That Dickinson Girl

HISTORICAL: It was the height of the American Civil War, and eighteen-year-old Anna Dickinson is on the cusp of glory when she meets the Pennington sisters at a political rally. The sisters have fallen on hard times after the loss of their parents. Julia Pennington is forced to work at a mill to support her younger sister, Gracie, through school. After losing her job and falling out with her sister, Julia is destitute. Anna offers her a position as her companion on her oratory tour. Their friendship evolves on the journey, but their hearts are being pulled in different directions. Is love strong enough to withstand Anna's ambition of fame and fortune? Will Julia find the strength to stand up for herself and reconcile with her sister?
Well written, it gives a flavor of the socio-political landscape during the Civil War, with a biographical snapshot of Anna Dickinson’s romantic relationships - although Julia is a fictional representation in this story. The facts are well-researched and include many historical figures that give it authenticity. The reader is drawn into their youthful hopes and dreams, but is soon torn between admiring their guts and bravery, and recognizing their immaturity. There is less said of Anna’s early years, and the demonstration of her public prowess, which is perhaps a missed opportunity. What inspired her initial interest? How did she carve a platform for herself as a woman of these times? Who were the puppeteers behind her rise and downfall? The Author's Note alludes to this, but does not weave it into the story. Regardless, it is a truly engaging read and would pique
the reader’s curiosity to learn more about this trailblazer.
Rika Chandra