Douglass' Women: A Novel

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Simon and Schuster, Jun 22, 2010 - 368 pages
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The critically acclaimed author of Voodoo Dreams delivers an inspired work of historical fiction about the warring passions that drove the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass and two women -- one black, one white -- who loved him.

Douglass' Women reimagines the lives of an American hero, Frederick Douglass, and two women -- his wife and his mistress -- who loved him and lived in his shadow. Anna Douglass, a free woman of color, was Douglass' wife of forty-four years, who bore him five children. Ottilie Assing, a German-Jewish intellectual, provided him the companionship of the mind that he needed. Hurt by Douglass' infidelity, Anna rejected his notion that only literacy freed the mind. For her, familial love rivaled intellectual pursuits. Ottilie was raised by parents who embraced the ideal of free love, but found herself entrapped in an unfulfilling love triangle with America's most famous self-taught slave for nearly three decades.

In her finest novel to date, Jewell Parker Rhodes vividly resurrects these two extraordinary women from history, portraying the life they led together under the same roof of the Douglass home. Here, fiery emotions of passion, jealousy, and resentment churn as the women discover an uneasy solidarity in shared love for an exceptional and powerful man. Douglass' Women fills the gaps and silences that history has left in an unforgettable epic full of heartache and triumph.
 

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DOUGLASS' WOMEN

User Review  - Kirkus

A vivid evocation of the two women, one black, one white, who loved—and lost—abolitionist Frederick Douglass, in a tale that for all its good feminist intentions is more descriptive than insightful ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - countrymouse - LibraryThing

This was an amazing book and a fascinating fictional account of the women behind Frederick Douglass. The character development was excellent and it was easy to imagine it was all true. It was also ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Jewell Parker Rhodes, an award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction, including Voodoo Dreams, Season (formerly titled Voodoo Season) Yellow Moon (formerly titled Yellow Moon), Magic City, Douglass' Women, Free Within Ourselves: Fiction Lessons for Black Authors, and The African American Guide to Writing and Publishing Nonfiction, is the Virginia G. Piper Chair in Creative Writing and artistic director of the Virginia G. Piper Center in Creative Writing at Arizona State University. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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