Publication Date: July 25, 2016
Lawson Gartner Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 400 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
*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.
Victoria Woodhull was a woman far ahead of her time. From the time of her birth, she was named for greatness; and though she would never be queen, Victoria will reach for the Presidency before women even have the right to vote. Raised by quite a controversial family, her father a swindler and her mother a staunch Spiritualist, Victoria and her sister Tennessee are set up as mediums and healers as children. However, Victoria’s spirit guide shows her going far in life and her experience with all types of people helps her through. Victoria is helped out of her messy childhood first by Dr. Canning Woodhull, who turns out to be no better than her father, but then Victoria meets Colonel James Blood, a civil war hero who helps her with her cause. Victoria and Tennessee are swept up into the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and then become the first women of Wall Street with the help of Commodore Vanderbilt, start their own newspaper and eventually Victoria runs in the 1872 election.
Since I have learned of Victoria Woodhull, I have become slightly obsessed with her life. In Madame Presidentess there is a very good mix of Victoria’s supernatural predilections along with events that truly happened in her life. The Spiritualist side of Victoria’s life fascinates me, especially since it seemed to help her achieve everything that she dreamed for herself. I loved reading about her and Tennie’s time spent with Vanderbilt and how he came to know the sisters. I also enjoyed Victoria’s meeting with other historical figures that I know of such as Walt Whitman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and President Grant. Through Victoria’s eyes, some of these figures are seen in a very different light than what history has shown. Another aspect of Madame Presidentess that I enjoyed was the focus on the political dealings that Victoria had to go through in order to run. It was interesting to see everything that Victoria had to do in order to run. Once again, I'm glad that I had the opportunity to learn more about Victoria as an important historical figure. I wish she would have appeared in my history textbooks as well, but she has fallen to the wayside as a victim of censorship and impropriety, which is exactly what she fought so hard against.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
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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 andTumblr.