Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Book Review: Prospects of a Woman

Happy Wednesday! It's hump day, I'm half way through this dumpster fire of a week and I realize I need to get things together for our family photos on Saturday. It's not that we're doing anything fancy, we are literally only going to JC Penney because it's inexpensive and almost no work for me. I have outfits picked and I'm just hoping they all fit. Cross your fingers, folks. 

Prospects of a Woman - Wendy Voorsanger

Elisabeth Parker comes to California from Massachusetts in 1849 with her new husband, Nate, to reunite with her father, who’s struck gold on the American River. But she soon realizes her husband is not the man she thought—and neither is her father, who abandons them shortly after they arrive. As Nate struggles with his sexuality, Elisabeth is forced to confront her preconceived notions of family, love, and opportunity. She finds comfort in corresponding with her childhood friend back home, writer Louisa May Alcott, and spending time in the company of a mysterious California. Armed with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance, she sets out to determine her role in building the West, even as she comes to terms with the sacrifices she must make to achieve independence and happiness. A gripping and illuminating window into life in the Old West, Prospects of a Woman is the story of one woman’s passionate quest to carve out a place for herself in the liberal and bewildering society that emerged during the California gold rush frenzy. 
I am super excited to talk about this because though I'm not really a fan of historical fiction, every once in awhile I read one that really just piques my interest and that's exactly what this one did. I will tell you I went into this thinking maybe it was a little more romance but it really wasn't. It was still really good and I'm so glad I picked this one up. 

Taking place during the Gold Rush, we have Elisabeth who marries Nate in the hopes to escape poverty (and basically her parents checking out on her). All of those hopes are dashed because she finds herself with a man who is possibly MORE unloving than her parents were to her but even more poverty. They are going west and west at that time was a very different life than anywhere else in the world. In California in that time women actually had more rights than back east and that's an attractive piece of information for Elisabeth. The author does a GREAT job describing the wild west, you really feel the wildness and the general feel of what it was like during this developing time. 

Despite the more modern time out west, Elisabeth doesn't have it easy at all but she's determined and that's what carries her. We learn so much about Elisabeth and her past but we also see her expanding independence and that was the best part of this book for me. I won't tell you this book has no romance because it has some. I can't even really say it's romance so much, more like her sexual awakening... kind of? It is really part of her growing independence but I will tell you that if infidelity (or even the idea of it) is a trigger or deal breaker for you this book might not be for you. I normally don't like to read about that but Elisabeth and Nate were both deeply unhappy and have their own reasons for not divorcing when these things were happening and while I don't agree, I kind of understood it in a really odd way. Nate isn't my favorite but thinking of the time they were in, I understand his struggles but Elisabeth doesn't deserve a life held back because of his truths. 

Overall I really liked this one, definitely a 4 star read for me. The only thing keeping this back from a 5 star is I felt like Elisabeth was unlikeable at times and I struggled with Nate. Every other component of this book was so great and if you are a fan of historical fiction you will love this, but those who are partial to the Gold Rush period will love it even more. 

A huge thank you to PR by the Book and Wendy Voorsanger for having me on this tour and sending me an ARC for review. I highly suggest this, it would make for a great fall or cozy winter read for sure!

1 comment:

Why Girls Are Weird said...

Interesting.... this isn't normally my kind of book but I could be into it!