96/100 (9.6 out of 10)
Consider the following: High inflation, a viral outbreak that prompts widespread vaccination, concerns about civil liberties, and a red-clad army poised to invade and reclaim a former territory. This isn't the 2020s, this is the 1770s!
At the time, the high inflation was partly the result of British economic pressure on the American colonies, the viral outbreak came in the form of smallpox, the concerns for civil liberties involved such things as women's rights to property and also slavery, and the red-clad army was sent to the American colonies by Great Britain. All us history buffs think we know the story: George Washington was a mega-general with the mandate of heaven, Benjamin Franklin was a genius mega-diplomat, John Hancock had a mega-awesome-signature, Samuel Adams was a mega-brewer-of-beer (or something like that), and John Adams was a mega-lawyer. But was it all that simple? What about the women who equally made the revolution and the birth of our nation possible?
What about women like Abigail Adams?
In this exhaustive biographical book “Wild Colts Make the Best Horses” we follow the real-life life story of Abigail Adams, the wife of second US president John Adams and sixth US president John Quincy Adams. This effectively makes Abigail Adams one of the “Founding Mothers” of the United States of America. While “Abigail Adams, Founding Mother of the United States” would've been a great title, “Wild Colts Make the Best Horses” reflects the words of Abigail's grandmother, who believed that positive things could come from Abigail's eccentricities (by the day's standards). There's an almost Charlotte Bronte-esque protagonist vibe with Abigail. Not to oversimplify a very deep and interesting real-life character, but she's a proto-feminist with a passionate romantic flare and revolutionary ideas (literally). And she's a lot more than that. She's a great mother to children who are constantly without a father (essentially acting as a single mother), a faithful wife to a husband who is almost always gone, and a great friend/neighbor who cares so much for community that she evil takes some of her family's food rations to the poor.
For a historical biography, this book is actually very exciting and interesting to read. See, back in the 1700s, when you said you were taking a trip to France or the Netherlands, it wasn't just going to be a several-day trip with a long flight and a few tourist stops. No, you were going by sea, and the stone cold Atlantic Ocean was the canvas for your perilous odyssey. You might lose a crew mate or two or six on the journey, or a limb or two. You might even lose your life. There were pirates, sudden storms, freak sea conditions, extreme cold, lightning bolts out of nowhere, and enemies who'd love to ransom or hang you. The existence of these enemies sometimes even necessitate throwing your valuable outgoing mail overboard to avoid their capture, leaving your loved ones without word from you for months. Speaking of the 1700s, there were no e-mails, text messages, or even FedEx, so whether or not your loved ones even got your messages was pretty much up to chance. Another thing that really stunk about the 1700s is that you had far fewer rights than you do in America today, especially if you were a woman, Black, or Native American. A woman had no rights to vote or to property. And Abigail was not silent about women's rights, talking about them frequently in her correspondence. Interesting, she and John Adams actually discussed the evils of slavery frequently and often wished it would no longer become a part of the new nation.
Bravo to the author for the amount of time and energy she put into researching, writing, editing, and re-writing the beautiful monster of a book. It's as thorough as thorough can get, and no editorial review is going to do it justice. If only we could live as full and meaningful a life as Abigail did all those hundreds of years ago! But it's unenviable as well, and we can count our blessings that we were not in her shoes at the time. We can only look at the things we endured as readers along for a ride with a protagonist taking the hits. That's not to say it can't be heartbreaking at times, with Abigail enduring several major losses in her life and perpetually being without her husband.
For those of you who love historical romances, this could really be up your alley. We've spent more time than we'd like to admit researching the relationship of Napoleon and Josephine for example, so this really gives us the feels.
Something else that's admirable about Abigail is her unwavering, undying faith. She always trusts God no matter what terrible circumstances come up, and more often than not she wins out in the end. God sees her through. It's kinda Count of Monte Cristo-esque in that sense. How fascinating to think what America would've been like without Abigail, her husband, her son, and her ideas!
Get “Wild Colts Make the Best Horses” on Amazon today!