Cover Image: Finding Margaret Fuller

Finding Margaret Fuller

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Member Reviews

I received an advance reading copy (arc) of this book from NetGalley. com and the publisher in return for a fair review. Margaret Fuller was considered a contemporary of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry David Thoreau--all legendary Transcendalist writers and thinkers based in Concord, Massachusetts during the mid-1800s. I had never heard of Margaret Fuller before even though she was held in high regard by many. Born in Cambridge, Fuller was an American journalist and first American female war correspondent as well as a women's rights advocate. Going against the popular grain of her times, she remained single and supported herself through her writing. Author Allison Pataki did a fine job bringing Fuller to life. My only complaint is that the book started out slow and remained that way for a quite a while. Fuller's friendship with the Alcott family, as well as Hawthorne, Emerson, and Thoreau was quite interesting and her choices in life unusual for a woman. She took a job under New-York Tribune editor Horace Greeley, who ultimately sent her to Europe where she covered the unrest in Rome before Italy's unification as one country and where she fell in love. I really did enjoy the book and learning about a woman who made a difference but has been largely forgotten today. I do recommend this book and if you find it slow in the beginning like I did, stick with it. You won't be disappointed.

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Although I thoroughly enjoy historical fiction, this book wasn't for me. The time period wasn't something I liked. The pace seemed slow. The book just didn't hold my interest but I'm sure different readers will like it more than I. Rounded up to 3 stars

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Finding Margaret Fuller is a breath of fresh air and a glimpse at the lives of writers and the great thinkers of the time. With a cast of well known side characters we are introduced to the most well read person in the world… and it happens to be a young spinster named Margaret Fuller. Dictated to by her father who educated his daughter himself with rote memorization and recitation, this young woman finds herself educated beyond many of her male counterparts and considers herself destined for loneliness. As we move through her life we come to understand the complexity of her nature. I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. I received an ARC of this book and all opinions are my own.

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Before reading this story, I had not heard of Margaret Fuller. I have heard of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, and Horace Greeley. Why hadn’t I been taught about Margaret Fuller and her role with these men? She was very instrumental in their lives, history, and their writing. This story brings Margaret’s life and influence to life.

Emerson was an essayist and Poet of renown. Hawthorn was an author, Thoreau was a naturalist and Greeley was the owner of a New York Newspaper. I have heard of Louisa May Alcott, who was a young girl during Margaret’s story. We have all grown up knowing these names, but not Fuller’s. Disappointing to me for sure. So I was very happy to read about her genius. She was so far ahead of her time that she not only dealt with the prejudices from men but also from women of that time who did not even think in any similar fashion to Margaret. She became their teacher.

She was self-supporting at a time when this was not heard of. Most women without family or marriage were either prostitutes or went into religious life. Margaret had a career teaching and writing from a very young age. She was published and then became the first female editor of a NYC newspaper for $10 a week, unheard of at that time.

Margaret’s work, travel, and success were throughout the US, England, France, and Italy and she met many prominent male writers, artists, and thinkers of her day. She expressed her opinions about women’s rights freely and openly to these men. She was a teacher of women and changed the world for women.

I enjoyed this story very much. The story of love, loneliness, family, and work was fulfilling to read and enjoyable. I wanted so much for Margaret to succeed and show the world that women were something to be reckoned with. Hurray for Ms. Fuller.

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I have been waiting for ‘Finding Margaret Fuller’ by Allison Pataki since I finished her previous book ‘The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post’. This new book was worth the wait. Allison Pataki is a gifted writer and it is evident from the first page of this book to the last.

While reading a book her Mother-in-law she kept coming across the name Margaret Fuller. Well who was Margaret Fuller? How could it be that in all her education and reading had she never heard of this woman. Well to be sure Allison Pataki was going to find out.

I studied Transcendentalist writers during college. Among them were Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Edgar Alan Poe among others. Through Ms. Pataki’s book we find that Margaret Fuller was an integral part of that group of Concord, Massachusetts Transcendentalists. Ms. Pataki was determined to bring Margaret Fuller’s story to life.

Margaret Fuller is a woman who should be taught about in every school. She should be acknowledged as the founder of the Women’s Movement in America. She was an author, tutor, teacher, first female publisher and first woman foreign correspondent among her other accomplishments. Margaret worked tirelessly, by example,how that a woman was just as smart as any man. Of course, during that period of history that couldn’t possibly be. Margaret exemplified how an unmarried woman could be independent and successful. Her story is wonderful.

This is a fascinating, awe inspiring and beautifully written epic of one woman’s life. Ms. Pataki’s story has left me wanting to know more about Margaret Fuller and her legacy. One of the best parts of this book is her Author’s notes at the end. Ms. Pataki meticulously explains how her story is as historically accurate as possible. Ms. Pataki has done her research and it shows. I can’t wait to see what Ms. Pataki has in store for us next. Well done.

I would like to thank Ms. Pataki, Random House Publishing Group, Ballantine, Ballentine Group and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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"Finding Margaret Fuller" by Allison Pataki is a wonderful, empowering and interesting novel. I really enjoyed learning about the life of this highly inspiring, strong woman, full of talent. life and charisma! Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the review copy. All opinions are my own.

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This quiet book has a leisurely pace without any real goals or obstacles to keep the story moving. The opening is mostly name-dropping with a kind of creepy attraction between Margaret and Ralph Waldo Emerson, who’s married. DNF.

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Another immensely enjoyable read from Allison Pataki, this time focusing on the marvelous Margaret Fuller. That we don't know more about her or her writings exposes the fate of so many extraordinary women in arts and letters, and beyond. Her short-life, cut off tragically, as she moved to yet another peak in the mountainous range of her accomplishments, no doubt contributes to her loss to history.

The eventful journeys in this book take us up-close-and-personal with the Transcendentalists and to the war for the liberation of Rome and unification of Italy--two breathtakingly different worlds. Fuller unites them, and the reader also feels deeply the daily pinches a woman endures who doesn't follow the traditional path. Yet Fuller opened the door for all those who follow.

Thank you to Pataki for reviving her with this both intimate and sweeping telling, and to Net Galley and Random House for the Advance Reader Copy. I feel like I lived life with Margaret Fuller through the course of this book and now hold her as a cherished friend.

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This novel of historical fiction revolves around Margaret Fuller. The fact you (like me) perhaps have never heard of her, should be reason enough to read this fascinating novel. You certainly know Fuller's friends and contemporaries: Hawthorne, Emerson, Poe, Thoreau, Melville, and even Louisa May Alcott. A feminist before the word existed, Fuller was, in many ways, the grandmother to the movement. You don't need to be a bookworm (or even well-versed in the classics) to appreciate Fuller's story and life. Enjoy!

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A complex retelling of the story of an influencer who lived ahead of her time. This isn't a book about a nice person or someone I want to emulate.

But Pataki brings to life a season and a culture of yesterday in a fascinating and thoughtful way.

Recommended when you have time to ponder life and worldviews and the influence of one person in many circles. Well-written with complicated character development and historical detail.

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Thanks to Net Galley and Random House for an ARC of Finding Margaret Fuller by Allison Pataki.

I thoroughly enjoyed this work of historical fiction. The title, to me, refers to two things - the first is a literal search for Fuller, her husband and son as they were lost at sea. The second is Margaret's search for her true self, in career and love.

I was unaware of Margaret Fuller's place in history. She was a contemporary of literary notables Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne and Poe,, and reformers in the women's rights movement Anthony and Stanton. The author's way of intertwining Fuller's life with the variety of historical figures was interesting throughout the book.

I highly recommend Finding Margaret Fuller.

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I was on the fence about getting this ARC. I was not a huge fan of The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post but I love historical fiction and blurbs I had read about Finding Margaret Fuller intrigued me, so I did. I am happy that I gave this author another chance.
I loved all of the "namedropping" of various authors of the 1800s--including Ralph Waldo Emerson. The protagonist's struggle to be an independent, literary woman during this time when women were "only" wives and mothers was real and compelling. Her desire to become what she wanted to be while, also, at times wanting to have what other women had was authentic. This internal strife was well drawn by Pataki and the character was brought to life; I desperately would love to sit down over a cup of tea and speak to this protagonist.
It did not quite earn five stars from me because I thought the pacing could have been a little better. The novel is very character driven which means that pacing is (in my view) especially important and a bit difficult. That said, I would definitely read other books by this author.
Thanks to Net Galley and Random House Group-Ballantine for giving me the opportunity to read this ARC.

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“Finding Margaret Fuller” is a story that needed to be told. Allison Pataki brings her to life with a compelling voice. Fuller’s amazing connections to such literary icons as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Louisa May Alcott through detailed dialogue and descriptive narratives brought me deep into her life story. Margaret Fuller’s headstrong determination to be a woman that makes a difference are so well conveyed in this exceptional historical novel, providing the reader with many of her seminal contributions to the women’s movement in the latter 19th century, from New England, to New York City, to Europe and Rome. It is clear Pataki extensively researched Fuller’s life to bring depth to her story. This is a must read to learn more about the forgotten women that smoothed the path for equality.

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4.5 Loved this book. Never heard of Margaret Fuller but now that I know about her I am interested in reading some of her books. Allison Pataki's writing is so beautiful. The audiobook narrator Barrie Kreinik also does a wonderful job. Highly recommend this book to all historical fiction readers. Looking forward to her next book.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Ballantine Books/Random House for the ARC in exchange of my honest review.

Prior to this year, I read historical fiction less frequently than other genres. I read The Magnificient Life of Marjorie Post upon my sister's recommendation. I was extremely excited to learn that Allison Pataki has another book coming out about a triumphant and successful female.

I read the book in two days even though it was 416 pages. By no means is this a light beach read. I felt smart as I was sitting at a coffee shop, reading it while sipping my chai latte with almond milk, It does feel like a history lesson. Through Ms. Fuller, readers are introduced to Ralph Waldo Emerson (who was by far my favorite character of the book), as well as Thoreau and neighbors The Alcotts. I don't even think I've read Little Women and have now added that to my never-ending TBR list. (I read Tom Lake and should have been much more familar with Our Town to appreciate that book more) I enjoyed the chemistry between Waldo and Fuller and wondered how much is factual versus fiction regarding their relationship.

More and more "great thinkers who exist on another plane" were included in the book including Nathanial Hawthorne (and I now think fo Hester Pryne in The Scarlett Letter differently! Read the author's note to learn why), Edgar Allen Poe (who called Margaret Fooler"), Walt Whitman, Herman Melville, Frederick Douglas, Chopin, William Wordsworth and many other important figures in 1840s history. While being entertaining, it does feel like a history lesson and I was googling what many of these individuals were most famous for.

It was very interesting to learn about the first American reporter to be a foreign news correspondent and travel to Europe as an unwed woman in a time where that was unheard of. The part that takes place in Italy I enjoyed the least and I think the book could have been a bit shorter to keep my interest through its entirety. Overall, I did enjoy reading about an often overlooked "leading lady at the center of our great American story."

As Elizabeth Barrett Browing reminds her friend Margaret Fuller, "No one reads the books about boring women who follow the rules."

I think Ms. Fuller could have appeared a little less buttoned up while in Italy.

I will definitely continue to read any books Allison Pataki writes and may even try to read some of her early books when I can find the time.

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I was truly excited for this book but sadly, it just fell a bit short for me. I was intrigued by Margaret Fuller. I never heard of her and wanted to know more. Alas, while Margaret's life was absolutely intriguing--- she was friends with the transcendentalists, was in Italy during the revolution, paved the way for women in writing and was a pure feminist at heart, this book about her incredible life was just dry and boring. I struggled to maintain focus in the story throughout the book and not simply fall asleep. It may have been simply the time of Fuller's life... Victorian New England that just bored me. I love this author and her writing style, so I doubt it was that.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher Ballantine Books and the author, Alison Pataki for this ARC.

The book is released on March 19, 2024 if you are interested in getting a copy.

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Allison Pataki's excellent historical novel puts the remarkable Margaret Fuller in the spotlight, a place she certainly belongs. Dubbed "the best read person in America" in the 1830s, Margaret was a brilliant scholar, one of the few women in America with the education to match wits with her friends Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau, Nathanial Hawthorne and other Transcendentalists in America, and such Europeans as George Sand, and Elizabeth Barrett. Her books and essays were read and discussed all over the world.

The first of nine children, her father educated her like the son he hoped for (note that he did not educate his sons to the level he did Margaret.) His death put her in the pickle of so many women in a time when women could not work outside the home--the need to support the family, a large family. She does this my teaching and writing, coming up with ideas like holding groups from women, charging tuition to educate them and teach them to speak up for their ideas and beliefs. She finally teams with Horace Greeley at the New-York Tribune, becoming the first woman to edit a paper. He sends her to Europe to cover changes happening there with the idea that she will report on the struggle to unite Italy.

All of this happened between the age of 26 and her death at 40 in a shipwreck off the coast of Fire Island. With money the great issue it always was, she, her Italian husband and child traveled by cargo ship as opposed to a passenger liner. Upon hearing the news, Emerson asked Thoreau to go to the crash site to see if the bodies and a copy of her most recent manuscript could be recovered. Nothing was found.

Pataki wisely writes in the first person, humanizing Margaret and showing her as someone more than a genius whose words inspire and spark thinking, but as someone who would make a wonderful friend.

Perhaps too many pages are spent on her increasingly uncomfortable visit to the Emersons in Concord but it reveals the struggle of even the most open-minded men to understand this challenging mind in the head of a young woman.

I was so excited to be approved to read and review this novel and I was engaged in every page. Thanks to Ballantine Books and NetGalley for a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with this book in exchange for my review! All opinions are my own.

This was an interesting read. I had never heard of Margaret Fuller before, but I have read other books by Allison Pataki, so I was fascinated by the premise. Even if it was an interesting read, I found it hard to keep up with at times because the book was so long. For some, this might be the kind of book you listen to instead of physically reading. With that being said, I want to clarify it is not a bad book at all, it was just very long. I enjoyed learning about Margaret Fuller, and I honestly felt a little sad for her that she is not more well-known in history. Given that I live in New England, I also enjoyed learning about other New England writers that Margaret interacted with. She was also a very strong and likable heroine. I am definitely going to keep an eye out for other books by Allison Pataki.



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When I began this book and Margaret Fuller is meeting Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne, I thought she must be a fictional character, but I was totally wrong. This is a fictional though very authentic biography of a real woman who was a published writer – pretty much unheard of in the 1800’s – and who was the first woman to be allowed to enter Harvard’s library. An absolutely fascinating story of a woman who reached far beyond her time.

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An outstandingly written and researched novel! Allison Pataki brought to life, the incredible creation of Margaret Fuller. She was a woman and a force who emphasized reason in a time when tradition ruled. In her lifetime, the 1850’s, it was a “man’s world.” At one point, Margaret stood outside Harvard University’s library with a yearning to be allowed inside their sacrosanct walls. As a woman, that was prohibited. She was certainly among the great and forward thinkers of her time, along with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau and Nathaniel Hawthorne. A brilliant woman who helped bring change for women, as she encouraged them, to think for themselves. I’m so grateful to have been granted this book before publication via NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine. All opinions are my own. #NetGalley, #FindingMargaretFuller, #Goodreads.

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