Author: Nicole Evelina
Publisher: Lawson Gartner Printing
Release Date: July 25, 2016
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewer: Jessica Higgins
Think Hillary’s the first woman to run for president? Think again!
Victoria Woodhull always believed that she had a destiny. After all, the spirits had spoken it to her. Born and raised in poverty, she learned the art of seeking the spirits and fortune telling from her mother. Both her parents were con artists in the 1850s and even had Victoria and her younger sister Tennie participate as spirit seekers until Victoria became so exhausted that she almost died. She then met a young doctor named Canning Woodhull who helped nurse her back to health and then married her. Turned out he was a bit of a con artists as well. Then in the late 1960s, she was presented to Mr. Cornelius Vanderbilt for her spiritual services. Through this relationship, she became quite adept at the stock market and even opened her own brokerage firm with her sister. To say the least, it was a bit of a scandal to have a woman owned investment firm on Wall Street in that day. Eventually, Victoria became caught up in the woman’s suffrage movement and was nominated to run for President against an incumbent Ulysses S. Grant. As fate would have it, she became a bit of her own undoing and become known as Mrs. Satan for her views of free love and spirituality. She even wrote an article about the affair of clergyman Henry Ward Beecher for which she was arrested and spent the Election Day in a cell (sounds almost like this could happen today), but still had voters turn out for her. Unfortunately, there has been very little credited to her work and has primarily been excluded from the history books.
I admit that I fall into the category that most probably do in that I had no idea of the history of Victoria Woodhull. I have heard of Susan B. Anthony and several of the other characters included in this book, but not of Victoria herself. Evelina spins a very interesting and well-read tale of her life that includes all of the high (and low) points of her career. She also did a great job of spinning her viewpoints of her platform that could be understood in today’s terms. I often say that history repeats itself, which is why it is so important that we have works that focus on history. Without authors that are willing to research a subject that had significance, but didn’t make the history book cut or was willing blotted out to serve some sort of political action committees cause, we would continue to make the same decisions and possible mistakes over and over again. For those who aren’t huge fans of biographies, this is more of a tale that will be much easier read. Even so, I suggest you do research on Victoria Woodhull independently just to satisfy your curiosity.
There are several sexual references throughout, some which include some mild to strong dialogue that will be uncomfortable for some. There is also some mild language and profanity throughout. I recommend this book to mature readers on the subject matter.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.