Description: Chattanooga society is turned upside down as a young woman has the audacity to ride a bicycle--in bloomers!
It's 1895. Anna Gaines, 19, struggles to conquer her insecurities after a horrible fall years ago from her beloved horse, Longstreet. On a visit with her aunt in Brooklyn, she's drawn to the new pastime of bicycling. But back at home, cycling is a scandalous sport for a proper lady. Southern women did not engage in activities meant for men.
Anna has her eye on Peter Sawyer, president of the Cycling Club. As community outrage grows, an unexpected turn of events pits Anna against Peter in a race between the sexes.
Will Anna prove that women deserve the same right as men to ride "the wheel?" Will she choose to live a quiet, traditional life of a housewife and mother? Or will she pursue college and become one of the "new women" emerging into the twentieth century on the seat of a bicycle? What will become of the spark between Anna and Peter? Faith, patience, and courage help Anna to become the person she was meant to be.
My Thoughts: What drew me to this novel was the title. Something about the idea of a bicycle race caught my imagination and, since I also live only two hours away from Chattanooga, I thought this would be an enlightening read. It did turn out to be enjoyable, thought it took a while to get there.
The writing in this book is not the best. Information was repeated far more often than necessary and certain comments by the characters would later be contradicted by either the characters themselves or other circumstances. There were also quite a few scenes that could have been easily combined without any lose of pertinent information. This was what made if difficult for me to initially immerse myself in the story.
What changed my perception of the story was the amount of research that had clearly gone into it. There are quotes from actual papers during that time period as well as a wide cast of characters who all added to the historic feel. While some of the characters tended to melodramatic, it still reflected the views of individuals in the past.
I can't say that the book was great, but sometimes a story can be fun despite that.
I have provided an honest review after having received a copy of the book through Litfuse.