Tuesday, November 4, 2014

True Stories Blog Tour: Alice + Freda Forever by Alexis Coe

Alice + Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis
by Alexis Coe
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Published by Pulp/Zest Books
Pages: 224
Source: Publisher
Purchase Amazon / B&N / Indiebound 

from Goodreads

 In 1892, America was obsessed with a teenage murderess, but it wasn't her crime that shocked the nation—it was her motivation. Nineteen-year-old Alice Mitchell had planned to pass as a man in order to marry her seventeen-year-old fiancée Freda Ward, but when their love letters were discovered, they were forbidden from ever speaking again.

Freda adjusted to this fate with an ease that stunned a heartbroken Alice. Her desperation grew with each unanswered letter—and her father’s razor soon went missing. On January 25, Alice publicly slashed her ex-fiancée’s throat. Her same-sex love was deemed insane by her father that very night, and medical experts agreed: This was a dangerous and incurable perversion. As the courtroom was expanded to accommodate national interest, Alice spent months in jail—including the night that three of her fellow prisoners were lynched (an event which captured the attention of journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells). After a jury of "the finest men in Memphis" declared Alice insane, she was remanded to an asylum, where she died under mysterious circumstances just a few years later.

Alice + Freda Forever recounts this tragic, real-life love story with over 100 illustrated love letters, maps, artifacts, historical documents, newspaper articles, courtroom proceedings, and intimate, domestic scenes—painting a vivid picture of a sadly familiar world.

My Thoughts 

Alice + Freda Forever is a fascinating and compelling read. Alexis Coe, through her research and presentation, captures the cultural climate of the time, as she shares the story of Alice Mitchell and Freda Ward.

I enjoyed how the story is presented through narrative, images, and letters. The Introduction was most helpful to explain Coe's motivation and intent for sharing their story. It is more than just a love story gone wrong. It takes a look at the aftermath of an unfathomable situation.

The media sensationalism of 1892 could be compared to the methods of reporting the news of today presenting whatever makes a good story regardless to the amount of truth that exists. She also reflects on the science of the time when not much clinical science is involved. I am amazed (although I shouldn't be) how much of "fact" was actually speculative opinion. 

What I was most surprised about their story was how much of it wasn't actually their story, but it is story about public perception, political and personal motivation. Even with all of the newspaper articles, letters, recounted stories, so much about Alice and Freda still remains a mystery. Readers interested in gender studies, history, true crime stories, and even folklore will want to read this book.

Disclaimer:  I received this promotional finished copy from Zest Books  in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any way other than the book provided. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

hosted by Zest Books

 As part of the True Stories Blog Tour, I am giving away a copy of Alice + Freda Forever.

Giveaway Details
Prize donated by Zest Books
Must be 16 years or Older to enter
U.S. addresses only
To enter, fill out Rafflecopter below
Giveaway ends November 11, 2014 

If I cannot verify an entry, that entry will not count.

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