Review: The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman

I don’t know if I’ve just been missing out on great books or if I’ve just been really lucky at picking what historical fiction to read, but once again, the novel I’m reviewing was absolutely fantastic.

This time, it was The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman. It’s glorious. (That’s just one of its many different covers on the right. I’ve seen at least two others online.)

The Fair Fight, originally published in 2014, is based in 18th century Bristol and told from three distinctive voices: Ruth, Charlotte, and George. (I listened to the audiobook so I got to enjoy three different narrators tell this story, and it really added to the experience.)

Ruth, my favorite of the three, is born into a brothel but is a fighter, not a lover. She finds love and fame because of her boxing career. Although I’m still wading into the deep, vast pool of historical fiction, I hadn’t read a book with a low-class perspective and I enjoyed it immensely.

Charlotte is a high-born young lady who needs to get away from her horrible brother and George is a gorgeous, dim dandy who can’t seem to find success.

The Fair Fight includes so many different worlds and Freeman does an incredible job putting the reader into each one. Some of the lines in this book are so poetic, which makes sense, I suppose, since Freeman is also a poet. I was so sad when the book ended because I didn’t want to leave the rich worlds Freeman’s prose built on every page. The story and conclusion were captivating and thrilling, especially if you don’t mind a bit of the ol’ one-two punch.

Although this book was damn near perfect, I would have included more Ruth and Charlotte and less George. I found that I didn’t really care what happened to him that much while Ruth and Charlotte were such strong, interesting characters. I look forward to Freeman’s future books!


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jillianne hamilton headshotJillianne Hamilton is an author, history enthusiast, book lover and graphic designer. Her debut novel, Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire, was shortlisted for the 2016 Prince Edward Island Book Award. Her debut non-fiction book, The Lazy Historian's Guide to the Wives of Henry VIII is now available. She lives in Charlottetown on Canada's beautiful east coast.
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