Victoria Claflin, later Victoria Woodhull who with no formal education, except for a few years, grew up in poverty and where Victoria and her siblings had to earn money for the family. Born of a father who was a con artist and a mother who was off in la-la land most of the time, Victoria and one of her siblings had to put up with their father's tyrannical behavior. Her father also sexually and physically abuses Victoria and her sister Tennessee and forces Victoria to perform as a clairvoyant. At the age of 15 Victoria marries a man who is a doctor, but it is soon revealed that he is a hopeless alcoholic, unfaithful to his marriage vows and unreliable as a husband to Victoria. She gave birth to a son who was mentally challenged, probably due to her husband's alcoholism. She also had a daughter.
Victoria became a woman's advocate and a proponent of free love which made her an outcast in Victorian times. One tough lady, though, she persevered and became a newspaper publisher, dabbled as a philanthropist, a lady stockbroker with her sister Tennessee, public speaking, all before women had the right to vote. She lobbied so that woman could vote. She had very influential friends such as Commodore Vanderbilt and also made many enemies including other women. She was often at loggerheads with Susan B. Anthony. She presented her views in front of a congressional committee stating that women already had the right to vote from within the 14th and 15th amendments
During this time she met and fell in love with James Blood, a Civil War Commander of the 6th Missouri Volunteer Infantry in the Union Army and Victoria's second husband. This marriage was a match made in heaven for them both but things don't always go as planned.
Most significant was her run for the first woman president. As we know, she didn't win but she paved the way for a lot of women's rights that we enjoy today. On the eve of President Grants election, Woodhull published an article in her newspaper aimed at exposing popular preacher Henry Ward Beecher as an adulterous hypocrite. In retaliation, she was sent to jail where she was charged along with Tennessee for sending obscene literature through the mail. Her and sister were eventually exonerated. Because of the backlash from the charges she was called Mrs. Satan and forced from her home. At the end of the story, she leaves the US and moves to England.
The Renegade Queen is a fascinating look at the life of one of the most influential woman along with Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and other brave women who put up with being ostracized in a man's world. Without these women, we would not be enjoying the equal rights we have now. Every woman should read this story. Not only is this a fictionalized story of a great influential woman but it is also a love story between Victoria and James. A love story that is a bit heart wrenching. I look forward to reading the next installment of this debut historical novel by Eva Flynn.