I admit that although I may not judge a book by its cover, I’m a pushover for a book that just begs to be at least opened. Miss Fuller was included on list of new books to review and, based on the blurb and a picture of the book with its striking cover, I requested a copy, with no guarantee to review. I didn’t even recognize the envelope it arrived in as possibly containing a book, but it did and out slid this wonderful 5 x 7 inch beauty with a modest thickness of 192 pages.

Miss Fuller is one of those increasingly rare books that just feels good – no, better than good, it feels right when held in your hand. Sometimes a book is so beautifully made (even in paperback) that you immediately know how much the publisher values what you are about to read. So before even talking about the book, which Ann Ronald has already expertly done, I have to talk about its publisher, Steerforth Press. And what’s not to like about its name? If you choose not to click onto their link, I’ll just share Steerforth’s Manifesto: “Our interests fall into no category, no field, no niche; our tests of a book’s worth are whether it has been written well, is intended to engage the full attention of the reader, and has something new or important to say.” This is a publisher who’s not afraid to gain your trust.

Now, to Miss Fuller, a woman whose name is known to those who have a strong background in 19th century American writing, thinking, and women’s rights. Thanks to April Bernard, Miss Fuller is now fully ensconced in my rapidly improving knowledge of American literary history. Bernard’s writing is as compact and original as the book which holds her story. That Bernard is also a poet will come as no surprise early into the book.

So this is my blog to encourage you to look at what the small independent presses are publishing. The adage about not being able to tell a book by its cover is not always true, and certainly not where Miss Fuller is concerned.  -s.s.

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