Tuesday, March 1, 2016
The Renegade Queen by Eva Flynn - unforgetable mixture of brashness, candor and humility
I have an author interview scheduled for March 8th, the international women's day celebrated worldwide. I would like to share my thoughts on Eva Flynn's debut novel The Renegade Queen. I have a soft spot for characters described as "renegades so controversial, they were erased from history". The above mentioned renegades are Victoria Woodhull and the love of her life James Blood, disgusted by war.
With a female presidential candidate in the news, it seems timely to revisit the broader issue of female leadership, making her novel very relevant. In her bio, the author states that she grew up hearing stories of 19th century feminists, and the depth of that background knowledge is quite apparent in her novel. It's narrated in the first person - a daunting task for a historical novel charged with ideology, because it's so tempting to lapse into the "talking head" mode. Flynn recreates the inner world of Victoria Woodhull through candid, graphic commentary. The content is not for the faint of heart. The uninhibited heroine describes acts of domestic violence in a very casual tone. Not a touch of melodrama. I applaud the author for not delivering the narration through the prism of 21st century feminist ideology, as many less skilled and vigilant authors would be tempted to do. Flynn's Woodhull is both daring and at the same time humble. If you're a woman, regardless of your social standing and your view of gender issues, you will relate to Victoria Woodhull, even though she may not feel like "the girl next door". The Renegade Queen is a must-read for anyone interested in the historical aspect of gender studies.