Declaration: I am a Goodreads friend of the author, who allowed me access to an advance copy. Having said that, she knows that I will show her no favours in my review, and what follows is my honest and true opinion of her debut novel.
The story is based on characters who truly existed and on events which really happened. There are contemporary snippets from the New York Times throughout the book. However, the author has changed the names of the characters and used her creative license to turn the story into a work of fiction. This makes it much more interesting than a non-fictional presentation would have been and puts the book firmly into the historical fiction genre.
The reader is captured by the action from the very beginning, and I was held captive by the pace of the story to the very end. The dialogue and the development of the characters is superb and there was no huge challenge to my imagination. What I mean by that is that the images were conjured up very vividly by Tara's style of the writing.
The characters Angeline Hanson and her younger sister, Adelaide, are based on the teenage New York society ladies and suffragettes, Adeline and Augusta van Buran. These two young ladies actually did ride their Indian Model F Power Plus bikes from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1916, to both publicise the equality of women, promoting the cause of the suffrage movement, and to demonstrate that women should be considered for the role of dispatch rider in the First World War, with the consquence of freeing up more men for front line duties.
The adventures of Angeline and Adelaide are tremendous fun for the most part, although there are a few hairy moments. Twice they are held captive, but I don't want to spoil the read for you by telling you any more than that.
One aspect that really appealed to me were the diary entries of Angeline which were interspersed throughout the book. This was not overdone, which can be a danger, but they definitely added a seemingly personal touch from the heroine herself, and they confirmed the story as was being narrated by the author. A very nice touch!
Another brief, yet delightful inclusion, was when the sisters met up with the dancers, Fred and Adele Astaire. As the author points out in her notes at the end of the book, she made that bit up and it may never have happened, but I loved that piece, anyway.
As one would expect in a first edition of a debut novel, there are a few rough edges from time to time, but nothing too distracting. This is the only reason that I did not award 5 stars to Ride for Rights
. Perhaps I am being a bit harsh, as I must admit that I came very close to rating this book as a five.
One addition to the book that I'd like to suggest, which would have been of great benefit to the readers, would be a map of the route that the sisters took. Many of us foreign readers, and even some Americans, are not familiar enough with the geography of the USA to conjure up a picture of their progress on the journey purely from the textual narrative.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would definitely recommend it to all of my friends and family, and I shall look out for Tara Chevrestt's next novel.