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One Glorious Ambition: The Compassionate Crusade of Dorothea Dix, a Novel

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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  • Posted August 22, 2013

    A rather dull character and an ending that left me asking "So..."

    Not up to Ms. Kirkpatrick's usual superior story telling. The character takes on a cause in a time when women were to be seen but not heard. Ms. Kirkpatrick's use of the English language is wonderful and she is so descriptive with her words that you will feel like you are there. But in this book, "there" isn't very interesting.

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  • Posted July 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Dorothea Dix just wants a better life for her family, but the gr

    Dorothea Dix just wants a better life for her family, but the grandmother she turns to for help seems to have other plans, and soon the teenage girl finds herself “standing in the light of luxury” while feeling “she belonged in the shadows.”

    There are so many things for Dolly to learn in Jane Kirkpatrick’s One Glorious Ambition. But Dolly’s own ambitions might not quite match those of the kindly relatives training her. Feeling “like milkweed in a pure pasture,” she stands inches taller than the other girls—taller too than the suitors they’re supposed to attract. But fashion dictates her hair, her clothes and her learning—fashions that the author has beautifully researched and brings to life in her words.

    Readers who’ve never heard of Dorothea Dix will soon find themselves drawn to her, recognizing her importance in the beginning of schools for the poor, and her concern for the mentally ill—“As I am homeless, I will create homes for the insane,” Dorothea declares in one letter. Those who know the history, meanwhile, will delight in a vividly real recreation of time, character and place. And readers interested in the politics of the era will be endlessly fascinated by the author’s depiction of senators, and process.

    Chapters are short and easily read. The writing’s smooth, with convincing dialog and delightful historical detail. And the hand Dolly uses in instructing her students is matched perfectly by the author’s light touch with wise lessons learned. Boston society, politics, Southern slavery, steamers to Liverpool, and a world where women’s choices are seemingly limited to men’s protection, all come to life in this story that spans continents, revives history, and invites both question and thought.

    Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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  • Posted May 8, 2013

    Dorothea's life started out kind of rough with a mom who was not

    Dorothea's life started out kind of rough with a mom who was not there an a father who was abusive. All she wanted was to take care of her brothers but instead she got sent away to live with relatives who would raise her properly. Dorothea found she did not care about courting and such but she wanted to be a teacher but yet again life throws her a curve when she becomes ill and has to quit teaching. Now after a visit to a prison that houses mentally ill people Dorothea decides it is her goal in life to make things better for them. We now begin to follow her life long journey on this quest to make things right for those less fortunate. As with other books I have read by Jane I was drawn in from page one. I had not heard about Dorothea before seeing this book. I read what this book was about and had to have it. Jane does an excellent job in making you feel for the people she writes about and you fall in love with them from the get go. I love anything to do with this time period in history so it made me like it that much better and I flew through the book. This book is so well written that you do not even realize you are reading a biography instead of a historical fiction book. I found myself wanting to go back in time and help Dorothea and just give her a big hug. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review. A big 5 stars on this one.  

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