2016 Book #40 – The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman

51R28ASP9AL._SX318_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Fair Fight
Author: Anna Freeman
Date finished: 5/1/16
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publication Date: April 14, 2015
Pages in book: 469
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: BookBrowse NOTE:I received this book for free from BookBrowse in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Moving from a filthy brothel to a fine manor house, from the world of street fighters to the world of champions, The Fair Fight is a vivid, propulsive historical novel announcing the arrival of a dynamic new talent.
Born in a brothel, Ruth doesn’t expect much for herself beyond abuse. While her sister’s beauty affords a certain degree of comfort, Ruth’s harsh looks set her on a path of drudgery. That is until she meets pugilist patron George Dryer and discovers her true calling—fighting bare knuckles in the prize rings of Bristol.
Manor-born Charlotte has a different cross to bear. Scarred by smallpox, stifled by her social and romantic options, and trapped in twisted power games with her wastrel brother, she is desperate for an escape.
After a disastrous, life-changing fight sidelines Ruth, the two women meet, and it alters the perspectives of both of them. When Charlotte presents Ruth with an extraordinary proposition, Ruth pushes dainty Charlotte to enter the ring herself and learn the power of her own strength.
A gripping, page-turning story about people struggling to transcend the circumstances into which they were born and fighting for their own places in society, The Fair Fight is a raucous, intoxicating tale of courage, reinvention, and fighting one’s way to the top.

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I received this book from Book Browse in order to participate in an online book discussion on the book. This book is about a number of people, whose lives all end up being connected in sometimes unusual ways. Ruth is the daughter of a madam, and she lives at the brothel with her husband Tom and her sister, Dora, who is the mistress of Granville Dryer, whose friends Perry Sinclair and George Bowden have a intimate relationship, and Perry’s sister Charlotte marries Granville and later becomes friends with Ruth, her husband’s mistress’s sister. The strings of relationships get a little convoluted but I liked that the book started out separate and then the story lines all seemed to merge toward the middle of the book.
This book also takes an interesting look at how females were treated in the 18th century. At one point the doctor says to Charlotte something about her sex having weak temperaments and that one line alone took me back a step because it was so rude and sexist. Readers can really see how poorly women were treated in the 18th century, though many of the injustices Ruth suffered I think were due to ethical/moral injustices related to the person’s character that she’s dealing with rather than the time period she lived in. Mr. Dryer, for example, did many injustices to Ruth and while they may have been influenced by the time period he lived in, it mostly had to do with who he was as a person.
Overall this wasn’t my favorite book. I had a little trouble staying interested in the story while I was reading it, though I enjoyed the story line when it did hold my attention. Also there were parts of the book that I didn’t want to put the book down and the story line was very thought-provoking and I think will make a great book for the book discussion group. The relationship between George and Perry was one that really caught my attention because of how abusive and awful it was. Perry was really kind of messed up in the head and kept threatening to commit suicide if George left him, which would eventually guilt him into staying. There were many thought-provoking situations and relationships, all of which make for a great book club read. While this wasn’t one of my personal favorite reads, I would still recommend it, especially for book clubs.
The bottom line: I didn’t particularly find this one riveting but a lot of other people have. This turned out to be a slow read for me but I still think this would be a great book club pick since its very thought-provoking.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

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