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The Fair Fight

by Anna Freeman

The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman X
The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2015, 480 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2016, 480 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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Windsong

Seeing 17th century England from a different perspective
Although I am not a fan of boxing, I am recommending this book to all readers who might ignore a book about female boxers in the 18th century. The brutality and consequences of the boxers' life in the ring are there, but Anna Freeman uses that setting to show life among the wealthy and impoverished people in that time period. She creates male scoundrels and strong female characters who live on the estates and in the slums. Boxing and gambling on the outcome of the bouts influence all of their lives, but her characters are sympathetic and human. She effectively develops her plot by writing from the perspective of three main characters. My copy of the book has 476 pages which I crammed into 3 1/2 days of reading. I did take time to eat, read, and work, but I found reading a book and multi-tasking are quite compatible.
Cariola

Hard to Put Down
'The Fair Fight' is an excellent and highly original historical novel It's set in late 18th-century England, and revolves around the daughter of a madam who becomes a female boxer (she fights only men, however). There's a lot more to the story than that, however. The novel is divided into sections told by different characters. The first is Ruth, the boxer, who describes her life in "the convent," her jealousy of her beautiful sister, her entry into the ring, and her "marriage." The second narrator is George Bowden, a handsome young man with limited prospects who is in love with more than one person. He lives off Perry Sinclair, a wealthy heir and old school chum; they are friends with Granville Dryer, a gambler who is Ruth's sponsor and her sister's "fancy man." Then there is a third narrator, Charlotte Sinclair, Perry's sad, repressed sister, a former beauty who survived the pox that killed her parents, sister, and another brother, but was left horribly scarred. I love the individual voices of the characters and the way their lives keep crossing. It's a hard one to put down!
Terri C

The Fair Fight
The fair fight follows the lives of Ruth Webber, born in a brothel and a commoner who is thrust into boxing and finds her strength and love of her life, both in vocation as well as in a man who steals her heart, and of Charlotte who was scarred by smallpox and treated poorly by her bother and lost several family members to smallpox as she tries to live into her station/position in life all the while rebelling inside and barely holding down the pent up anger and frustration found in the day to day living of her life until she meets Ruth and is exposed to boxing.
The male characters, George, Granville, and Perry all are exposed as having desires that drive them in various ways as they attempt to live life within the confines of society's expectations while finding ways to satisfy the heart's desire at the same time. From George,a gambler who liked to wager the outcomes of bets, and was not particularly interested in pugilism except for the pleasure that might be found in the outcome "I have never considered myself a fighter; call me, instead, a gaming man- a far merrier mode of living" who was entangled in a love hate relationship with Perry, his first roommate from college to Granville, his other college friend who desires to gain acceptance of the elite society by which he has the money to earn his way into but is looking to solidify with marriage to the right women while he secretly lusts after mollies of the dock at the young age of 15 and Dora in the brothel as an adult married to a society wife, all three men struggle with the illusion of who they want to be with the reality of who and what they are. This story is an excellent read written with language that grips you as you absorb the sentences and come to know the characters and perhaps see a little of the struggles they undergo in the common bonds of humanity within you regarding of the time or place we find ourselves in.
Brenda S

emotionally engaging
The story is told in the voice of a different character for each chapter with one character being of the wealthy elite while another is of the down trodden poor. The author uses great descriptive language to show the disparity between these two classes as well as between the perceived societal mores and the actual mores of each class. For example, men of 'quality' don't always act in a gentlemanly like manner. I mean one of the settings for this novel is a brothel. There is plenty of dirty goings-on, so be prepared for some coarse language as well.

The novel isn't just about female boxing, but an exploration of finding your identity within your class. I really enjoyed it.
Tired Bookreader

Worth the time to read
The book started a little slow, but it soon became clear that this story was one very unique tale. Every angle of each character was addressed whenever an event was introduced. No occurrence is ever viewed the same by those living through it...ask anyone who attended a family reunion.

I finished the book three weeks ago, and yet the story remains. The characters are unforgettable and multi-faceted. I look forward to the publication by Anna Freeman. Thank you!
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