Fierce Convictions by Karen Swallow Prior is a marvelous biography of an almost unknown woman in our history. Hannah More, a British woman born during the mid 1700’s to rather humble beginnings, she grew up with four other sisters to become, like the Bronte sisters, teachers of their own school for young ladies. From teacher to poet to playwright, Hannah More was a devout Christian yet still a major part of what was called the Bluestocking Circle during the later part of the century. Celebrated author, she was part of this elite group of the poets and thinkers of the time. For a while Hannah More was the new darling of the group until the loss of a close friend edged her away from society. At this same time, the subject of the abolition of slavery came to her interest. She was fortunate to live long enough to see slavery abolished, but over the years her name became tarnished due to new ways of thinking regarding how a woman should act and believe. It is this reason we no longer know much about this remarkable woman.
This is a marvelous biography filled with all kinds of information I never knew and was never taught. I love reading how people are connected and through my various other readings, the name Horace Walpole has come to my attention, a man Hannah was good friends with. I really enjoyed reading this book, but my one complaint would be, it’s long. Not in actual thickness, but more in style. There is a lot of information compressed into this book and it’s not what I would call a fast read. That being said, Ms. Prior’s style is enjoyable to read and I am so glad that I decided to try out this book about an unknown person quite important within our history. If you like biographies, get it. If you want to read about a woman most of us never knew about, then I also recommend this. I would give it easily 4 out of 5 stars.