A gripping and illuminating window into life in the Old West, Prospects of a Woman tells the story of one woman's passionate quest to carve out a place for herself in the liberal and bewildering society that emerged during the California gold rush frenzy.
Elisabeth Parker comes to California from Massachusetts in 1849 with her new husband, Nate, but soon realizes he's not the man she thought. As Nate struggles with his sexuality, Elisabeth is forced to confront her preconceived notions of family, love, and opportunity. She finds comfort in corresponding with her childhood friend back home, writer Louisa May Alcott, and spending time in the company of a mysterious Californio. Armed with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance, she sets out to determine her role in building the West, even as she comes to terms with the sacrifices she must make to achieve independence and happiness.
“Prospects of a Woman is a fascinating, complex, dark, and beautiful novel of women and sexuality on the frontier of the California gold strike days.”―Douglas Glover, award-winning author of Elle
“Prospects of a Woman is a riveting read about a woman who comes to California during the Gold Rush determined to escape societal constraints, find love, and strike it rich. As a woman in a man’s world, she faces innumerable challenges but manages to rise above them. This is a bold, rollicking, and satisfying tale, one that is hard to put down.”
―Frances Dinkelspiel, award-winning journalist and author of the best-selling books Tangled Vines and Towers of Gold
“Prospects of a Woman may be set in 1850s California but its stalwart lead, Elisabeth Parker, is a heroine for our times. She forges her way through an inhospitable world of men, determined to live independently and find a love that will be her very own. Wendy Voorsanger has created a character so charged with imagination and spirit she will lay claim to the hearts of all her readers."
--Sophfronia Scott, author of Unforgivable Love and All I Need to Get By”
“Prospects of a Woman is thoughtful and thrilling. The landscape of California―the rough-scrabble mining towns, the wildness of the river and woods―sings on every page.”
―Alex Myers, author of Revolutionary and Divide
“I loved this surprisingly feminist story of Gold Rush–era California! Elisabeth Parker is a heroine to fall in love with―plucky, sensuous, courageous, and clear-eyed. It is a rare and unusual pleasure to―finally―have a narrative of the Gold Rush told from a woman’s point of view.”
―Janis Cooke Newman, author of Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln