Reviewed by Sarah Lelonek
I don’t usually read historical fiction and by that I mean that I haven’t read historical fiction in a few years. When I agreed to read The Renegade Queen by Eva Flynn, I didn’t know the novel was historical fiction. In fact, I didn’t pick up on this fact until I finished the novel and further researched the book itself. I thought “this is a well researched novel” to myself many times over but I never thought Flynn’s work was actually more of a biography than a pure work of fiction.
The main character, Victoria Clafin (Woodhull), was all but written out of history, as many women of her time happened to be. Victoria was born into a life of rape, abuse, and misfortune caused mostly by her father but ultimately by how the world worked in the mid-1800s. In order to escape her dire situation, Victoria marries a man at the age fourteen–this man in turn “married” alcohol and prostitutes. It is this situation, amongst others, that leads Victoria to vow to try and make the world a better place for women. Victoria learns that even if the law states that women are property, they are not. Women deserve happiness, and happiness means equality in every sense of the word.
The story read just like that: a story. I found myself thinking that I was not really reading history but experiencing it. I also that I would have actually enjoyed high school history if my history texts were written in Flynn’s narrative style. The writing itself flowed without a hitch and I found no issues with grammar or style. Flynn made Victoria’s story come alive and finally wrote Victoria into history.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good narrative and does not mind some graphic scenes and drug usage. Though this is a historical read of sorts, I found it entertaining and captivating. I read about half the novel in one sitting alone. If you want to learn something new about women’s suffrage while reading a good story, then The Renegade Queen is for you.
Sarah Emily Lelonek has a BA in English Literature from Kent State University. She is currently enrolled at Tiffin University in their Master’s of Education program. She enjoys traveling and gaming while on breaks from working on her novel.
Review copy was provided by Omega Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.