Book: A Lady of High Regard
Author: Tracie Peterson
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian
This was a good book, the plot was gripping and the descriptions of life among high society were a delight to read about. The main focus was Mia Stanley, the headstrong, intelligent, and courageous daughter of a wealthy family. I identified easily with Mia, and the other characters were convincingly portrayed as authentic individuals. The plot, based on historical fact, kept me very interested. As Mia got more concerned with and involved in helping alleviate the plight of the seamen’s wives and children of Philadelphia’s seaports, the whole story drew me into the world of contrasts between the impoverished and the elite, the ensnared and the free. I think what most readers who criticized this book were missing was the historical significance of the story! Mia worked as a writer for Godey’s Lady’s Book, which was one of the most widely read, sought after and popular magazines of the decade! (Don’t people know about history any more?) Sarah Josepha Hale was Mia’s boss, and in real life she was an influential writer and the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book. She advocated education for women, and helped to establish Vassar College, among other accomplishments, not to mention she was the individual most responsible for making Thanksgiving a national holiday in the United States. The plight of the families of the dockworkers and seamen’s wives and children was very real in history at that time, too. Alcoholism, infanticide, child slavery, prostitution, gangs, and a host of other crimes was rampant in Philadelphia’s seaports in the mid-1800s. Again, most readers who criticized this book missed the main stories of this book, and that is the depiction of a small part of the REAL history of Philadelphia in the 1800s. I was also thrilled to see how skillfully Mrs. Peterson wove the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Christian principles into the story. This was a first-rate historical fiction novel.