The language used by Ruth, the female fighter in, The Fair Fight, made this a bawdy tale from the first page! The best thing about this novel were the honest and tortured characters. They were easy to love and made the odd world of female boxing in the 18th Century an interesting background for their stories. Ruth grew up in a brothel run by her mother and was sold to a man to be his prize fighter. George was a closet homosexual whose attempt to weasel his way into marrying a wealthy girl backfired. Although Charlotte was born into privilege, yet her fate was no better than Ruth’s when she was virtually sold into marriage to benefit her family.
Each narrator spoke with such passion that their spirit easily propelled the action along. Reading the enchanting prose was like reading a poem, the words danced off the page and made even the gritty, bloody fights a beautiful thing. As the story progressed, I could see how the lives of Ruth, George, and Charlotte would intersect and couldn’t wait for them to meet each other. I secretly hoped that they would act in concert to exact revenge on the men who had ruled their lives, and admit I was disappointed the plot didn’t play out how I envisioned it would. This wasn’t so much a story about fighting as it was a human interest story that focused on several different people struggling to have a fulfilling life when their social station dictated their success. I wanted the characters to reclaim their lives in some grand gesture, but none of them possessed that traits to do so. Still, the Ruth and Charlotte earned the happiness they received, and George got his “just desserts”.
What a delightful and fulfilling novel. Freeman’s writing and storytelling should earn her a place among literature’s finest authors.