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October 24, 2020

Prospects of a Woman by Wendy Voorsanger ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"In early America, a woman was legally dependent on her father, then on her husband.  Upon marriage, a woman lost any right to control property that was hers prior and she had no rights to acquire any property during marriage.  She could not make contracts, keep or control her own wages or rents, transfer property, sell property or bring any lawsuit.  She had   little right to divorce and had no rights to her children if she left her husband."  (p1)

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Prospects of a Women
October 2020; She Writes Press; 978-1631527814
ebook, print (352 pages); historical romance
It's 1850 and Elizabeth and her new husband Nate have traveled from Massachusetts to California to find her father who struck gold on the American River.  What she finds is that her father has totally changed and has no desire to see her.  He leaves his claim to Elizabeth and Nate and disappears into the wilderness.  What she finds is a river with little to no gold and soon she and Nate are working long hours to find gold but starving due to lack of money.   Nate starts disappearing into the nearest town and when she goes to find him she realizes that she can make her own money by sewing and mending for the prospectors.  She also finds out that women in California have rights to be independent, to divorce, and to own property unlike women in the rest of the country.    As she begins to feel like Nate doesn't want to spend time with her and realizes that he is struggling with his sexuality, she realizes that it's time to move into town and leave her husband and marriage behind.  It's a struggle for her as she realizes that there are sacrifices to make on the road to independence but she's a strong woman and able to survive the pitfalls   This novel is a  look at a woman trying to survive on her own during the California gold rush.

My thoughts: When you read a book about this time period, it's apparent how far women have come since then and the bravery and perseverance of the women who helped to start the changes.  I didn't always like Elizabeth as a person but realized that she had to be unlikeable at times to be successful in a man's world.  This is one of the best books that I've read about the gold rush period because it's told through the eyes of a woman.

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About the Wendy Voorsanger

Born and raised on the American River in Sacramento, Wendy Voorsanger has long held an intense interest in the historical women of California. She started her career in the Silicon Valley, writing about technology trends and innovations for newspapers, magazines, and Fortune 100 companies. She currently manages, a blog dedicated to chronicling the accomplishments of California women through history. She earned a BA in journalism from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and has attended Hedgebrook, the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop, and Lit Camp. She is a member of the Castro Writers' Cooperative, the Lit Camp Advisory Board, and the San Mateo Public Library Literary Society. She has also worked as a lifeguard, ski instructor, and radio disc jockey. Wendy lives in Northern California with her husband and two boys. Learn more at

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. Since her travel plans had to be canceled for this year, she is starting to make plans for travel in 2021. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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