I received a review copy
The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell, by William Klaber, is a biographical fiction novel based on the historical figure of Lucy Ann Lobdell. In this novel, taking place in the late 19th century, Klaber recounts the life of Lucy Lobdell; from her failed relationship with her husband and family and her constant fight with society’s rules. After being pressured to remarry, Lucy decides to refuse the only paths open to a woman at the time, and flees her hometown disguised as a man. What starts out as a means to make money to provide for her daughter, in the hope of the two eventually being reunited, turns into a much longer journey as Lucy enjoys the freedom of being a man, but is confused and conflicted at her own identity, femininity, religion, and sexual orientation. She beings by telling others that she is Joseph Lobdell, an instructor of dance; but learns quickly that the masquerade she is attempting is no easy task. Lucy/Joseph finds themselves continuing down this road from the west hills of Minnesota and back again to her home state of Delaware. Along the way Lucy becomes friends with many who respect her wishes, while at the same time finding herself shunned and mistreated for being something other than expected of her.
Now whether or not one agrees with the choices of the main character; this book is extremely well written and impossible to put down. Klaber has a true gift of storytelling as he is able to capture a voice that is confident, confused, conflicted; in all essence any human being trying to discover who they are and how that relates to what they have been instructed to be. Klaber truly brings his characters alive, as every page leaves you hungering for more and wondering what will happen next. As Klaber writes in his epilogue, there are many facts missing from Lucy/Jospeh’s life and we will never discover what they did or how they felt in those moments. However, Klaber does an amazing job of filling in the blanks, along with knowing when to stop and leave the unknown up to the reader to theorize what occurred.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and would have to rate it four out of five stars.