Naked Truth: Or Equality by Carrie Hayes – Book Review

Naked Truth: Or Equality by Carrie Hayes – Book Review

Naked truth cover

Naked Truth: Or Equality, The Forbidden Fruit

Author – Carrie Hayes
Publisher – HTPH Press
Pages – 324
Released – 29th February 2019
ISBN-13 – 978-0578229102
Format – ebook, paperback
Rating – 3 Stars
I received a free copy of this book.
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From Washington Heights to Washington D.C. comes a true American Herstory. Filled with intrigue, lust, and betrayal, this is the fight for sexual equality.

1868, on the eve of the Gilded Age: Spiritualist TENNESSEE CLAFLIN is smart, sexy, and sometimes clairvoyant. But it’s her sister, VICTORIA WOODHULL, who is going to make history as the first woman to run for President of the United States.

It starts with the seduction of the richest man in America. Next, they’ll take New York City and the suffragist movement by storm, because together, Tennessee and Victoria are a force of nature. Boldly ambitious, they stop at nothing, brushing shoulders with Harriet Beecher Stowe and Susan B. Anthony, using enough chutzpah to make a lady blush.

That is, until their backstabbing family takes them to court, and their carefully spun lives unravel, out in public and in the press.

Told from shifting points of view and using actual news reportage from the era, Naked Truth or Equality is a riveting inside look into the struggle for women’s rights after the Civil war.

Review by Tina

Naked Truth is the fictionalized true story of two women attempting to push against and through the rampant sexism of the post-Civil War United States.

In the late 1800s, in New York, two sisters attempted to make history by running for office. Leading up to this moment, their story is a tale involving seduction, blackmail, and bigotry. Naked Truth follows Tennessee Claflin and Victoria Woodhull as they slowly become involved in politics and then brought to trial by their own family for obscenity.

Unfortunately, what should have been a riveting true story is bogged down by the way the story is told. I spent a great deal of the first half of the novel confused, as characters/historical figures are introduced without a lot of backstory. There is a list of characters at the start, it only provided the bare minimum of information. I think the issue is that I am not American and while I know the basics of American history, I only have the vaguest idea of who Ulysses Grant is, for example, and I only know of Frederick Douglass and Harriet Beecher Stowe from an American literature class. Tied to this, the characters are given little to no exposition or backstory – it felt like I was expected to know who these people were already, which was frustrating. Likewise, so many things happen that I didn’t feel I got to know Tennessee and Victoria very well, so I wasn’t as emotionally invested as I could have been.

Yet, this is an impeccable-researched novel – details about life in that time period were included to give it an authentic feel. One of the best aspects of the novel is the inclusion of primary sources – like newspaper articles – from the time of the events in the story.

Sometimes a novel that you think will be right up your alley doesn’t sit with you as you expected, which I think is what happened here. But readers who love this period of American history will undoubtedly adore this novel. You can tell there was a great deal of thought put into it, and the story is as relevant today as it was 120 years ago.

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Author Info

Carrie Hayes naked truth

Over the years, Carrie has tried a lot of things. She’s sold vacuum cleaners, annuities and sofas. She’s lived at the beach and lived in Europe. She’s taught school and worked in film. For a while, she was an aspiring librarian, but she fell in love and threw her life away instead.

Back in the States, she started over, then met an architect who said, “Why don’t you become a kitchen designer?” So, she did. Eventually she designed interiors, too. And all that time, she was reading. What mattered was having something to read. Slowly, she realized her craving for books sprang from her need to know how things would turn out. Because in real life, you don’t know how things will turn out. But if you write it, you do. Naked Truth or Equality the Forbidden Fruit is her first book.

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What did you think of ‘Naked Truth: Or Equality, The Forbidden Fruit’? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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10 Responses

  1. Tasha says:

    This sounded full of potential, but I also find that sometimes the story and characters are swamped by too much information. I hope that your next read is a better one.

  2. I really enjoyed this one but like you it did take me a while to get into. The formatting was certainly interesting. Once I got used to it I enjoyed the style but at first it detracted a little.

  3. DJ Sakata says:

    Too bad it missed the mark for you, happens to all of us

  4. A well balanced review though!

  5. Robin Loves Reading says:

    I love reading about strong women during different periods in history.

  6. I think that you hit the nail on the head. Thanks.

  7. Glad you enjoyed it. I think sometimes moving away from the norm takes some getting used to and will be hit and miss with people.

  8. Can’t adore all the books. But it certainly isn’t a bad book and lots will love it.

  9. Thank you. We like to keep the balance just right.

  10. This is a book you would probably love then.