Michelle Athy's Reviews > Mercer Girls

Mercer Girls by Libbie Hawker
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bookshelves: 2017-books

In the middle of the Civil War, Asa Mercer left the fledgling settlement of Seattle, WA, to go back East to find a group of women willing to travel to Seattle in order to find husbands. In history, there have been plenty of similar instances of groups of women going off into the unknown to marry strangers--picture brides, mail-order brides, filles du roi. Come to think of it, it must have happened more than we know, especially when the West was being settled.

The Mercer girls, as they came to be known, left Lowell, Mass., and went on a long and arduous sea journey to Panama, then up the west coast. The male-to-female ratio in Seattle was skewed and Mercer felt that he needed to import "good, virtuous" women as wives for the men of Seattle.

Hawker's three main characters--Josephine, Sophronia, and Dovey--are fictional Mercer girls, but upon arrival in Seattle, they,too, face the scrutiny of some of the women of the town--who think the Mercer girls must be of dubious moral character--and deal with the influx of suitors.

It took me until 30% of the book to really get into it. As soon as they arrived in Seattle, the story picked up and their personalities and ambitions and actions made more sense. The tone evened out; it's a good solid fairly lighthearted read with interesting history and a strong early feminist bent. Susan B. Anthony features in the latter parts of the book.

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Reading Progress

October 20, 2016 – Shelved
October 20, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
February 5, 2017 – Started Reading
February 9, 2017 –
February 12, 2017 –
February 13, 2017 –
February 15, 2017 – Shelved as: 2017-books
February 15, 2017 – Finished Reading

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