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Finding Margaret Fuller

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Finding Margaret Fuller by Allison Pataki, centers on a figure of the 19th century that not many of us have even heard of. I myself had never even come across Margaret Fuller in all my reading of history. However, most will recognize some of the famous literary names that are characters Margaret meets through her journey to find herself.

The real Margaret Fuller is one of the first American women to lay the stepping stones for what would become the Womens Rights movement. She leaves a very different life than her contemporary peers, having been educated to the point that she becomes known as the “Best Read Women of New England.” Her journeys around early 19th Century New England have her cross paths with the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and even a young Louisa May Alcott and a very questionable Edgar Allen Poe. She accomplishes many firsts in her life, including becoming the first women editor of a newspaper, and the first woman to be allowed access to the hallowed Harvard Library.

Yet, we find Pataki weaves a story of a women, who despite her accomplishments and many of them quite notable, still feels adrift in her life. Something is missing for her, but even though other women look down their noses as Margaret for being single and childless-in an age where that is wildly uncommon-Fuller strives to find something more to contribute to the world.

While Margaret Fuiller is a fascinating character, and one who should be more well known for ALL of her many notable feats as a woman in the 19th century, I will say this was probably my least favorite novel by this author. I did find Margaret an obnoxious character in someways, unaware of the feelings of other women around her, and I found the first 2/3 of the book kind of slow going,. However, it is still well written, and brings to life a woman who even now, would be an accomplished figure. I still recommend this novel for fans of Pataki, for those interested in Women’s history, or even fans of those authors we were all, maybe somewhat forced, required to read in English class.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Ballantine Books for the advance reader copy.

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This is a novel, but based on the very real Margaret Fuller, someone I didn't know anything about at the beginning of this book but who I fell in love with by the end. Margaret is intelligent, a successful writer, and someone who is unconcerned in fitting into the traditional role of women in society in the mid-1800s. She spends a lot of time in Concord, NY at the home of Ralph Waldo Emmerson. Also there are Henry David Thoreau, Nathanial Hawthorne, and Louisa May Alcott. Her ambition, drive, and determination take her back and forth from Concord to Boston to NYC and eventually to London and Italy. Despite being an unconventional woman in a man's world of writing, she is successful, taking advantage of her relationships with men who are open-minded and eager for her to succeed. One of these is Horace Greely. Despite not knowing anything about the main character, I became engrossed in this story right away. I loved following Margaret's life path and by the end, I felt that I knew her very well. The names of famous people sprinkled throughout the book that Margaret came into contact with were fun too, mostly I loved her! I highly recommend it! Thank you so, so much NetGalley for the advanced copy.

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What a thoroughly fascinating read of an obscure character in American history! Why Margaret Fuller was so little known is beyond me considering her high profile friendships with fellow transcendentalists of her day...Emerson, Hawthorne and Thoreau. She also mingled with the likes of the young Louisa May Alcott, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Edgar Allan Poe, Frederic Chopin, William Wordsworth and many more. Her life was wrought with sorrow and triumphs alike as she persevered through a man's world, longing to be accepted amongst these great thinkers and writers of her day. Certainly her mission was accomplished as a literary critic, author of many works, editor with the New York Tribune, and the first international war correspondent. Pataki introduces us to Fuller with realistic language and dialogue, not embellishing her feminist life with twenty-first century sentimentalities. I am intrigued to do more research, and equally anxious to pick up more of Pataki's works.
Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!

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Okay, Allison Pataki is officially on the auto-buy list. Also…is she my favorite historical fiction writer now? Maybe? It’s possible. I read The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post and was so delighted by how great it was, I had high hopes for Finding Margaret Fuller and WOW did it deliver! I’m absolutely loving these epic, sweeping, meticulously researched novels about these fascinating women who, for who in the world knows what reason, we haven’t heard of but are so important to our history. I’m obsessed. Nailed it again. Will absolutely recommend.

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I am fairly sure I never heard of Margaret Fuller so this was a lovely, surprising and educational story for me. Although written as historical fiction, it is clear from the writing and from the afterward that this was a deeply researched work of love. Margaret Fuller was educated by her brilliant father to the point that in the early 19th century, she was an odd egg. When her father died and she needed to earn money for her mother an siblings, she began to do freelance writing and caught the attention of Ralph Waldo Emerson who became her fast friend, perhaps with some romantic attachment that was not consummated since he was married. Thus, in her young adulthood, we meet Thoreau, the Alcott family and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Fuller became known to many as an advocate for women and remained unmarried for most of her life. We know early on that she, her husband and her young son died in a shipwreck and then, Partaki takes us through her story. How she became famous through her writing and ideas, was a successful author, became the first woman editor under Horace Greeley and went off to Europe to be his overseas correspondent in an early bid for Italy to be united. How she did so much on a shoestring, helping her family scrape along. How she met famous people: Wordsworth, Chopin, George Sands, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. And that she essentially disappeared. I am no historian, but I am very fond of Louisa May Alcott and studied a bit about the transcendentalists through the years. I slogged through Walden, read some of Emerson's essays and read various pieces about Bronson Alcott. I read The Scarlet Letter and House of the Seven Gables. Yet Finding Margaret Fuller also helped me find these progressive thinkers and sometimes ne'er do wells all over and to think of them in a whole different and very enjoyable way. Great story. Well written. And added a little more European history to my very poor world history education. Definitely recommend!

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This book was great, it felt fresh and not like anything else I've read lately. It kept me intrigued all the way through, I didn't want to put it down.

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I love historical fiction and I really wanted to learn more about Margaret Fuller. Unfortunately this novel glosses over all the revolutionary things she did - interview women at Sing Sing and travel the frontier, for instance. I just wasn't impressed with the storyline and it was not engaging.

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I really enjoyed Finding Margaret Fuller.
Like Pataki, I had never heard of her before and yet she seems to have accomplished so much -- it's clear that if Margaret had been a man, we would all know her name!
The story is interesting and well written, even though there were times when I wanted to shake her (particularly in Concord at Bush), Margaret was a woman of her time, not mine, so I suppose she should be excused for putting up with jealous women and men who basically cheated her out of money she earned! But thank heavens for Horace Greeley!
Adding to my enjoyment is that a lot of the book takes place in the greater Boston area, where I live, since I am familiar with a lot of the historic sites mentioned in the story.
The last few pages, which deal with her family's death are so sad, particularly since they were practically home. Her manuscript being lost forever is almost the worst part, but at least her name lives on, in part due to the efforts of Allison Pataki.
If you like historical or women's fiction, you must read Finding Margaret Fuller.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for an e-galley of Finding Margaret Fuller.

Allison Pataki writes wonderful historical fiction based off of often overlooked women. Specifically women who have impacted how our lives are today. After reading The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post, I knew I had to read her newest novel.

I had never heard of Margaret Fuller, despite the famous circles she ran in. Having rubbed elbows with Waldo, Alcott, Thoreau, and Hawthorne, Margaret was exposed to some of the greatest minds of that generation and thus became a celebrated thinker and author within those circles. As we followed her during her career, it became apparent she was adventurous, brave, and clearly not afraid of doing things outside the social norms for women.

Finding Margaret Fuller was an excellent read from start to finish, full of laughter, heart break, and the trials of being a thinking female when that was not the expectation.

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Best-selling novelist Allison Pataki blends a sweeping historical drama with a cast of some of America's greatest writers and thinkers. In the 1830's, Margaret Fuller, a bright and remarkably well read woman, develops a reputation as a gifted writer while navigating society's narrow expectations of a single woman. She becomes a friend and muse to Ralph Wldo Emmerson, while he mentors her and she becomes part of a circle that includes Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the young Louisa May Alcott. But her literary adventures in America pale compared to what awaits her when she is assigned to cover a burgeoning revolution in Italy. Pataki's fictional version of Fuller's true story turns these iconic figures into flesh and blood people with passionate hearts and minds, and she evokes rural Massachusetts and Europe in chaos with similarly evocative detail. Barrie Kreinik's rich, expressive narration is a brilliant match for Pataki's storytelling, both passionate and elegant. It's a remarkably entertaining story about a truly remarkable woman.

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I am a long time fan of Allison Pataki and deeply admire the research and historical accuracy she takes care to utilize in each book she writes. Finding Margaret Fuller was no different! I appreciate that she identifies lesser known female historical figures and writes their stories as if the reader is living alongside them; the experience is immersive, educational, but never forsaking entertainment. While this one did not live up to the greatness of her previous book, The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post, I grew fond of Margaret and her gang of literary greats. As a former student of English and Music, it was nice to learn a bit more about Thoreau, Emerson, Chopin, and Sand. I have been recommending this one to anyone who admires historical fiction. Thank you Allison for another amazing historical treat; I am not so fond of historical fiction but I never hesitate to pick up Pataki's novels!

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I've enjoyed Allison Pataki's books on the lives of other historical women and 'Finding Margaret Fuller' doesn't disappoint. I too hadn't heard of Margaret Fuller, while being familiar with Emerson, Thoreau and Hawthorne. Such a leading lady of the Transcendental period and tragically lost at an early age. Who knows how her future life and our history would have changed had she lived longer. Definitely a must read for women's history.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC

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Review will be posted on 3/9/24
It's 1836 in Concord, Massachusetts and Margaret Fuller is spending time at Ralph Waldo Emerson's house. He is her mentor and friend, which brings her into a literary social circle like none other with Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the Alcott family. Margaret is known to be highly educated, well-read, and extremely intelligent. She is unconventional for her time in that she has no interest in settling down with a man, but has higher aspirations for herself. Over the years, she has taken on jobs, such as teacher, journalist, writer, editor, and more. Some of these jobs she never was paid for, but once she writes an important book on women, her career takes off. She holds conversations with like-minded women to discuss important issues of the time and before she knows it, she is offered a job at the New York Tribune as the first female war correspondent. Her boss sends her to Europe to write about Italy's fight for independence. While there are many important events that occur in Italy, the most important is meeting her future husband, Giovanni Ossoli. He is a Roman soldier and not someone she would necessarily see herself with, but sparks fly and they end up having a child together. She must escape Italy's fighting more than once to bring her child to safety with the end goal of hopefully getting back to America. Allison Pataki's sweeping saga Finding Margaret Fuller highlights the life of an important woman often forgotten in the pages of history.

Margaret Fuller is captivating. I am not sure Pataki made her entirely interesting every second of Finding Margaret Fuller as some parts were pretty slow. The first half of the book where Margaret struggles to find her place in Massachusetts and jumps from job to job is a bit boring, to be honest. Her romantic tension with Ralph Waldo Emerson definitely kept it interesting, but I knew she had bigger fish to fry as he was already married and seemed pretty needy. For me, the story took off once she was sent to Italy as a war correspondent. I found this really captivating and her life in Italy jumped off the page. By this point, like any good biographical fiction, I was googling facts about Margaret, because I wanted to see what would happen to her during Italy's fight for independence and was surprised by some of the details about her life.

I was also surprised that I didn't know much about Margaret Fuller. She is an important person when it comes to women's rights and Transcendentalism, so I am glad Pataki is highlighting her amazing life in Finding Margaret Fuller. I think readers can agree that Margaret led an important life, one to be remembered, and even though Pataki kept a slow pace at times in Finding Margaret Fuller, I think it was an important and very memorable read--one that I kept thinking about long after I turned the page.

Are you familiar with Margaret Fuller? Are you a fan of Allison Pataki? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Allison Pataki’s meticulous research and well-honed writing ushers the reader into Margaret Fuller’s world. Do you recognize her name? If not, once you become acquainted with her, you will not soon forget her or the force with which she lived. Her world included well-known contemporaries such as Waldo and Lidian Emmerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne, Bronson and Abba Alcott, and Louisa May Alcott with her sisters. If you ever wanted to meet some of America’s nineteenth-century thinkers and literary greats, this is an opportunity not to be missed. You only need to turn to the first page and begin your journey to Finding Margaret Fuller.

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Like many literature lovers I’m well versed in the Transcendentalists’ works - Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau and Alcott. I’ve been to
Boston, Concord and Walden Pond but never heard of their contemporary, friend and muse, Margaret Fuller.
Allison Pataki perfectly emulated Margaret Fuller’s voice and gives the reader an inside look to Margaret’s private thoughts and moments. We walk with her and Ralph Waldo Emerson through Concord, with play with little Louisa May and float down the river with Thoreau to where Hawthorne is waiting outside the Old Manse. Margaret Fuller speaks out for women’s rights and stirs the heart of a young Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She’s the first woman reporter for the New York Tribune and becomes a foreign correspondent. In Rome she finds love and her home though its gripped with revolutionary war. The reader joins Margaret on all her adventures understanding her heart and her fears. I highly recommend this novel to romantics, lovers of historical fiction and literature. More of us need to know of Margaret Fuller and all she inspired. She’s a woman truly worthy of a legacy.

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Excellent book! It seems well researched. It's definitely well written. Margaret's story is amazing.

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I loved this story! Margaret Fuller was such an interesting woman and was so ahead of her time! I have multiple patrons at my library that I will be recommending this book too. One person I have recommended this book to is my mother, who already enjoyed Allison Pataki's books before, and she absolutely loved it! Thank you Netgally and Random House for allowing me to read this early!

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what a wonderful book. as always partake delivers. the characters are wonderful. had me do research to see the actual people and their biography. great for discussion. lots to talk about. easy read and totally enjoyable.

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Margaret Fuller was a fascinating woman and it is thanks to Allison Pataki that I now know how forward thinking she was. I had heard of Margaret Fuller, but knew nothing about her. Margaret was a writer and an avid believer in educaton and opportunity for women. Almost all the characters in the novel have recognizable names and these were Margaret's friends. Amazing! She was a forward thinker and the first female column writer for a major newspaper. This is the best kind of historical novel. It leaves the reader yearning to do their own research into a fascinating subject.

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⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

Margaret Fuller is a force to be reconned with. From her famous friends (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathanial Hawthorne, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning, a young Louisa May Alcott) to her commitment to writing (journalist, translator, editor, writer) to being a member of the transcendentalism movement and an advocate for women’s rights. To say she was remarkable is an understatement.

Heavily character driven at the beginning, I had a hard time getting into the beginning of this story. It was very slow with its flowery (1800 appropriate) speech and name dropping. Although revered by her famous friends, she seemed to be taken advantage of, mainly due to her being a woman. The story dragged for me until about 2/3 of the way in, then seemed to follow more of a story of her time overseas until her dramatic ending, which is hinted at in the first chapter. The writing is excellent and research top notch. Even though this wasn’t a hit for me, I enjoyed learning about this amazing women who was ahead of her time. I recommend Ms. Pataki’s earlier books, The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post and Beauty in the Broken Places.

Thanks to NetGalley and Ballantine Books for this ARC. This is my honest opinion.

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