Prospects of a Woman By Wendy Voorsanger

5 Stars!


Elisabeth Parker comes to California from Massachusetts in 1849 with her new husband, Nate, to reunite with her father, who’s struck gold on the American River. She soon realizes her husband is not the man she thoughtand neither is her father, who abandons them shortly after they arrive. As Nate struggles with his sexuality, Elisabeth is forced to confront her preconceived notions of family, love, and opportunity.

She finds comfort in corresponding with her childhood friend back home, writer Louisa May Alcott, and spending time in the company of a mysterious Californio Don. Armed with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance, she sets out to determine her role in building the West, even as she comes to terms with the sacrifices she must make to achieve independence and happiness. 

Prospects of a Woman is a fresh, authentic retelling of the West that explores women’s contributions in California and shatters the stereotypes of the typical hard-boiled novel of the West that has captured the American imagination for over a century.

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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. Her debut historical novel, Prospects of a Woman will be published in October 2020 (She Writes Press); an excerpt entitled "Shifting in California" won 1st place in the California Writers Club short story contest and is published in the Fault Zone: Shift: An Anthology of Stories.  

She earned a B.A. in Journalism from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a member of the Castro Writers' Cooperative, the Lit Camp Advisory Board, and the San Mateo Public Library Literary Society.

In addition to being an author, Wendy has worked as a lifeguard, ski instructor, and radio disc jockey. Wendy lives in Northern California with her husband and two sons.

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Facebook: Author Wendy Voorsanger

Instagram: @authorwendyvoorsanger


This wasn’t so much a book about the gold rush as it was about the people and the land and one very strong woman who wanted nothing more than to be independent.

A woman leaving everything to move out west with her new husband in search of gold and to reunite with her father. But this was not any ordinary woman this was a very brave, independent, smart woman. She started out with nothing but a tent and a shack a useless husband and ended up with the world! She thought she wanted riches and success, what she ended up with was independence, freedom, and peace... self-reliance.

What a wonderful and beautifully written book. Don't get me wrong, this was not all flowery and warm fuzzies. This was raw, emotional, graphic at times and sad.  We are talking about the mid 1800's, it was rough, especially for a woman. I think the author painted a perfect picture of what life was really like back then. 

Excellent character development! Wow, I really loved Elisabeth so much. She was a hard woman, she had to be. You had to be hard in order to survive. or be totally dependent on your husband for everything. And Elisabeth certainly couldn't do that. She had to learn how to take care of her self, pan for gold, hunt for food, and later even start her own business. She was not only independent, she was good at it! 

A quote that I loved -
"She no longer minded her hurt foot, enjoying the blankness, feeling like a book whose words magically disappeared, leaving room for something new."

Throughout the whole book Elisabeth wrote letters to her friend Louisa, back home... Louisa May Alcott - nice touch! She also mentions Ghirardelli chocolates from San Francisco. I had  no idea they had been around that long!

I find it hard to believe that this is Wendy Voorsanger's first novel! This is one to watch! I am a fan already. I can't wait to see what she writes next.

If you love historical fiction like I do, especially one about women and the real life as it was back then you will love this one!

I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from PR by the Book -  Thank You!!


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