A brilliant rendering of a scandalous historical figure, Kate Manning's My Notorious Life is an ambitious, thrilling novel introducing Axie Muldoon, a fiery heroine for the ages.
In vivid prose, Axie recounts how she is forcibly separated from her mother and siblings, apprenticed to a doctor, and how she and her husband parlay the sale of a few bottles of "Lunar Tablets for Female Complaint" into a thriving midwifery business. Flouting convention and defying the law in the name of women's reproductive rights, Axie rises from grim tenement rooms to the splendor of a mansion on Fifth Avenue, amassing wealth while learning over and over never to trust a man who says "trust me."
When her services attract outraged headlines, Axie finds herself on a collision course with a crusading official - Anthony Comstock, founder of the Society for the Suppression of Vice. It will take all of Axie's cunning and power to outwit him in the fight to preserve her freedom and everything she holds dear.
Inspired by the true history of an infamous female physician who was once called "the Wickedest Woman in New York," My Notorious Life is a mystery, a family saga, a love story, and an exquisitely detailed portrait of nineteenth-century America. Axie Muldoon's inimitable voice brings the past alive, and her story haunts and enlightens the present.
©2013 Kate Manning (P)2013 Simon & Schuster
I loved the topic of the book. At times I thought I would turn if off, and stop listening, but it was so intriguing that after a few minutes I would turn it right back on. I also liked the characters, the time period depiction, and the historical undertones.
Maybe some of Diana Gabaldon's books, similarly there were many parts in her series addressing women's lives in different times of the past, childbirth, daily struggles, stuff like that.
I have never listened to Terry Donnelly before, but she is awesome! She did a good job with the period's English (as much as I can tell), and the various characters' voices. I loved the way she did Axie's friend, Greta's voice, who is a German immigrant. I would listen to more audiobooks narrated by Terry Donnelly.
I highly recommend this book. At times I couldn't believe how little has changed in the leading topic of the book, namely women's rights regarding abortion. It was riveting and also scary. The main character was great, I really liked her, and ultimately the end of the story was good. I was grateful for this, because from the beginning the story just had this black cloud over it. You'll know what I mean when you listen to it! I think this book would be a terrific choice for a book club.
I wouldn't listen to this again, because I couldn't stand the reader. Which is annoying, because the story was excellent.
The descriptions of the lives of women of the time, especially lower class women, were excellent. And the medical care they received was stomach turning.
The story already has a melodramatic feel, and she takes it about three steps too far. Her voice becomes grating, and getting through the story took effort.
I wouldn't read another book by Kate Manning as I just hated this one. Terry Donnelly's voice was good for this book's story but I'm not sure I'd like to listen to it again.
not sure. something more uplifting
It was perfect for the character who "was down and out."
Anger, sadness, fury, disgust
While I knew a bit about the subject matter of this book, it wasn't a book I picked out to read as it was a book club book. The subject matter is difficult, hard to listen to, and downright horrible. I will invest more time and attention before I order another book.
The story of this courageous women is compelling and all consuming. The narration adds to the story and helps paint a picture of what life was like for this Irish immigrate turn notorious abortionist.
I had a hard time getting into the hard copy of the book at the beginning. So I decided to buy the audio book. I'm really happy I did. The story is fantastic. The reading of it was superb. I want to read more by the author hear more by the reader. Great!!
I found "My Notorious Life" very enjoyable and thought provoking. Although I have always been aware of the way women have been treated in history, I believe this amazing piece of historical fiction should be read or listened to by both men & women. As I listened to it during my daily commute to work, I often sat either at my work parking spot or my home driveway waiting for a chapter to finish. I'm definitely going to explore Kate Manning's other novels.
Terry Donnelly's narration is a jewel in itself. Her interpretations of the characters as well as life in the late 1800's and early 1900's are a treasure to behold!
Main character could have been less utterly obnoxious.
It could have been performed by someone else. Unrelenting wavering voice of angst, and for goodness sake what accent was she going for?
The story seems fine, but I can't get past the narrator. She uses the same inflection for every single sentence. That is, she sounds resentful and angry, regardless of context. A reader who varies her expression according to the story might use such a voice to actually sound ominous. I realize the character was angry and scared for the first part of the story (I never got past that part,) but a bit of variation would have made this story bearable for me.
I liked the narrator but the middle third, as others pointed out, was pretty tedious. No big surprises, actually fairly predictable.
I don't think so.
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