Censored Angel

Forgotten Women Book 2

Fiction - Historical - Personage
342 Pages
Reviewed on 09/06/2023
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Censored Angel is a work of fiction in the historical, women’s, and interpersonal drama subgenres, and it forms the second standalone novel in the Forgotten Women book series. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience and was penned by author Joan Koster. This eye-opening historical novel is based on a true story, and it takes readers on a journey through the life of Ida, a brilliant and corseted young woman who defies the suffocating constraints of Victorian society. Ida's path leads her to become a mystic marriage counselor, teaching women about the joys of love and challenging societal norms. However, her bold endeavors draw the ire of Anthony Comstock, the Anti-Obscenity Postal Inspector, who is determined to silence her forever.

Author Joan Koster has crafted a compelling and atmospheric work of historical fiction that is also a thought-provoking and inspiring experience. Her clever weaving of detail, attitude, and sociocultural factors into the plot shed light on the struggles and triumphs of forgotten women who dared to defy conventions and fight for their beliefs in a time of oppressive moral standards. Koster's close narrative skill and flair for authentic dialogue bring Ida's remarkable journey to life, and this serves as a reminder of the power of resilience and determination in the face of adversity. Overall, Censored Angel is a work that entertains just as much as it educates, making it a valuable addition to historical fiction, and one that I would highly recommend to eager women’s fiction readers and historians alike.

Stephanie Chapman

Joan Koster’s Censored Angel: Forgotten Women Book 2 is based on actual events. The book is divided into four parts. Part one chronicles Ida Craddock’s disinterest in marriage. She had heard about the horror her teacher Annie Shoemaker experienced during sexual intercourse. The second part shows Ida finding others who wished to learn more about women experiencing pleasure. She researches several books, attends lectures, and moves to San Francisco. The third part shows Ida focusing on summoning Soph, whom she claimed to be her spiritual husband and who brought her pleasure. She becomes active in marriage reform and the Free Love movement. The final part of the story sees Ida facing Anthony Comstock in court. She is charged with spreading obscene information through pamphlets and teaching other women about sex. Ida fights against both the Comstock Act and her mother’s insistence that she is insane.

Joan Koster’s research of the journals, newspapers, and court documents allowed for the full story of Ida Craddock’s struggle to be heard in Censored Angel. Her mother, Lizzie Craddock, was a hypocrite. She raised her daughter to believe that a husband controls everything and a woman must suffer in marriage, yet she was married to three men and owned an apothecary shop. Many of Ida’s problems were the result of Lizzie’s interference in her life. The supporting characters added to Ida’s experience. I felt Katie was the only person who understood Ida. She was supportive and never turned her back on Ida. The excerpts at the beginning of each chapter from Anthony Comstock and Ida were enlightening. The end of the book made me reflect on the amount of freedom that I experience today. Access to books, internet articles, and marriage counselors is now taken for granted. Ida personifies a time that did not allow women to be heard.

Jamie Michele

Censored Angel by Joan Koster is a fictional story revolving around a real-life, clever, and courageous young woman who defied convention to become an atypical marriage counselor, despite the deeply restrictive social and legal decrees of the Victorian era. Ida Celanire Craddock's advocacy of free love and free thought put her in a direct fight with Anthony Comstock, the Anti-Obscenity Postal Inspector. It also puts her at odds with the one person in life that we should always be able to count on for support: her own mother. Ida pushes forward, researching international literature and ultimately writing her own while providing sexual counseling to women and married couples. Repeatedly threatened, Ida's dedication is rocked but remains steadfast as the walls close in and the reality she faces of being institutionalized or forced into prison is constantly present.

Censored Angel is the second book in Joan Koster's Forgotten Women series, and I do feel like the world has indeed forgotten about Ida Celanire Craddock. I grew up in an extremely liberal family in the city of San Francisco, and I'd never heard of her. Now I have, and I am so grateful. Koster's writing is exceptionally well done, and I really liked the mystical elements that are employed. I can see how Ida would be completely ostracized for having an otherworldly partner, and Koster does not continue this injustice in the writing of her book. Ida is a fully fleshed and vibrantly written character, and her dialogue feels authentic. It is heartbreaking to see her diminished to an immoral, hypersexual deviant in the eyes of many. There is a scene where she is cruelly threatened by a man posing as a patient, and in my mind, I imagined that could be any doctor at any time in any room. Koster makes the point universal, and it is terrifyingly honest. Still, there remains good in the world, and as her next patient says, "I so admire brave women. So do I. Very highly recommended.