It’s 1901, and it’s a new day for women. They have more freedoms, education and opportunities. What women don’t have is the vote, at least in Portland, Oregon. It’s Halloween, the election is coming up, and women are determined to have the vote.
For 17-year-old Olivia Mead, this is an exciting time: she wants to go to college, she wants to experience the world. She wants to be free, not tied down by marriage and responsibility. Unfortunately, her father, the local dentist, is a very controlling, obsessive, traditional man. And he Does Not Like Olivia’s independent streak. So when Henri the hypnotist comes to town, Olivia’s father hires him to hypnotize her “unsuitable thoughts” out of her.
Fortunately, Henri thinks Olivia’s father is despicable. And while he does hypnotize Olivia (because he needs the money to cure his ailing sister), he phrases the words so that Olivia will see the world as it Truly Is. Which means: she sees her father as a demon, covered in blood. The rich socialites are bloodthirsty vampires. Women who don’t support suffrage are slowly turning invisible. And the women who do are glowing from the inside out.
I wanted more of the supernatural aspect of this story, and I wanted it to be real, as opposed to only perceived. But, in the end, I didn’t care about that. I loved the feminist agenda of the book. Olivia’s father was horrible, and the rich socialites were obnoxious and selfish. But Olivia, I loved. I was cheering for her to get out of her situation, to fight for what she believed in, to be Free. And that’s what made the book fantastic for me.
Rated: Mild. There’s an almost-rape scene (she gets away), and her father truly is horrible. But other than that, there’s nothing objectionable.