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Prospects of a Woman: A Novel

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  44 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Elisabeth Parker comes to California from Massachusetts in 1849 with her new husband, Nate, to reunite with her father, whos struck gold on the American River. But 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 ...more
Paperback, 353 pages
Published October 20th 2020 by She Writes Press
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Average rating 4.02  · 
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Nov 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
With this book, the author can be likened to Gwen Bristow and Calico Palace.
do not seek for things outside yourself
The main character Elizabeth is a strong, determined and ambitious woman who takes full advantage of the more liberal laws in California, affording women the same rights as men. She is inspired by Emersons work: Self Reliance.They could earn money for themselves and it did not pass to the husband. They could divorce and keep their children. They could run their own business
Set in the 1850's during the California Gold Rush, Prospects of a Woman is the story of Elizabeth and her struggle to survive in a man's world. After realizing that her marriage to Nate is going nowhere, Elizabeth strives to make it on her own. I loved this book! I was quickly pulled into the story by the descriptive writing. Wendy Voorsanger is a DEBUT author to watch! I can't wait to read her next book!
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's 1850 and Elizabeth and her new husband Nate have travelled from Massachusetts to California to find her father who struck gold on the American River. What she finds is that her father has totally changed and has no desire to see her. He leaves his claim to Elizabeth and Nate and disappears into the wilderness. What she finds is a river with little to no gold and soon she and Nate are working long hours to find gold but starving due to lack of money. Nate starts disappearing into the nearest ...more
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
The Gold Rush was one of my favorite parts of learning California history in the 4th grade. I've spent time in gold rush country and I love the Northern California area. So a book about a woman, set in that time period? Sign me up!

Elisabeth marries Nate, a man she barely knows to escape a life of poverty and despair in Massachusetts. Arriving in California, she discovers that life isn't any easier there. Her marriage isn't a happy one, because her husband, Nate, is a closeted gay man and she
Janilyn Kocher
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Is it possible to like a book but not like the main character? That's my reaction to this book. I admired Elizabeth's grit, tenacity, and ambition, I just didn't like her. Prospects of a Woman depicts the life of a New England woman who made a bad marriage and emigrated to California. She faces hard truths about her father and husband. Elizabeth reinvented herself several times. I just did not care for her character. My favorite was Nandy who's story should be a separate book, in my opinion. ...more
Oct 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is one of those stories that really makes you realize just how far we've come...and yet, just how far we still need to go. Elisabeth was thoroughly unprepared for what life on the new frontier would bring, and the abandonment (yet again) by her "father" was that last straw on the proverbial camel's back. Add to that the hardships she'll face on a personal front, the harsh, unfamiliar landscape she now finds herself in, and the uncertainty of a future she believed somewhat set...and you've ...more
Rosie Amber
Oct 23, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

Prospects Of A Women is an historical novel set in the Gold Rush era, which begins in 1850. Elisabeth Parker has come to California in search of her father who came out West to prospect. However, he wants nothing more to do with his old life and he leaves Elisabeth his claim.

Elisabeth is a resourceful woman and begins working the claim with her new husband, while providing mending for other gold prospectors. Elisabeth teachers herself new skills and is not afraid of hard work; later,
Sophfronia Scott
Aug 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Prospects of a Woman may be set in 1850s California but its stalwart lead, Elisabeth Parker, is a heroine for our times. She forges her way through an inhospitable world of men determined to live independently and find a love that will be her very own. Wendy Voorsanger has created a character so charged with imagination and spirit she will lay claim to the hearts of all her readers.
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I requested this book to NetGalley, thinking it was a romance. In fact, I consider it a non-romance.

Elisabeth Parker is a young woman who escapes poverty and parental abandonment, getting married and traveling to California, in the middle of the gold rush.

What she finds is more unloving and more poverty, but also an entrepreneurial spirit that had the perfect California environment in 1849, which gave women rights that were forbidden to them in the rest of the world, such as the right to
Jordan Heustis
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
I read this as an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book! Its the kind of story where I finish feeling like I grew up so much with our main character, Elisabeth. I loved the history and the feminism, and I found Nates character really interesting. I would love a book from his point of view!
Leslie Barrett
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Loved this - it keep me interested and curious about how this determined woman would fare in the beautiful but harsh early California landscape. Definitely a page-turner!
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Prospects of a Woman by Wendy Voorsanger is an intriguing story of Elisabeth's first three years in the wilds of California circa 1850. She has arrived there with her new husband, Nate to find her father, who has run away from his family somewhat earlier. What she expects to find, she has no idea, but locating him begins her disillusion with life. Through thick and thin she persists, wearing the one dress she own, mining gold next to her husband until things start happening in her life. She ...more
Lori Palmer (Palmer's Page Turners)
I love historical fiction, and have been intentionally reading historical fiction from different time periods that I haven't read about. I've read a ton of WW2 historical fiction, but little from the California gold rush time period. I was also excited to read this book because of the Louisa May Alcott connection, which was an interesting and fun component to this book. I loved the author's writing style--it was so easy to read "just one more chapter." Elisabeth was an engaging character who I ...more
Megan | A Page to Turn
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The story of one womans passionate quest to carve out a place in the liberal and bewildering society that emerged during the California Gold Rush frenzy...

Elisabeth Parker is a bad ass woman trying to find her way in a mans world! This book was such an interesting read, and I was sucked in from the prologue! (Which if youve been around for a minute, you know my thoughts on prologues, this one was GOOD, and literally started the book off with a bang)...

Prospects of a Woman was a
Oct 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC from the publisher via NeNetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I didnt learn much beyond the basics about the California Gold Rush, so I was intrigued by Prospecte of a Woman and how it tied into the womens experience during that event and dealing with the limitations placed on her in society in general.

Voorsanger really seems to know her stuff, as her prose engrossed me in the time period. I like how she was able to illustrate the contrast between
Sara Strand
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked this one a lot- and I'm not even a big historical fiction fan but I had such a good time reading this one. It also feels so timely with discussion of women's rights but also how far LGBTQ+ rights have come (and how far we have yet to go).While it takes places in a historical setting during the Gold Rush, I felt like this was more of a women's literary fiction. Romance didn't fit either. It felt more like a coming of age story for Elisabeth, the discovery of who she is and what she ...more
Marianne Denning
Oct 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I got so much more. We travel to California during the gold rush days with Elizabeth a young married woman from Massachusetts. I never write a spoiler review, but I will tell you that by the time I read "the end" I was in awe of the strength of this young woman. She suffers mightily trying to make a life in the gold fields of California. The supporting cast of characters are vital, interesting people. You will get some history along with this story of ...more
Loved learning about Northern California gold rush history with this woman's perspective. The protagonist had such determination and grit to withstand the trials, tribulations and loneliness of living out in the west in an up and coming small town.

In addition, there's a good dose of nature, romance and books that kept me hooked to the end.
Oct 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while you encounter a book that just grabs you right from the beginning. That was this book. It was a shocker (in a good way). Instantly, I was transported back in time.

Major big props to Elisabeth. She started the story out as a meek and by the end had changed/grown into a strong, independent woman. It was women like her that helped pave the way for working women today. Elisabeth was the main character in this book. Everyone else could not compare. Although, I will say that when
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Transport yourself to Gold Rush California and learn about how California women had more freedom than women in other states. Beautiful writing and interesting, complex characters.
Lisa Osborne
Oct 21, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sandra Pipitone
Jul 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Wow and we women think we have it HARD today? This is why we can never go back, must continue to grow and learn. Be self care and lift up other women!
Oct 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Prospects of a Woman
By Wendy Voorsanger

Taking the place during the California Gold rush ~1850, this book tells the story of Elizabeth and her first years in California. Elizabeth and her husband Nate (whom she married hastily to try and have a better life) come to California from Massachusetts, looking for her father who was prospecting gold. Unfortunately, when she find him, he wants nothing to do with her, and goes off with a woman leaving her and Nate his gold claim. Things arent as easy as
Oct 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-2020
Historical fiction bringing out a womans perspective of the migration to the California gold rush? While there are certainly as many stories as there were prospectors, this one was definitely fascinating.

Elisabeth Parker honestly isnt a very likable character. Sometimes that can make the whole book unenjoyable, but in this case, every time she made a choice, there was seldom an obvious better one. Surviving the western frontier in the mid-1800s was not a likable existence in many ways.

The story
Nov 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
1849 America - Elisabeth is a very new bride but she does sense that something is not quite right in her marriage though she cannot put her finger on what is wrong. Coming to the land of gold mining she seeks her father who has a claim on a piece of land which has prospects.

Discovering that her father has no intention of a reconciliation but just absconds from them, Nate and she try very hard to scrape out a life from the land. Prospecting as well as any man, if not better Elisabeth faces every
Oct 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc
Prospects of a Woman tells the story of Elisabeth and Nate Parker, two newlyweds relocating from Massachusetts to Gold Rush era California in search of her father and a new, hopefully prosperous, life. Once in California, the Parkers realize that life and marriage are going to be harder than they had anticipated.

This book was among one of the hardest for me to get into and to try to enjoyand in the end, neither really happened for me. The main characters, Elisabeth, Nate, and her father, are
Reeca Elliott
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley, kindle-app
Elizabeth has married Nate and they have struck out for California. They want to find Elizabeths father and create a new life. However, it does not magically happen the way Elizabeth expects. Nate does not turn out to be the man she thought he was and Elizabeth must rely on her own intellect to survive.

You talk about a book I wanted to throw across the roomTHIS IS IT! I was so frustrated with Elizabeth on so many levels. And the repetition by the author! It was repeated multiple times about
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Prospects of a Woman by Wendy Voorsanger is a well researched historical novel set in California in the Gold Rush era which started in 1850.

Elizabeth, the main character, along with her new husband Nate, comes to California in search of her father who came West to prospect, but he wants nothing to do with his old life and leaves Elizabeth his claim.

Along the way Elizabeth finds her strength and resourcefulness, doing things outside her character in order to survive.

It was an interesting idea to
Nov 29, 2020 rated it liked it
As a fifth generation Californian, I love books about the Gold Rush. Focus on an independent woman? I am all in! Well, the historical context and sense of place as very well developed, as well as Elizabeth's relationship with other characters. Elizabeth's feistiness really came through. As another reviewer put it, this book is a "coming of age book. " Though Elizabeth is already married, she discovers her sexuality (and discovers, and discovers...) as well as her ability to be creative, develop ...more
Tammy Buchli
Oct 16, 2020 rated it liked it
As a native Californian, one of my favorite historical periods is the gold rush so I should have loved this book, which was truly both interesting and evocative. Unfortunately it had a fatal flaw -- I found Elisabeth Parker to be deeply, deeply unlikeable. An unlikable protagonist doesn't always ruin a book for me, but it sure did ruin this one. Elisabeth was so repellent that I found myself avoiding picking the book up and actually had a hard time getting through it.

Thanks to NetGalley for
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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 ...more

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