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The Nightmare: A Mystery with Mary Wollstonecraft    by Nancy Means Wright order for
by Nancy Means Wright
Order:  USA  Can
Perseverance Press, 2011 (2011)
Softcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

After Mary Wollstonecraft is dismissed from her post as governess in Ireland in 1792, she returns to London with fire in her eye and determination to further the cause of women in the world. She is distressed over the treatment of women and writes of this in her publication Vindication of the Rights of Women.

This places her in the circle of bluestockings – celebrated women artists and intellectuals. Mary still finds men less accepting of women than she thinks they should be. And thus she becomes a bone of contention.

When an erotic painting is found to be missing from a gallery, Mary cannot believe the young man accused of taking it is really guilty. He disappears into Newgate, the notorious prison.

A friend of Mary's is brutally murdered and a note left with her body reading 'Bluestockings Beware'. As Mary and the accused man's fiancée search for him, they approach a madhouse where dogs guard the premises.

It seems that whatever could go wrong, does. The plot of The Nightmare rests on Mary Wollstonecraft's shoulders and she carries it well. Mary did indeed exist at the period of time of this story. As did the numerous writers and artists whose names are dropped. Many of the principal characters are fictitious, but fit right into the storyline.

I enjoyed the settings as well as the depictions of the streets of London, all the while giving thanks that I do not live in that time. The rebels were gaining the upper hand in France and red was the accepted color to show solidarity. But red stockings? The Nightmare is a thoroughly entertaining book that offers a glimpse of the life and times of a woman whose name still lives on.

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