Leaving Coy's Hill by Katherine A. Sherbrooke

 This is a fascinating story of Lucy Stone, pioneering feminist and abolitionist.

Lucy Stone grew up on a farm. As much as she loved it, she saw how limited women’s rights were even though they worked as hard as men. Something she witnesses makes her go to a retired judge and ask for explanation of the laws of marriage. Afterwards, it makes her vow not to marry. Already, at a young age, she is determined “to create a life free from dependence on any man.” This means furthering her education in order to be independent and defying her father, who believes in a very limited education for girls.

During her college years, she continues to defy important men as she strongly stands by what she believes in. Her actions are reflection of her words. A month before her graduation, as one of the top students, she receives an honor to prepare an essay for commencement, but that honor does not extend to reading her own essay. She needs to select the male classmate, which she refuses to do. Her refusal leads her to a man who asks her to lecture for the Anti-Slavery Society.

Her speeches are passionate and once they start extending to women’s rights, it creates an unexpected setback. Nevertheless, she stays firm in her convictions.

When she is thirty-five, beyond the marriageable age, a younger man proposes to her with an argument why not show that a married woman can have a family and a career at the same time. Is it enough to convince her?

This story brings a vivid portrayal of a woman who refuses to accept injustice only because “it’s the way it’s always been.” She stands up for what is right, giving many powerful speeches and changing the course of history.

It was interesting to read what the fight for women’s rights involved. It wasn’t limited to voting, it also involved the fight for divorce if a woman was unhappy or abused. The fight extended for equal rights when it came to property and children when divorcing, instead the children belonging only to father and all property.

As well as how much of a mass effort it took leading to emancipation. All the speeches, hurdles, a mass effort that included both men and women, on both subjects come through vividly.

It also brings beautifully drawn character, showing what influenced Lucy as a young girl and who further inspired her with the speeches. Her whole family being anti-slavery showed her to stand up for what was right, and not to stand by and watch injustice.

Vividly presented story of a heroine fighting an uphill battle and never giving up, even if at times future is scary due to lack of money. She continues to stand by what she believes in. With beautiful narrative, we get to know Lucy Stone very well and her captivating story.

Release date: 4 May 2021

Publisher: Pegasus Books