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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Anne O. Faulk's first novel, Holding Out, suggests that despite the many advances as women have made in the last few decades, sometimes the best path to achieving equality is to look back centuries and add a modern twist.
Holding Out begins when the wife of Lawrence Underwood, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, commits suicide as a result of 16 years of physical abuse at the hands of her own husband. The male-dominated Congress refuses to impeach the Chief Justice over the charges, and women across the country are outraged.
Lauren Fontaine, a 36-year-old high-powered executive and single mom, has always felt strongly about women's rights, but like many women, she has chosen to participate in the movement from the sidelines. But when Lauren hears of a march on Washington, she surprises her 16-year-old son, Razz, her longtime housekeeper, Elizabeth, and even herself, and chooses to join the ranks of those women willing to take action.
When Lauren arrives in Washington, she finds herself meeting with a group of feminist leaders who are clamoring for a radical idea that will rally the forces. Taking a cue from Lysistrata, Lauren half-jokingly suggests the solution found in Aristophanes' play, which she coincidentally heard only a few days before: withhold sex from all men until they give in to women's demands.
The sex strike makes Lauren an instant celebrity, forcing her to come to terms with the reactions of those she cares about and those she doesn't know, all the while watching the business she's worked so hard to build unravel in front ofhereyes.
In Holding Out, Faulk draws on her own experiences as a single mother and a high-powered executive and consultant and is able to keep a realistic perspective as well as a wry sense of humor as she addresses real issues that can easily be blown out of proportion in today's complicated world. Faulk's lead character confronts spousal abuse, gender inequality, and media exploitation, and the resolutions are not pat and simplistic, but inspiring and powerful.