Running so hard you think you’ll choke on your next breath. Lungs burning like they’re drenched in battery acid. Peripheral vision blurred by the same adrenaline that drowns out the cheers coming from the full stadium. And of course, the reporters. The men scribbling furiously on their notepads so they can publish every stumble, sprain, and sniffle in these historic games.
This was the world of the female athletes in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, the first games in which women were allowed to compete in track and field (and on a trial basis, at that). Nicknamed “the Peerless Four,” the Canadian track team included some of the strongest and most diversely talented women on the scene. Narrated by the team’s chaperone—a former runner herself—the women embark on their journey with the same golden goals as every other Olympian, male or female. But as the Olympic tension begins to rise with unexpected injuries, heartbreaking disqualifications, and the pressure of supreme athletic performance, each woman discovers new fears and new priorities, all while the weight of women’s future in the Olympics rests on their performance.
THE PEERLESS FOUR is more than a sports novel, more than a record of how far women’s rights have come in the past 75 years. It’s a meditation on sacrifice, loyalty, commitment, perseverance, and the courage to live a true underdog tale.
PRAISE & REVIEWS
“A Fascinating story….Patterson mates genres—sports and period fiction—and the result is surprisingly rich and resonant….the author not only transcends categories but creates something poignant and memorable.”
“Stirring historical fiction and a great choice for book clubs.”
“The Peerless Four is a fascinating exploration of a little known chapter in sports history. With gorgeous, restrained prose and a crystalline eye for detail, Victoria Patterson takes us on a thrilling journey of long odds and unbreakable spirit.”
—Maria Semple, author of Where’d You Go, Bernadette
“The grittiest, booziest, toughest sports novel I’ve read in recent years is written by a woman—about women! In The Peerless Four, Patterson compels and entertains with prose perfectly fitted to this lean, surprising, unsentimental tale of female Olympiads in the late 1920s.”
—Jonathan Evison, author of The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving