A must read for lovers of 18th century historical fiction!
I probably would have preferred it had the novel been limited to perhaps two of the points of view but overall it is a fine historical novel. I first became aware of this book thanks to the tagline about female pugilists. It seemed pretty hardcore and the story you come for is Ruth's. Ruth is brothel raised but knows she probably isn't going to end up one of the girls because of her looks. One day it is discovered that she can fight and one of the gents decides to take her on as a young novelty fighter. I could have read a whole book of just Ruth's story; it was fascinating and you could really hear and feel her voice. Instead of sticking with her story, though, you get Charlotte - the eventual wife of the man who takes Ruth. Charlotte's story is a sad one from the nobility side of things - she is scarred by smallpox and gets treated rather shabbily by her brother (who is painting in sheer adoration from another's point of view) who takes an interest in Ruth herself when they finally, finally meet.
It's a long haul, and I probably would have been much more content had the story just been Charlotte and Ruth but it's a really great read overall. Lots of historical detail, lively prose (you can tell that the author is slam poet), and story that keeps you reading despite any preferences of narrator.
A hugely enjoyable read.
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