The Lady Actress
By Kelly S. Taylor Ph.D.
Wapshott Press (2009)
Paperback, 254 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible
Anna Cora Ogden Mowatt Ritchie (1819-1870) was an American actress, author, poetess, and many other professions, but she was also a lady. The first part of this book provides a brief biography of this amazing Victorian era woman, while the remainder of the book details how she challenged the restrictions placed on women of her time, without losing respect or her place in society.
While the main text is fairly well written, and consistently interesting, some of the transitions between Mrs. Taylor's text and excerpts of Mrs. Mowatt-Ritchie's text are not as smooth as could be desired, yet those transitions were not jarring enough to dissuade an interested reader from continuing. This is one book I had a very hard time putting down. It has made me want to locate copies of Mrs. Mowatt-Ritchie's works to read for myself.
The book is annotated and each notation is numbered in sequence per chapter. In other words, at the beginning of each chapter, notes are numbered from one (1) and continue in sequence until that chapter ends. Notes in the next chapter begin again at the number 1. That's a fine, understandable scheme, but is not strictly follwed in the notes section that appears at the end of the book. Notes for chapter two are numbered within that chapter from the number one, as described above, but, at the back of the book, the numbers of chapter two's notes continue in sequence from the end of chapter 1... so they are numbered from 33 thru 64; which creates a minor bit of confusion when/if one consults the notes during or after reading the main book.
After the notes, there is a 9 page Selected Bibliograpy and three appendices containing a timeline of significant events during the life of the actress and a list of her famous contemporaries, such as Edgar Allan Poe, P.T. Barnum, Louisa May Alcott, and others. These are the type of extra material I always love finding in a non-fiction book. I found the depth of the research interesting and hope to be able to read some of the books referenced in the aforementioned bibliograpy to learn more about the amazing subject of this biography.
This book was received free from the publisher in exchange for this review, and no financial compensation was received by this reviewer. The review is simultaneously being published on Dragon Views, LibraryThing, Amazon.com and anywhere else this reviewer deems appropriate.