Monday, March 2, 2020

Review: Her Quiet Revolution by Marianne Monson

Her Quiet Revolution: A Novel of Martha Hughes Cannon:
Frontier Doctor and First Female State Senator by Marianne Monson

Book Description:

When her baby sister and her father die on the pioneer trail to Salt Lake City, Mattie is determined to become a healer. But her chosen road isn’t an easy one as she faces roadblocks common to Victorian women. Fighting gender bias, geographic location, and mountains of self-doubt, Mattie pushed herself to become more than the world would have her be, only to have everything she’s accomplished called into question when she meets the love of her life: Angus Cannon, a prominent Mormon leader and polygamist.

From the American Frontier to European coasts, Martha’s path takes her on a life journey that is almost stranger than fiction as she learns to navigate a world run by men. But heartache isn’t far behind, and she learns that knowing who you are and being willing to stand up for what you believe in is what truly defines a person.

Her Quiet Revolution is the story of one woman’s determination to change her world, and the path she forged for others to follow.


Martha Hughes Cannon lived a fascinating life. I’m surprise that I don’t recall having learned about her before as there is so much that stands out-one of the first female doctors in Utah, a player in women’s suffrage, exiled as a polygamous wife, and the first female State Senator to name a few things.

The chapter notes at the end of the book said that Mattie requested that her journals be burned at her death. I am so curious about how she felt about her very unusual situation in a polygamous marriage. The secrecy and legal issues that caused her to flee the country with her baby seemed like ample cause to move on. I would have loved to have more information about why she stuck with Angus (although the book only mentioned rare occasions that they were together-for awhile I thought he’d abandoned her and their daughter, but then there was mention of her still being his wife and more children).

There were gaps and some of the transitions between events was choppy. I felt a little lost at times. Parts of the story seemed to drag on while other parts left off without closure. That said, it really was eye opening to learn about this amazing woman. She really went against the norm of her time in getting an education and becoming a doctor. She continued her education in oration, and made a big difference in women’s suffrage and in public health.

About the Author:

Marianne Monson received her MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and primarily writes on topics related to women’s history. She has taught English and Creative Writing at the community college and university levels and is the author of eleven books for children and adults. She is the founder of The Writer’s Guild, a literary nonprofit, and writes from a 100-year-old house in Astoria, Oregon.

Title: Her Quiet Revolution
Author: Marianne Monson
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Published: February 2020
ISBN: 1629726095

Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book

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