Pretty much everything here originally appeared at my actual blog: By Singing Light. I particularly focus on upper middle-grade and young adult books. I also enjoy adult genre books, especially speculative fiction.
I knew a bit about Nellie Bly and her trip around the world, but nothing at all about Elizabeth Bisland, plus all the books I’d read about Nellie Bly were children’s biographies. So I was very interested in this adult non-fiction account of their race. Goodman weaves together the two stories nicely, highlighting the contrast between the races and the women’s characters, as well as a few similarities (both were self-made women who had risen from poor origins). His style is occasionally a little digressionary–did we really need the whole history of train travel in the US?–but overall is quite engaging. I did feel that the suggested conclusion at the end (Bly won the race but Bisland had a happier life) seemed a little thin on actual evidence rather than supposition.