“The Great Chattanooga Bicycle Race” by Mike H. Mizrahi was a surprise to me. I was apprehensive about reading this for review because it didn’t look like a novel I would enjoy. However, I thought the book gave great insight into the suppression of women in the late 1800’s. Nineteen-year-old Anna Gaines, who after a fall from her horse when she was little, is struggling to find her mark in the world. Her aunt is a suffragette and bicycle rider in Brooklyn and during Anna’s visit there was introduced to the sport and to the struggle for women’s suffrage. Back home in Chattanooga, her desire to ride a bicycle is thwarted at every turn. First by her mother, who wants Anna to be a true southern woman, and then by the public, who think that it is unladylike and scandalous for a woman to pursue the sport, Anna’s dilemma seems insurmountable.
Welcome a new man in town…Peter Sawyer, president of the Cycling Club, a club exclusive to men, who has no qualms about a young woman enjoying the sport that he so enjoys. Forced to participate in a race, Anna and Peter find common ground, and who even though are competitors, see progress in releasing restrictions for women, especially in the harmless sport of bicycling. They may even become more than friends.
I thought the book gave the reader a good insight to the restrictive, narrow-mindedness of the population at this time. Women fought hard to be able to enjoy the same pursuits of men and to finally get the right to vote. It was the beginning of a time when women were no longer forced to marry, have children, and keep a home in order to be accepted in society. I loved the book!
Litfuse.com provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my enjoyment and review.