Guinevere’s Tale Book 1

“A new twist on an old tale that gives agency, sympathy, and personality to a woman typically cast as a one-dimensional adulteress. Classic characters find their way into Guinevere’s orbit in unexpected ways, keeping the novel both familiar and fresh.” – Library Journal
  • Chanticleer Reviews 2015 Book of the Year
  • Winner of the North Street Book Prize
  • Best New Voice, (Silver Award), IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards

  

Before queenship and Camelot, Guinevere was a priestess of Avalon. She loved another before Arthur, a warrior who would one day betray her.

In the war-torn world of late fifth century Britain, young Guinevere faces a choice: stay with her family to defend her home at Northgallis from the Irish, or go to Avalon to seek help for the horrific visions that haunt her. The Sight calls her to Avalon, where she meets Morgan, a woman of questionable parentage who is destined to become her rival. As Guinevere matures to womanhood, she gains the powers of a priestess, and falls in love with a man who will be both her deepest love and her greatest mistake.

Just when Guinevere is able to envision a future in Avalon, tragedy forces her back home, into a world she barely recognizes, one in which her pagan faith, outspokenness, and proficiency in the magical and military arts are liabilities. When a chance reunion with her lover leads to disaster, she is cast out of Northgallis and into an uncertain future. As a new High King comes to power, Guinevere must navigate a world of political intrigue where unmarried women are valuable commodities and seemingly innocent actions can have life-altering consequences.

You may think you know the story of Guinevere, but you’ve never heard it like this: in her own words. Listen and you will hear the true story of Camelot and its queen.

Fans of Arthurian legend and the Mists of Avalon will love Daughter of Destiny, the first book in a historical fantasy trilogy that gives Guinevere back her voice and traces her life from an uncertain eleven year old girl to a wise queen in her fifth decade of life.

Preview the book.

Purchase print and ebook:                       Audio book:

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In stores:

Bellingham, WA – Village Books and Paper Dreams

Los Angeles, CA – The Ripped Bodice

St. Louis, MO – The Novel Neighbor

St. Charles, MO – Main Street Books

Other Awards

  • Gold Medal – Midwest Book Awards
  • Gold Medal – Next Generation Indie Book Awards (fantasy)
  • Gold Medal – Readers Favorite Awards (fantasy)
  • First Place, Legacy/legend category – 2015 Chatelaine Awards for Women’s Fiction/Romantic Fiction
  • First Place, Fairytale/Folklore category, Colorado Independent Publisher’s Association (CIPA) EVVY Awards

NGIBA Gold MedalShort list – 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction

Selected for Library Journal‘s curated SELF-e Select module

A 5-Star Review from Readers’ Favorites.

Praise

“Evelina’s re-imaginings of this familiar material is unfailingly energetic and innovative, and her version of Guinevere herself is captivating virtually from the first page – no small feat in an overall plot with such well-defined parameters. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to its sequel.” – Historical Novel Society
“Wonderfully gripping. A stunning first novel.” –  The Wishing Shelf Book Awards
“A lyrical, imagistic retelling of the Arthurian legend…The writer’s skill in creating a lushly imagistic fantasy world was a major reason for her first place award. Nicole Evelina has succeeded in creating a novel that is a pleasure for adults as well as teenagers to read. Although I am not normally a reader of fantasy fiction, I loved being immersed in the misty, magical land of Avalon.” – Ellen LaFleche for the North Street Book Prize committee

“If you are an enthusiast of Arthurian and Avalonia, then you will fall in love Guinevere’s story. You may already know it, but Nicole’s words put Camelot and its queen into a new and refreshing light. –SeriousReading (4.5 Star Review)

Daughter of Destiny is an entertaining and well-structured novel…The fate of Nicole Evelina’s Guinevere is worth tracing through the rest of the series.”  – IndieReader

“A gripping read that brings a wonderfully depicted Guinevere tumbling out of the shadows of myth.” – Anna Belfrage, author of The Graham Saga

“Written in lyrical prose and deposits you right in the middle of medieval times. The writing is fast paced, historically correct for the era, and a page turner. I sympathized with the character whom fictional history buffs branded a lustful harlot because of circumstances…Great twist at the end. Evelina’s 15 years of research are a powerful addition to a fantastic read. Can’t wait for Book Two. Prepare to embrace Guinevere. I feel privileged to have read this outstanding novel by a great writer.” – Sandra Masters for Readers’ Favorite

“Colorful and exciting…love all the characters. You will have a ball with this book.” – Serena Scott Thomas, actress and audio book narrator

“Nicole Evelina shows a deep and passionate love for the Arthurian world, and her re-weaving of the story of Guinevere and Arthur makes for enjoyable reading. With more volumes to come, if you like stories of Camelot, ancient priesthoods, magical Avalonian dreams and embattled romance, this is for you.” – John Matthews, author of ‘Arthur of Albion’ and ‘The Camelot Oracle’

This book is also listed on:

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Formats: ebook, paperback, audio
Publisher: Lawson Gartner publishing
ISBN: 

  • 978-0-9967631-0-3 (print)
  • 978-0-9967631-1-0 (ebook)
  • 978-0-9967631-2-7 (audio)
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Guinevere’s Tale Book 2

“What a refreshing twist to a historical fiction nearly as old as time! Author Nicole Evelina not only spins a refreshing new thread told from Guinevere’s POV, she weaves an entire tapestry rich in color, depth, and scope…With larger than life characters, a gamut of emotions, mystical forces and hate-worthy villains this is historical fantasy at its finest! – InD’tale Magazine

Winner:

  • Fiction Book of the Year – Author’s Circle
  • Best Second Book – Next Generation Indie Book Awards

History remembers Guinevere’s sin, but it was Arthur who transgressed first.

Forced into a marriage she neither anticipated nor desired, Guinevere
finds herself High Queen, ruling and fighting alongside Arthur as they
try to subdue the Saxons, Irish and Picts who threaten Britain from every direction. Though her heart still longs for her lost love, Guinevere slowly grows to care for her husband as they join together to defeat their enemies.

Meanwhile, within the walls of Camelot their closest allies plot against them. One schemes to make Guinevere his own, another seeks revenge for past transgressions, while a third fixes her eyes on the throne. When the unthinkable happens and Guinevere is feared dead, Arthur installs a new woman in her place, one who will poison his affections toward her, threatening Guinevere’s fragile sanity and eventually driving her into the arms of her champion.

Amid this tension a new challenge arises for the king and queen of Camelot: finding the Holy Grail, a sacred relic that promises lasting unity. But peace, as they will soon learn, can be just as dangerous as war. As the court begins to turn on itself, it becomes clear that the quest that was to be Arthur’s lasting legacy may end in the burning fires of condemnation. 

This highly anticipated sequel to Daughter of Destiny proves there is much more to Guinevere’s story than her marriage and an affair. See the legend you think you know through her eyes and live the adventure of Camelot’s golden days yourself – but prepared to suffer its downfall as well.

Preview the book.

Purchase print and ebook:                        Audio book:

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In stores:

Bellingham, WA – Village Books and Paper Dreams

Los Angeles, CA – The Ripped Bodice

St. Louis, MO – The Novel Neighbor

St. Charles, MO – Main Street Books

Other Awards

  • Gold Medal, Next Generation Indie Book Awards (fantasy)
  • First Place, Ozma Awards for Fantasy Fiction (mythological fantasy)

Finalist – Midwest Book Awards (fantasy)
Short-list – Forward Indies Book of the Year (fantasy)
Long List – RONE Awards (historical: ancient through 16th century)

Selected – Library Journal‘s curated SELF-e Select module
Named a Discovered Diamond for independent historical fiction

“What a refreshing twist to a historical fiction nearly as old as time…Author Nicole Evelina not only spins a refreshing new thread told from Guinevere’s POV, she weaves an entire tapestry rich in color, depth, and scope…With larger than life characters, a gamut of emotions, mystical forces and hate-worthy villains this is historical fantasy at its finest!” – InD’Tale Magazine (4.5 star, Crowned-heart review)

“An enthralling saga.” – The Wishing Shelf Book Awards

“Evelina writes [the court intrigues] with terrific energy and page after page of vivid dialogue. She very adroitly exploits the known quantities of the core Arthurian story; readers know to expect the division of Guinevere’s affections, and the sensitive emotional variations Evelina works into the story are expertly done. This is a fine, gripping series.” – Historical Novel Society

 “The book is full of high political intrigue and lots of action as the reader easily becomes immersed in the life of the medieval court of King Arthur. A thrilling addition to the chronicles of Arthur’s fated Guinevere.” – Readers’ Favorite 5-Star review
“Captivating. I couldn’t put it down. Guinevere’s story for a new generation.” – Bookalicious

“In Queen of Camelot, Guinevere steps forth as a woman of strength and passion. A woman to admire – and to love!” – Anna Belfrage, author of The Graham Saga

This book is also listed on:

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Formats: ebook, paperback, audio
Publisher: Lawson Gartner publishing
ISBN: 

  • 978-0-9967631-3-4 (print)
  • 978-0-9967631-4-1 (ebook)
  • 978-0-9967631-5-8 (audio)

Biographical historical fiction of Victoria Woodhull

“A fascinating story of meteoric rise from rags to riches, from subservience to achievement – based on a true story. A highly entertaining and informative read.” – Chanticleer Reviews
  • First place, Women’s US History category, 2015 Chaucer Awards for Historical Fiction
  • Awarded the Indie B.R.A.G Medallion
  • Honorable Mention – Reader’s Favorite Book Awards, Fiction – Historical Personage category
  • Selected for Library Journal‘s curated SELF-e Select module

Forty-eight years before women were granted the right to vote, one woman dared to run for President of the United States, yet her name has been virtually written out of the history books.

Rising from the shame of an abusive childhood, Victoria Woodhull, the daughter of a con-man and a religious zealot, vows to follow her destiny, one the spirits say will lead her out of poverty to “become ruler of her people.”

But the road to glory is far from easy. A nightmarish marriage teaches Victoria that women are stronger and deserve far more credit than society gives. Eschewing the conventions of her day, she strikes out on her own to improve herself and the lot of American women.

Over the next several years, she sets into motion plans that shatter the old boys club of Wall Street and defile even the sanctity of the halls of Congress. But it’s not just her ambition that threatens men of wealth and privilege; when she announces her candidacy for President in the 1872 election, they realize she may well usurp the power they’ve so long fought to protect.

Those who support her laud “Notorious Victoria” as a gifted spiritualist medium and healer, a talented financial mind, a fresh voice in the suffrage movement, and the radical idealist needed to move the nation forward. But those who dislike her see a dangerous force who is too willing to speak out when women are expected to be quiet. Ultimately, “Mrs. Satan’s” radical views on women’s rights, equality of the sexes, free love and the role of politics in private affairs collide with her tumultuous personal life to endanger all she has built and change how she is viewed by future generations.

This is the story of one woman who was ahead of her time – a woman who would make waves even in the 21st century – but who dared to speak out and challenge the conventions of post-Civil War America, setting a precedent that is still followed by female politicians today.

Preview the book.

Purchase paperback and ebook:             Audio book:

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In stores:

Bellingham, WA – Village Books and Paper Dreams

Los Angeles, CA – The Ripped Bodice

St. Louis, MO – The Novel Neighbor

St. Charles, MO – Main Street Books

Additional praise:

“Evelina’s intriguing account of Victoria Woodhull—spiritualist, suffragette, stockbroker, and politician—deftly extols the many “firsts” of this 19th-century feminist trailblazer…Evelina moves assuredly through the many layers of Victoria’s colorful life; such potent issues as family torment, marital abuse, and female subjugation all are linked in this dramatic story of struggle.” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Evelina does a remarkable job of using letters and articles from Victoria’s lifetime to create an engaging story. Victoria was not always easy to relate to with regard to some of her choices, but Evelina does a great job fleshing out the reasoning behind Victoria’s motivations, which made her someone easy to sympathize with. This is a well-plotted and revealing look into the life of the first woman to run for president, and a book that stays with you.” – Historical Novel Society

“Riveting… Nicole Evelina presents a realistic and fascinating account of a woman who should be recognized in the history books…Ms. Evelina is certainly a skilled storyteller and writer…This excellent book is required reading for anyone trying to understand the roots of the fight for women’s equal rights.” – Deborah Lloyd for Readers’ Favorite

“Fascinating. Victoria Woodhull was certainly a powerhouse, who for some reason was written out of the history books. If you’re looking for an engaging and fast-paced historical fiction novel about subject not often explored in the genre, be sure to check out Madame Presidentess.” – Books & Tea

“An engaging read…author Nicole Evelina’s fascinating account doesn’t spare the more sordid side of Woodhull’s life and is punctuated with events and figures from the era (e.g., Walt Whitman, Susan B. Anthony, the suffragists, et al.).” – IndieReader

“Nicole Evelina beautifully illustrates in her historical novel Madame Presidentess the major events, philosophical influences, and relationship dynamics at play in the extraordinary life of Victoria Woodhull as a significant forerunner for our generation’s feminist movement. This highly engaging story of Woodhull’s 1872 Presidential run is so timely and relevant!” -Cindy Safronoff, author of Crossing Swords: Mary Baker Eddy vs. Victoria Claflin Woodhull and the Battle for the Soul of Marriage

Formats: ebook, paperback,
Publisher: Lawson Gartner Publishing
ISBN: 

  • 978-0-9967632-0-2 (print)
  • 978-0-9967631-9-6 (ebook)
  • 978-0-9967632-7-1 (audio)

Heart-Warming Romantic Women’s Fiction

“Touched my heart and I couldn’t put it down…I recommend this book to all die-hard romantics and those who are looking for something new to try. A wonderful book to read and share with your friends.” – Kerliza Foon for Readers’ Favorite (5-star review)
  • Named a Novel of Excellence (romance) by Author’s Circle
  • Winner – Midwest Book Awards (romance)

Searching for Mr. Right is harder than she thought…

A hopeless romantic, Annabeth Coe knows that her soul mate is out there – somewhere. After all, she’s been writing him heartfelt love letters since she was teenager. Her plan is simple: write her future husband letters and gift them to him on their wedding night to prove how long she’s loved him.

Now, as an adult, Annabeth worries that he may never come along. But when she meets handsome literature professor Alex Grantham, she believes her quest for true love may finally be over. Unfortunately, her timing couldn’t be worse. Frustrated with the love gods, Annabeth vows to take her fate into her own hands. But when the scars and mistrust from her past relationships threaten to destroy a budding relationship, she must face the harsh truth.  With an ex-boyfriend who won’t let go and a meddlesome best friend, Annabeth just might be searching for love for the rest of her life – unless the man she’s destined for is just one love letter away.

Been Searching for You was the winner of the Romance category in the 2016 Colorado Independent Publishing Association’s EVVY Awards, as well as the 2015 Romance Writers of America Great Expectations and Golden Rose contests. It is currently short-listed for the Chatelaine Awards for Romantic Fiction.

Preview the book.

Purchase print and ebook:                        Audio book:

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In stores:

Bellingham, WA – Village Books and Paper Dreams

Los Angeles, CA – The Ripped Bodice

St. Louis, MO – The Novel Neighbor

St. Charles, MO – Main Street Books

Other Awards

Winner:

  • 2016 Colorado Independent Publisher’s Association (CIPA) EVVY Awards (romance category)
  • 2015 RWA Expectations contest
  • 2015 RWA Golden Rose contest
  • Silver Medal – Independent Book Publisher’s Association (IBPA) Benjamin Franklin Awards (romance category)
  • Third place over all categories in the Lyra Awards for Fiction

Selected for Library Journal‘s curated SELF-e Select module

Short-listed for the 2016 Chatelaine Award for Romance/Women’s Fiction

Praise

“A credit to the author for making this delightful tale feel as warm and comfortable as an old friend.” – InD’Tale Magazine (4.5 star, Crowned-heart review)

“A smooth and thoroughly satisfying romance novel.” – BookLife Prize in Fiction

“Life has its ups and downs for Alex and Annabeth in Evelina’s solid tale. She fully explores the roadblocks thrown in their paths. Newly found love, vicious jealousy and several misunderstandings all serve to add interest. Hallowed halls of higher learning play their own part in the story.” – Romantic Times (RT) Book Reviews (4-star review)

“I could NOT put it down. Evelina’s voice is vibrant and fresh, and she delightfully interweaves humor, emotion, and that little bit of magic necessary to make a story truly shine.” – Margaret Locke, USA Today bestselling author of A Man of Character

“Great characters, plot twists, a Chicago setting–make for a fast-paced romantic adventure. Been Searching for You kept me reading all night. I loved it!”Sharolynne Barth, The Dreamin’ Tree.

This book is also listed on:

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Formats: ebook, paperback, audio
Publisher: Lawson Gartner publishing
ISBN: 

  • 978-0-9967631-6-5 (print)
  • 978-0-9967631-7-2 (ebook)
  • 978-0-9967631-8-9 (audio)

New Historical Novel Society Article

Just popping in to say that I have a new article up in the Historical Novel Society website:

Joanna Goodman’s Home for Unwanted Girls Exposes Human Rights Abuses in 1950s Canada

I’ll warn you that this book is a tough read, but an important one. I had no idea anything like this ever happened and it is something everyone should know about. You can probably tell I’m in research mode from the type of article it is. I love learning new things, even when they make me mad and sad like this did.

If you ever want to see other articles, here’s my full archive.

Feminism: One Movement in Four Waves (Part 4)

This is the final installment of this series. Here are the other parts: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Wave Four: 2017 – Present – Women Resist
Key Figures: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, celebrities such as Rose McGowan, Reese Witherspoon and Emma Watson, and women of the general public who demonstrated.

By Elvert Barnes from Baltimore, Maryland, USA via Wikimedia Commons

In 2005, Pythia Peay became the first women to argue, at least publicly, that the country had slipped into a fourth wave of feminism, one she believed combined justice with spirituality. Jennifer Baumgardner points to 2008 as the date the fourth wave began because of the sanctioning of Take Our Daughters to Work Days and the broadening of feminist agendas to include transgender women, acceptance of sex-positivism and sex workers, support for plus-sized women and other issues.

But I personally believe the change came in 2017. Regardless of who you voted for, it’s hard to deny that the Trump election changed everything for women in the United States. You could argue that this wave began with Hilary Clinton’s campaign, but I believe the stunning blow many women felt when she lost, combined with Trump’s public distain for women, is really what set us into a new wave.

Within days of his election, women were planning ways to protest the rise of a culture in which a political leader with pending lawsuits for sexual misconduct and widely-seen video/audio footage of him bragging about kissing/groping women without their consent is given a pass by fellow lawmakers and voters. They also used it as a chance to advocate for legislation and policies regarding human rights, women’s rights, immigration reform, health care reform, reproductive rights, the environment, LGBTQ rights, racial equality and freedom of religion. The resulting January 21, 2017, Women’s March in Washington was the largest single-day protest in American history. It and 673 others around the world drew 2.6 million people in all 50 states and 32 countries. (In 2018, more than 1 million women turned out for a second Women’s March in cities across the country, with an emphasis on resistance and creating change through voting in the midterm elections to be held later in the year.)

By Rob Kall from Bucks County, PA, USA via Wikimedia Commons

2017 also saw the ideas of men habitually interrupting women or “mansplaining” ideas to them come into mainstream media when California Sen. Kamala Harris was cut off by two male colleagues during an Intelligence Committee hearing, not once, but twice in a week, without censure.  This event led to former Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller branding Harris with the age-old female label of “hysterical.” During the same hearings, when Sen. Elizabeth Warren objected to the confirmation of Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Senate voted to silence her in the middle of a speech, citing  Senate Rule XIX, which prohibits ascribing “to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator.” In defending this action, Sen. Mitch McConnell said, “Sen. Warren was giving a lengthy speech. She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” Thus was born the fourth wave feminist slogan “Nevertheless She Persisted.”

Perhaps the most visible movement within the reenergized feminist fourth wave began in October 2017 with a tweet from actress Rose McGowan in which she revealed she had been raped by a man she called HW (who would later be identified as media mogul Harvey Weinstein). Her Charmed co-star Alyssa Milano responded to her tweet by urging women to use the hastag  #MeToo to show how widespread sexual harassment and sexual assault are. A movement was born, resulting in hundreds of thousands of women (both famous and not) around the world sharing their stories, as well as accusations against more than 50 Hollywood heavyweight actors, producers, directors, and other public figures. Time magazine later named the #MeToo silence breakers the Person of the Year for 2017.

A high-profile offshoot of #MeToo is #TimesUp, a movement involving more than 300 women in the film industry who are supporting one another in the fight against sexual harassment and violence through lobbying and providing funds for victims who can’t afford legal counsel.

Given all this fiery activity, it is little surprise that feminism was Merriam-Webster’s 2017 Word of the Year – a move many saw as confirming the rise of feminism from near-death.

From NBC news

One positive outcome of this fledgling wave of feminism is that more women than ever are running for political office, seeking to change trends that threaten to normalize sexual harassment and overall disregard for women’s rights and feelings. Currently, women occupy just 19.1% of House seats, 21% of Senate seats, and only four current U.S. governors are women, according to Catalyst.org, but this may well change with 2018 mid-term elections leaving several seats up for grabs. According to the Washington Post, a record number of women are running for governor: 79 women — 49 Democrats and 30 Republicans — are considering runs for the 2018 campaign. That’s more than double than four years ago. In Michigan, it appears that women will be nominees for every statewide office and more than 110 women have signed up to run for the Texas legislature.

Only time will tell what else this new wave will bring or what permanent changes it will usher in. I, for one, am grateful to be living “in interesting times” where history is made each and every day. If previous waves are any indication, persistence, loud voices and bold action will win the day and hopefully, finally, bring to an end the need for feminism to exist after nearly 200 years. It’s a tall order, but as Rosie the Riveter reminds us “we can do it!”

 

Feminism: One Movement in Four Waves (Part 3)

This is part of an ongoing series. In case you missed them, here are Part 1 and Part 2.

Wave Three: 1990 – 2016 – Women Fight for Multiple Ideas and Individuality
Key Figures: Anita Hill, the Riot Grrrl bands, Sarah McLaughlin, Hillary Clinton, and others.

By RockCreek [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

With the advent of the Internet, the agenda of the feminist movement became fragmented as the world became smaller. This was a time when many issues were brought to the fore, including (but not limited to) gender violence (including rape and rape culture), reproductive rights, the meaning of derogatory language (such as bitch and slut), equal pay, and gender expectations. A key feature of the third wave of feminism was a focus on intersectionality, recognition that the movement should include women of all races, nationalities, religions, and sexual orientations. These women were the daughters of second wave feminists and they were determined to learn from their mother’s mistakes.

It can be argued that Anita Hill’s testimony against Clarence Thomas before the Senate Judiciary Committee was the beginning of this wave, as it brought high profile sexual harassment into American homes through the nightly news and newspaper headlines. The Pacific Northwest punk movement that came to be known as Riot Grrrl is also credited with starting the third wave. These bands helped open a discourse on feminist subjects through their unabashed lyrics that took on rape, the patriarchy, sexuality, women’s and empowerment. In addition, the divisive issue of sex and sexuality blossoming into the so-called “feminist sex wars” in the early 1990s was another force driving feminism into a third wave.

The popularity of the all-female music festival Lilith Fair and the goddess movement of the 1990s placed a cultural emphasis on Girl Power (Spice Girls, anyone?) and gave women safe havens (both spiritually and at traditionally male-dominated music festivals) that were difficult to ignore. At the same time, The Vagina Monologues drew attention toward female sexual desire and raised money for support services for battered women.

The late 1990s and especially the early 2000s were marked by a backlash against feminism, which caused some in the media to name it the “post-feminist era.” Within the realm of popular imagination, feminists had gained a reputation for militancy and man-hating, which many women wanted to distance themselves from and Rush Limbaugh famously termed “feminazis.” Celebrities came out as openly saying they did not identify has feminist, even though they were for equal rights. It many ways, it began to look as though the movement was dead.

Controversy stalked the third wave in the form of accusations of creating a “culture of raunch,” which grew up around the sex-positive aspects of the movement. Pornography, strip clubs and risqué fashions were taken by many feminists and turned into symbols of female sexual empowerment, rather than being seen as degrading. In a similar vein, in 2015 and 2016, women sought to take back the word “slut” and to end the practice of “slut shaming” through public “slut walks” in which they proclaimed their sexuality and spoke out against victim-blaming and rape culture.

It was into this chaos that Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign marched, reigniting the hopes of many and reviving the call for women to vote. Clinton’s election to the presidency was seen by many as the inevitable crowning achievement of the feminist movement. While she was certainly not universally adored and many societal issues still remained against women, the idea of finally having a woman in the highest role in the land – 144 years after Victoria Woodhull first tried – trumped (no pun intended) those concerns for those who viewed her election as the strongest victory for women, perhaps since we were granted the right to vote nearly a century before. This sense of optimism reigned until results started coming in and the unthinkable began to suddenly appear unavoidable.

Feminism: One Movement in Four Waves (Part 2)

I got so busy yesterday I forgot to post part two! So you get two posts today. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here.

Wave Two: 1960-1988 – Women Fight for Equality
Key figures: Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Anna Nieto-Gómez, Sandra “Casey” Hayden, Mary King, Cherríe Moraga, Audre Lorde, Maxine Hong Kingston, and others.

The second wave of feminism in is often attributed to the strict gender roles that oppressed women in the wake of WWII. Despite new household technologies making homemaking easier than ever and socioeconomic change resulting in an abundance of new jobs not confined to the brute strength of men, women were still expected to fulfill many of the same roles they always had, and women were growing restless. In 1963 author Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique, criticizing how white women were shown in the media (as good little housewives with no drive or potential) and showing the emotional toll such a life took on women. Add to this the 1961 advent of the birth control pill which made employment without the threat of unexpected pregnancy a reality for the first time, and American females were primed for action.

It can also be said that there was a direct correlation between the fight for Civil Rights by African-Americans and the beginning of the second wave of feminism, which focused on equality for women. The Civil Rights movement gave women a template to follow and showed that their voices matter in terms of activism. These “radical feminists” went on to led the second wave in speaking out on violence and sexism.

Legal victories such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 gave women momentum. But this time, there wasn’t just one theme, but many. The women spurred on by consciousness raising meetings fought for the right for women to have access to and equal opportunity in the workforce, as well as the end of legal sex discrimination, championed reproductive rights (especially after 1973’s Rode v. Wade case made abortion legal) and spoke out against domestic violence and marital rape.

By the 1980s many people felt that the movement had achieved its goals through sexual harassment laws, the legalization of abortion and legislation that gave women more equal opportunities with men, so large-scale protests faded away, along with much of the energy behind the movement. Supporters still fought to uphold abortion rights and sexual harassment laws, promote full equality in the military and prevent violence against women, but overall it had lost its spark. On top of this, some feminists were starting to argue over the inclusion of sex workers in the feminism movement, a fight that would continue into the next wave.

The second wave was highly criticized by many African-American feminists and others of color as focusing far too much on the rights and politics of white women, as well as by the LGBT community for being too heteronormative.

Feminism: One Movement in Four Waves (Part 1)

Some of you may be aware that I’m working on a proposal for a non-fiction book on the history of U.S. feminism that I hope to have published on or near the 100th anniversary of American women getting the right to vote, which is August 19, 2020.  This week, Diana at Creating Herstory is featuring a four-part article I wrote on this very same subject and I thought I’d repost the article each day as it runs on her site. It will give you a rough idea of what the book will include, although the book also will have a section on colonial feminist thought that this article doesn’t cover.

Image purchased from Adobe Stock

For me, every day is Women’s History month because I’m currently researching the history of the feminism movement in the United States for a book.

Honestly, although I’ve considered myself a feminist for more than 20 years, I never really thought much about the movement in general or how it came to be. But then I researched my historical fiction novel Madame Presidentess, which is about Victoria Woodhull, a suffragist and the first woman to run for president in the U.S. in 1872 – 48 years before women won the right to vote. Because she was friends with the likes of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, I came to learn a lot about how feminism and women’s rights came to be in our country.

Historians generally agree that there have been at least three “waves” or intense periods of activity around women’s rights. But that is where the consensus ends. Exactly when these waves took place and what they encompassed is a serious matter of debate, especially where later waves are concerned. Some people (like me), believe we’re currently living in a fourth wave of feminism, while others say we’re still in the third or even in a fifth. There is even some debate on whether or not feminism in American dates back to colonial times, far before the generally accepted seminal event of the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention.

While one article could never do justice to the many facets of the feminist movement (that’s what the book is for, and even then it is impossible to hit all points), here’s a brief summary of the three accepted waves, as well as my theory of a current fourth wave. All dates are approximate.

Wave One: 1840-1920 – Women Fight for Citizenship and Suffrage
Key figures: Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Lucy Stone, Alice Paul, Carrie Chapman Catt, and others.

Susan B. Anthony (standing) and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Beginning in the 1830s, women started to quietly talk amongst themselves about their rights and to question why, under United States law, they were not considered full citizens. This eventually led to the first public debate on women’s rights at Oberlin College in 1846 and the first public address about women’s rights the next year. The first women’s rights convention in the United States took place the following July in Seneca Falls, New York. From this meeting came the Declaration of Sentiments, which was modeled on the Declaration of Independence, was all about woman and her rights, or lack thereof, in the country at that time. It became the basis for the women’s rights movement until the Civil War disrupted the whole country and placed the public’s attention squarely on abolition.

After the Civil War, the women’s movement split into two groups divided over the idea of enfranchisement of blacks as well as whether universal suffrage should be granted at the Federal or state levels. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were the leaders of the radical National Woman Suffrage Association, whose members believed that the enfranchisement of black and immigrant men would make it more difficult for women to be given the vote and called for a federal agreement for women suffrage. On the other side of the fence were Lucy Stone and the American Woman Suffrage Association, whose members supported the 15th Amendment and worked for women’s suffrage on a state-by-state basis.

This division hampered the efforts of both groups, by weakening resources, causing in-fighting within the movement and fracturing public attention. As time went on, some states granted suffrage on a case-by-case basis, usually beginning with school suffrage. The first state to grant women full voting rights was Wyoming in 1869. In 1872, Victoria Woodhull ran for president, even though she wasn’t technically old enough and the vast majority of women didn’t have the right to vote for her. Despite the odds, Susan B. Anthony succeeded in voting in that election (not for Victoria, as the two were bitter enemies by this point) but was arrested and found guilty of illegal voting. But she made history and headlines with her act, and her widely publicized trial spurred on flagging suffragists across the country. In 1875, Virginia Minor, a suffragist from Missouri, argued before the Supreme Court that women already had the right to vote under the 14th amendment of the Constitution, which that states suffrage is a right of all citizens of the United States. But the Supreme Court ruled against her, stating that all “men” had the right to vote, and the suffragists realized that the Federal government wasn’t going to help them. Thus began the decades-long campaign

Women’s Rights National Historical Park. Image purchased from Adobe Stock.

for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would enfranchise women.

The two warring factions of women’s suffrage finally reunited in 1890 as the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA), under the united cause of getting suffrage state-by-state. Twenty-six years later, tired of this slow, tame approach, Alice Paul formed the National Woman’s Party, a militant group focused on the passage of a national suffrage amendment. The following year, more than 200 members of this group – known as the Silent Sentinels – were arrested while picketing the White House. Many of them went on hunger strikes in prison and were subjected to torture and barbaric practices like forced feeding. (These women were the Iron-Jawed Angels of the 2004 film of the same name.)

Despite these setbacks, the women’s movement continued under the leadership of Carrie Chapman Catt, who focused whole-heartedly on the national amendment from 1916 on. Women finally gained the right to vote on a Federal level on August 20, 1920. But it took a long time for the states to catch up (Mississippi was the last state in the union to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment in 1984) and it wasn’t for several decades that African-American women were truly able to vote without fear of discrimination and harm.

Tomorrow’s Part 2 will talk about the Second Wave of feminism, which lasted approximately from 1960-the late 1980s.

P.S. – Did you know that the National Woman’s Party still exists? I’m a member!