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393 pages, Hardcover
First published February 15, 2005
Any act that could be even vaguely construed as improper... had the potential to ruin Maggie and Katy's reputation as well-brought-up young ladies and cast them - and by association, spiritualism - into a decidedly dubious light. Proper women were supposed to be sweet, soft-spoken, passive, and passionless beings, as expressed in the recently published ladies' book of 1850... "True feminine genius," [it] instructed readers, "is ever timid, doubtful, and clingingly dependent: a perpetual childhood." And Maggie was expected to comply with that model, rather than embrace the bold clamor for equal sexual rights led by upstate suffragists such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony, and Amy Post.
She rethought her daily activities: Every chore, every deed ranging from her choice of clothes to the books she read was measured by the yardstick of her former lover's opinion. "Would dear Elisha like me to do this?" became the guiding question of her life.