Today I'm pleased to post an excerpt and host a giveaway for Karen Hicks' latest novel The Coming Woman.
But first here's the synopsis from Goodreads.
"The Coming Woman" is a novel based on the life of feminist Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for U.S. President, 50 years before women could even vote!
Running for President wasn’t Victoria’s only first as a woman. She was also the first to own a successful Wall Street firm, the first to publish a successful national newspaper, and the first to head the two-million-member Spiritualist Association. She was the first woman to enter the Senate Judiciary Committee chambers to petition for woman's suffrage, her argument changing the entire focus of the suffragist movement by pointing out that the 14th and 15th Amendments already gave women the vote.
In her campaign for the Presidency, Victoria Woodhull boldly addressed many of the issues we still face today: equal pay for equal work; freedom in love; corporate greed and political corruption fueled by powerful lobbyists; and the increasing disparity between the rich and the poor, to name only a few. Her outspoken and common-sense ideas may shed a new perspective on the parallel conundrums of today’s world.
This bold, beautiful, and sexually progressive woman dared to take on society and religion. To make an example of the hypocrisy in what Mark Twain dubbed The Gilded Age, she exposed the extramarital affairs of the most popular religious figure of the day (Henry Ward Beecher). This led to her persecution and imprisonment and the longest, most infamous trial of the 19th century. But it did not stop her fight for equality.
Victoria’s epic story, set in the late 1800s, comes to life in a modern, fictional style, while staying true to the actual words and views of the many well-known characters.
This sounds like an intriguing read. Here's an excerpt.
Victoria skips back up the steps, flipping through the newspaper. Glancing up as she opens the door, she spies tall, scarecrow-looking Stephen Pearl Andrews skirting puddles, hurrying toward her. His bony nose, bushy gray hair, and grizzled beard glisten with droplets of rain. His calf-length black coat flaps wildly in the breeze. Victoria grins and goes to meet him, blue eyes sparkling like sunlit waves. She takes his arm and Andrews’ wildness softens at her touch. He pats her hand.
“So did the Herald print your announcement?” he asks.
“The entire thing! And Ashley Cole wrote the perfect headline and introduction!”
“You are on your way to your destiny, la mia stella.”
Inside the house, Victoria walks past tall vases of fragrant flowers and a staircase that curls upward to the second floor. She stops at a marble statue of the famous Greek orator Demosthenes—classic tunic, laced sandals, laurel wreath on his head.
“Demosthenes’ promise to me as a child—that I would live in a mansion in a city surrounded by ships and rule my people—It’s all coming true! How do you say thank you in Greek, Pearl?”
“Efharisto, Demosthenes! I will fight for freedom for our people as you did for the Greeks.” She pecks Andrews on the cheek. “Demosthenes’ prophecy has driven my entire life, Pearl, but you are his corporeal representation and have given me the courage to act on it. So thank you, too.”
“Yes, yes. Let’s look at this announcement now.”
Victoria opens the Herald to page eight, and Andrews reads the headline aloud.
“’The Coming Woman, Victoria C. Woodhull, to race for the White House: What she will and what she won't do . . . New ideas on government.’” He beams proudly. “Victoria, a Golden Age is upon us, and you are going to lead it!”
“Come, Pearl, we must tell the family!” She takes Andrews’ arm and hurries down the hallway, a spring in her step. Andrews reluctantly allows himself to be dragged along. The cacophony of voices increases as they near the kitchen, and Andrews slows his stride even more. Victoria chuckles. “Come now, you’re not going to the gallows.”
“I think I would rather,” Andrews mutters.
They enter the kitchen, where Victoria’s mother Roxanna Claflin, a short, stern woman with tightly curled gray hair, sits at the foot of the table, carping with a heavy German accent. She glares at Andrews through round, wire-rimmed glasses. Victoria’s quarrelsome father Buck, whose sharp features are made more ominous by a black patch over his left eye, is at the table’s head. The long, wooden benches along each side hold over a dozen sisters, husbands, and children.
Victoria’s youngest sister Tennessee looks up excitedly. Tennie is twenty-five, shorter than Victoria, and fashionably plump. Her dark hair is an unruly mop of short, tousled curls, and her eyes resemble deep wells of melted chocolate.
“Did they print it?” she asks.
“Every word!” Victoria says.
Colonel James Blood, Victoria’s dark and dashing Civil War hero husband, walks over and kisses his wife. She kisses him back, and then hugs her daughter Zulu Maud. The girl’s eyes light up with adoration, looking like a sunny, summer sky. Victoria tries to hug her son Byron as well, but he jerks away, spilling his milk. Byron is physically large for his fifteen years, but mentally he is still a five-year-old. He grins a toothless grin as Zulu Maud sops up the milk. The family begins to bicker.
“My god, people!” Tennie yells, clapping for attention. “Shut up for five minutes and let Victoria read the paper! History is being made here.”
And here's the giveaway!
Have a great day!