as a whole.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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About the Author
Nicole Evelina is an award-winning historical fiction and romantic comedy writer. Her most recent novel, Been Searching for You, a romantic comedy, won the 2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests.
She also writes historical fiction. Her debut novel, Daughter of Destiny, the first book of an Arthurian legend trilogy that tells Guinevere’s life story from her point of view, was named Book of the Year by Chanticleer Reviews, took the Grand Prize in the 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Women’s Fiction/Romance, won a Gold Medal in the fantasy category in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards and was short-listed for the Chaucer Award for Historical Fiction. The sequel, Camelot’s Queen is out now.
Nicole is one of only six authors who completed a week-long writing intensive taught by #1 New York Times bestselling author Deborah Harkness. Nicole has traveled to England twice to research the Guinevere’s Tale trilogy, where she consulted with internationally acclaimed author and historian Geoffrey Ashe, as well as Arthurian/Glastonbury expert Jaime George, the man who helped Marion Zimmer Bradley research The Mists of Avalon.
Nicole is a member of and book reviewer for The Historical Novel Society, and Sirens (a group supporting female fantasy authors), as well as a member of the Historical Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, Women Writing the West, Broad Universe (promoting women in fantasy, science fiction and horror), Alliance of Independent Authors and the Independent Book Publishers Association.
Her website/blog is http://nicoleevelina.com and she can be found on Twitter as well as on Pinterest, Facebook, Goodreads, Instagram and Tumblr.
To enter the Madame Presidentess Giveaway for a paperback of the book and/or Victoria Woodhull Bumper Sticker, please see the GLEAM form below. 3 winners will receive a copy of the book and a bumper sticker. 7 winners will receive the Victoria Woodhull Bumper Sticker.
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