The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman

Some call the prize ring a nursery for vice…

thefairfightFormat: Paperback
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson London
Published: August 28th 2014
Pages: 436 pages

The Blurb
Born into a brothel, Ruth’s future looks bleak until she catches the eye of Mr Dryer. A rich Bristol merchant and enthusiast of the ring, he trains gutsy Ruth as a pugilist. Soon she rules the blood-spattered sawdust at the infamous Hatchet Inn.

Dryer’s wife Charlotte lives in the shadows. A grieving orphan, she hides away, scarred by smallpox, ignored by Dryer, and engaged in dangerous mind games with her brother.

When Dryer sidelines Ruth after a disastrous fight, and focuses on training her husband Tom, Charlotte presents Ruth with an extraordinary proposition. As the tension mounts before Tom’s Championship fight, two worlds collide with electrifying consequences.

THE FAIR FIGHT will take you from a filthy brothel to the finest houses in the town, from the world of street-fighters to the world of champions. Alive with the smells and the sounds of the streets, it is a raucous, intoxicating tale of courage, reinvention and fighting your way to the top.

Rating: 4/5

The Review
Thanks to Orion Publishing for sending me a copy of The Fair Fight to read and review.

Ruth is born into a Brothel during the times of Victorian London, to some this sounds incredibly crude and unsuitable for a young child, but for Ruth it’s ever so exciting. She sees men come and go, with the ladies of the night entertaining them. One evening she is asked whether she wants to fight and she unexpectedly says yes – it’s time to make some money.

You rarely read a story where the main character is fiery and more so when they’re forced to fight for entertainment. This element was quite exciting and made me like Ruth more and more. I also found it fascinating to read about the nature of boxing before it was regulated, especially with how women were involved.

My my, wasn’t Ruth such a fiesty little thing? She started off being of low importance to a host of people and then emerged into a fighting machine. I liked how she didn’t always win due to her lack of experience, it had a high level of realism. I’m not entirely sure I felt it appropriate to describe Ruth’s encounters with burly men – a sight contradiction considering I like the realism – but still I felt it was too much.

Ruth was the focal point of The Fair Fight novel and I loved hearing all about her life. However, when other character POVs were introduced I found them unnecessary. George and Perry were boarding school boys who formed a sexual relationship that later turned into rivalry (to a degree) and I was less phased about their story because it was rather boring. I would have much preferred to read the full 436 pages all about Ruth. You also hear all about Charlotte and how she is cruelly neglected and treated like dirt. Her story was less boring than George’s, but as mentioned I preferred to read all about Ruth.


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