Book Talk: The Wrong Kind of Woman: A Novel by Sarah McCraw Crow

“A glorious debut filled with characters grasping to find a place to belong in a world on the edge of change.”

―Carol Rifka Brunt, New York Times bestselling author of Tell the Wolves I’m Home

About the Book

A powerful exploration of what a woman can be when what she should be is no longer an option.

In late 1970, Oliver Desmarais drops dead in his front yard while hanging Christmas lights. In the year that follows, his widow, Virginia, struggles to find her place on the campus of the elite New Hampshire men’s college where Oliver was a professor.

While Virginia had always shared her husband’s prejudices against the four outspoken, never-married women on the faculty—dubbed the Gang of Four by their male counterparts—she now finds herself depending on them, even joining their work to bring the women’s movement to Clarendon College.

Soon, though, reports of violent protests across the country reach this sleepy New England town, stirring tensions between the fraternal establishment of Clarendon and those calling for change. As authorities attempt to tamp down “radical elements,” Virginia must decide whether she’s willing to put herself and her family at risk for a cause that had never felt like her own.

Told through alternating perspectives, The Wrong Kind of Woman is an engrossing story about finding the strength to forge new paths, beautifully woven against the rapid changes of the early ’70s.

Reviews & What Readers Say

“ McCraw Crow deftly navigates the campus and national politics of the ’70s in a way that remains timely and pressing today. A powerful, thought-provoking debut.”

―Amy Meyerson, Nationally bestselling author of The Bookshop of Yesterdays

“ In her entrancing debut, McCraw Crow traces the impact of second-wave feminism and the antiwar movement in the early 1970s on a New Hampshire college campus. . . . The choice to present the characters’ desperate actions in shades of gray makes for engrossing reading."

Publishers Weekly

“ Sarah McCraw Crow's writing is layered with so much insight and compassion. A glorious debut filled with characters grasping to find a place to belong in a world on the edge of change."

Carol Rifka Brunt, New York Times bestselling author of Tell the Wolves I’m Home

" With equal parts shrewdness, wisdom, and warmth, Sarah McCraw Crow’s debut novel brings a canny eye to a forever lively moment in U.S. history. Like Marilyn French and Erica Jong before her, Crow lets her cast of characters speak to and for its readers about their mom’s, their dad’s, and their own enactment of the 1970's wave of what once was, still is, and will surely again be called The Women’s Movement. Graceful, solid, and beautifully rendered, The Wrong Kind of Woman is exactly the right kind of book for all of us."

Abby Frucht, author of Maids

Missionaries: A Novel by Phil Klay


320 pages

ISBN 978-0778310075

Note: Now available. Click here

Sarah McCraw Crow grew up in Virginia but has lived most of her adult life in New Hampshire. Her short fiction has run in Calyx, Crab Orchard Review, Good Housekeeping, So to Speak, Waccamaw, and Stanford Alumni Magazine. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Stanford University, and is finishing an MFA degree at Vermont College of Fine Arts. When she's not reading or writing, she's probably gardening or snowshoeing (depending on the weather).

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