The Fair Fight – Anna Freeman
Born into a brothel, Ruth’s future looks bleak until she catches the eye of Mr. Dryer. A rich Bristol merchant and enthusiast of the ring, he trains gutsy Ruth as a pugilist. Soon she rules the blood-spattered sawdust at the infamous Hatchet Inn.
Dryer’s wife Charlotte lives in the shadows. A grieving orphan, she hides away, scarred by smallpox, ignored by Dryer, and engaged in dangerous mind games with her brother
I was sent The Fair Fight by Orion Books, and I was instantly hooked just from the book’s description,.
The story introduces us to a number of interesting characters (in fact, I can’t think of a single one I didn’t enjoy reading about), and brings us right into the center of their lives. They are all brilliantly written (despite some being less favourable than others) and I found myself wanting to learn more about all of them.
Ruth was born into a brothel, and we learn of the inner workings at the establishment and the way she lived around the time she was ten years old. The relationship between her and Dora is especially interesting, as despite Dora not being that much older, her attitude and actions towards Ruth are that of someone beyond her years. She is quite venomous towards Ruth, and you really side with her when she has these confrontations with Dora and root for her throughout the book, as Dora often remarks on Ruth’s ‘unfavourable’ looks.
The book is very tastefully written, despite having a large section of the story based in a brothel, and I found myself intrigued to keep reading.
It is well paced, and there were no real ‘quiet’ moments within the story where not much happened, which I often find with other books. Both the characters and the plot were extremely engaging, and it was interesting to read about a subject matter I had no real knowledge of prior to reading this book.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good female lead, and someone who goes against convention of what a woman can and can’t do. Ruth doesn’t take no for an answer and grabs her dreams with both gloved fists (excuse the boxing pun).
It’s a fascinating book, and a very easy read – One of my favourites of this year.