The author, Peter Zheutlin, is the great-grandnephew of the main character, Annie Londonderry.
The book attempts to chronicle Londonderry's bicycle trip around the world by sifting through fact and fiction.
Annie Londonderry with her Columbia bike by the Crown Studio, Boston, MA
Londonderry claimed this journey was set in motion by a wager between two Boston businessmen. The challenge was to circle the globe by bicycle in 15 months while earning $5,000 along the way.
Zheutlin places a great deal of emphasis on Londonderry's ability to forge a unique identity amidst the Victorian notion of female propriety.
The author also draws parallels to the rising popularity of the bicycle among women and the fight for equality. In the book, Susan B. Anthony was quoted in a newspaper as saying 'bicycling had done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world'.
To earn money, Londonderry sold photographs of herself, made appearances, and rented advertisement space on her bike and clothing. She also acquired money through sponsorships.
Advertisement for Londonderry Lithia Spring Water Company
In this regard, she could be purported to have been the first sponsored female athlete.
According to Zheutlin, Londonderry 'never let the facts stand in the way of a good story' and the timeline of her journey was riddled with inconsistencies and improbabilities.
The book was certainly a fascinating read but certain passages became tiresome as the author repeatedly insisted on pointing out Londonderry's propensity for telling tall tales and her uncanny ability to charm and influence people.