Something Worth Doing by Jane Kirkpatrick – Book Review and Tour

2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment of the US Constitution, AND it is an election year. It’s the perfect time to read a story about the fight women made to earn the right to vote! Jane Kirkpatrick’s Something Worth Doing is a fictionalized history of the life of early suffragist Abigail Scott Duniway, and one that I will highly recommend.

I was provided a copy of the novel by the Revell via Lone Star Book Blog Tours; all opinions are my own.

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SOMETHING WORTH DOING

A Novel of an Early Suffragist
by
Jane Kirkpatrick

Genre: Christian Historical Fiction 
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: September 1, 2020 
Number of Pages: 336

 Scroll down for the giveaway!

Book cover image for Something Worth Doing

Some things are worth doing—even when the cost is great 

In 1853, Abigail Scott was a nineteen-year-old schoolteacher in Oregon Territory when she married Ben Duniway. Marriage meant giving up on teaching, but Abigail always believed she was meant to be more than a good wife and mother. When Abigail becomes the primary breadwinner for her growing family, what she sees as a working woman appalls her—and prompts her to devote her life to fighting for the rights of women, including the right to vote. 

Based on a true story, Something Worth Doing will resonate with modern women who still grapple with the pull between career and family, finding their place in the public sphere, and dealing with frustrations and prejudices when competing in male-dominated spaces.

PRAISE FOR SOMETHING WORTH DOING:

“I have long admired Jane Kirkpatrick’s rich historical fiction, and Something Worth Doing is well worth reading! Oregonian Abigail Duniway is a vibrant, fiercely passionate, and determined activist who fought for women’s suffrage. Women of today have cause to respect and admire her—as well as the loving, patient, and supportive husband who encouraged her to continue ‘the silent hunt.'” —Francine Rivers, author of Redeeming Love 

“On the trail to Oregon, young Jenny Scott lost her beloved mother and little brother and learned that no matter what, she must persist until she reaches her goal. Remembering her mother’s words—’a woman’s life is so hard’—the young woman who became Abigail Scott Duniway came to understand through observation and experience that law and custom favored men. The author brings alive Abigail’s struggles as frontier wife and mother turned newspaper publisher, prolific writer, and activist in her lifelong battle to win the vote and other rights for women in Oregon and beyond. Jane Kirkpatrick’s story of this persistent, passionate, and bold Oregon icon is indeed Something Worth Doing!” —Susan G. Butruille, author of Women’s Voices from the Oregon Trail, now in a 25th anniversary edition

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Something Worth Doing is a well-researched, detailed fictionalized account of the life of early suffragist Abigail Scott Duniway. While she was an important part of the suffragist movement and someone who worked along side of Susan B Anthony, hers is not a name I’d heard before, so I was grateful for this introduction.

What I Liked

Jane Kirkpatrick’s detailed research is evident in the story, which follows the life of Abigail “Jenny” Scott Duniway’s life. It was an incredibly hard one, peppered with losses and rebounds, difficult pregnancies, and impressive personal successes. She owned her own millinery business, ran her own newspaper, traveled widely unescorted speaking on behalf of the suffrage movement. If her father hadn’t pushed for marriage, I do wonder if she ever would have married, she was such an independent and strong-willed woman.

“But Papa married who he wanted. Men get better choices not because they’re wiser – but because they are men…and because they make the rules. Why is that?”

Something Worth Doing also does an excellent job of putting us in that period of time, and illustrating the difficulties women faced. Among these were complications with owning property, maintaining child custody in a divorce, marriage decisions, and really, making any decisions on their own. It was easy to see how at the time a very fine line separated women from chattel, and how all of it drove Abigail’s efforts. It also does an excellent job showing just how long and arduous a path it was to accomplishing their goal.

One aspect of the story that I found both interesting and educational was how the suffrage fight on the West coast was different from that of Susan B Anthony and her peers on the East coast. While the East coast marched, protested, and were very vocal, the West coast preferred the “still hunt” . Abigail was adamant that they fight the fight in their own way.

“We Oregonians favor the still hunt, pressing prominent legislative men to bring the vote to the people, without flamboyance or efforts that might suggest we’d neglect our duties as wives and mothers.”

In the Pacific Northwest, suffragists took a more deliberate, careful road to voting rights, and it was easy to imagine how stressful maintaining a balance could be. I could feel their frustration.

I can’t honestly say I always liked Abigail. But in fairness, she is often described as shrill by others, and she herself admits that she can be blunt, and that her sister’s touch is needed to soften her writings.

The book tries to show Abigail’s vulnerabilities – her wish for more support and involvement from her husband Ben (more than once does he make decisions without consulting her), her feelings of disappointment and abandonment as some of her family members move away, etc. However, as the author also doesn’t sugarcoat Scott Duniway’s choices and her justifications, I found it difficult to connect and empathize with her on a personal level. (I felt she made a lot of decisions without consulting her husband, also.)

While I admired the work that she did, I found it difficult to connect with her character, particularly as she grew older.

Overall

Something Worth Doing is a highly detailed, thoughtful account of the life of Abigail Scott Duniway and the trials she endured. It was a fascinating look into how far we’ve come as women and our rights, and left me grateful for these pioneering suffragists who started us on the long path to women’s rights.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Promo Image for Something Worth Doing that reads "Done Make excuses. Hook your corset and stand tall."

Image of Jane Kirkpatrick, author of Something Worth Doing

Jane Kirkpatrick is the New York Times and CBA bestselling and award-winning author of more than thirty books, including One More River to CrossEverything She Didn’t SayAll Together in One PlaceA Light in the WildernessThe Memory WeaverThis Road We Traveled, and A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. 

Her works have won the WILLA Literary Award, the Carol Award for Historical Fiction, and the 2016 Will Rogers Gold Medallion Award. Jane divides her time between Central Oregon and California with her husband, Jerry, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Caesar.

  Website  |  Bookbub  |  Facebook 
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GIVEAWAY!

THREE WINNERS!
1st: 
Copy of Something Worth Doing + Oregon Map Bag + $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card;

2nd and 3rd:
Copy of Something Worth Doing + $10 Barnes and Noble Gift Card. 

SEPTEMBER 15-25, 2020 
(US ONLY)

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FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY, 
or visit the blogs directly:

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9/22/20BONUS PostAll the Ups and Downs
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9/24/20BONUS ReviewThe Clueless Gent
9/24/20ReviewMissus Gonzo
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Comments

  1. This sounds like a good book to give a new perspective and good reminder of how good we have it, even if there’s still a long way to go. Thanks for a great review.

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