This month The Malton Book Club put themselves forward to read and review Anna Freeman’s The Fair Fight, a vibrant, visceral tale of courage, reinvention and fighting your way to the top in Georgian Bristol.
If you’d like to volunteer your reading group to read our next book club choice sign up here. You can also download the reading group notes, including discussion points and a piece on the inspiration behind the novel.
Here’s what they made of it . . .
‘A page turner and had me immediately drawn into the world of 18th century boxing . . . This is a novel about social inequality and survival but not just in the boxing ring . . . I will be looking out for the author’s next book and I hope my wait isn’t a long one!’ – Heather
‘A historical romp of a story about female boxing in the 18th century – a subject new to me and not one I expected to like. However, I did like it! . . . horrifying in places but exciting at the same time.’- Sandra
It’s always an added bonus when a good story also adds to the sum of one’s knowledge! . . . I wasn’t expecting to like ‘The Fair Fight’ as much as I did because the boxing theme didn’t initially appeal to me. However, I found Anna Freeman’s writing style most atmospheric and I soon got drawn into Ruth’s story . . . It is a good choice for a book group as there is so much to discuss.’ – Fiona
‘The Fair Fight refers to the boxing but it also refers to the fight that women as the fairer sex had to be heard, to have choices, to be able to have any sort of independence . . . the story goes along at a pace and twists and turns towards the end in unexpected ways, keeping you guessing as to the outcome.’ – Diana
‘The powerful depiction of the fight between Ruth and the ‘ogre’ narrated by Charlotte; her ambivalence to the violence – at the same time both appalled and thrilled – was gripping. And from there on I was gripped . . . a good read and will pass it on to my wife with that commendation and will watch out for the author in the future.’ – Tony
‘It kept me turning the pages – but its length and division into sections devoted to each of the four protagonists made it difficult sometimes to pick up threads.’ – Veronica
‘Hugely enjoyable, and a real page turner. I found the subject of female fighting fascinating, and loved the gutsy heroine Ruth . . . a superb insight into the squalor and violence and life in the latter part of the 1700’s.’ – Chris