It’s 1912, and Helen Fox is a factory worker living in New York’s tenements. When tragedy strikes in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, Helen is seduced by the Suffragist cause and is soon immersed, working alongside famous activist
As Helen’s involvement with the cause deepens, she encounters myriad sources of tension that test her perseverance: estrangement from her husband, who is blindsided by his wife’s sudden activism; ostracization by neighbors; unease at working side by side with wealthier suffragettes; and worry about her children as she leaves them to picket the White House in Washington.
The narrative spans World War One and concludes with the triumph of 1919. In a time when the obstacles for women, from any background, were insurmountable, Helen discovers her voice as an independent woman and dreams of equality in a male-dominated society.
This is gritty historical fiction set in a time when women had few rights, and their fight for the right to vote would get dirty and even bloody. The protagonist, Helen, is a poor housewife in New York City who also has to work and eke out a meager existence for her family. She has just lost her daughter in a factory fire and her whole family is hurting. She stumbles into a job with the Suffragettes, who are fighting for the right to vote for women. Her husband’s actions puzzle me throughout the book. He is a piece of work who is supposed to love her deeply, but 21st Century women will probably not see any evidence of that. He stands as a symbol for what the average man thought and did at that time. Helen’s actions show tremendous growth throughout this book, but not as much growth as I would have wished. That being said, I think that this is a very real depiction of what life would have been like for women of that time period, and although I would have liked Helen to stand up to her husband more, that is probably not realistic. Women of that time period were treated like property, and it did not change overnight.
The description of the protest in Washington DC and what happened afterward is as realistic as it is horrifying. The Accidental Suffragist is the very definition of real historical fiction. This is no fairy tale. This book is about the suffering and subjugation of women in American in and prior to the early 20th Century, and the blowback, indignation, and violence that resulted from their fight to rise above it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
About the Author:
Widely quoted in The New York Times and more, Galia Gichon spent nearly ten years writing financial research for top investment banks before launching Down-to-Earth Finance, a top personal financial advising firm in New York.
Galia is the author of My Money Matters, a personal finance book which received notable press from the New York Times, TODAY Show, CNN, Newsweek, Real Simple and more. Galia Gichon consistently leads seminars for Barnard College where she has taught for 13 years, and other organizations. She is an avid angel investor focusing on women-led and impact startups and actively counsels startups through accelerators.
The father you never knew, has left behind a heartbreaking secret…
June Westwood is devastated by the news the father she never met has died. Now the truth about why Jasper abandoned her as a child will be buried forever. Escaping to the secluded beach house she’s inherited, June hopes to spend time bonding with her two little daughters, away from her hectic job and failing marriage.
On the wild shores of the Pacific Northwest, her father’s hideaway leaves June breathless. But it’s his oil paintings decorating every wall that surprise her most. How could someone paint other people so beautifully, but reject those closest to him? And why is every drawer in her father’s workshop locked? June hopes her new neighbor—her father’s apprentice Caleb—will provide the answers. But Caleb won’t talk about the past.
Then, hidden in her father’s workshop, June discovers a box of newspaper clippings that reveal the shocking reason why her father left years ago—and uncovers Caleb’s own devastating secret…
When her old life comes calling, June has an impossible decision to make. Unsure what’s best for her girls, and if she can trust Caleb, will digging deeper into her father’s dark past heal or destroy her precious family?
An absolutely heartbreaking and emotional page-turner about the incredible strength of family bonds, how we can hurt those closest to us, and the healing power of love. Fans of Diane Chamberlain, Kerry Lonsdale and Kerry Fisher will devour this powerful read from award-winning author Melissa Wiesner.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Author Bio: Melissa Wiesner is a night-owl who began writing novels about five years ago when her early-to-bed family retired for the evening. In 2019, she won the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® Award in the Mainstream Fiction Category for her first novel. Melissa holds two Master’s Degrees in Public Health and Community Agency Counseling. Her day job is in Social Work where she often encounters people knocked down by hard times but who pick themselves up and keep going, just like the characters of her novels. Melissa lives in Pittsburgh, PA with her charming husband and two adorable children.
June is living the storybook life–fabulous career, two children, and a rich and handsome husband–when she is summoned out of the blue to the beautiful beach house of a father who abandoned her and has recently died. June and her two sisters find out that their long-lost father is a famous artist, and they are heirs to his fortune. They eventually meet up at the beach house to take care of his affairs. When June arrives first, she meets Caleb, her father’s protege, and things do not go well. Will she ever get answers as to why her father abandoned them?
This is well-written women’s fiction with a bit of romance, but it is much more than a romance. June’s anger at her father for his abandonment is the true focus of the story, and she begins to go through his belongings, looking for answers. We are drawn into the art world and introduced to June’s father through his paintings. The biggest theme in this story is sacrifice. June and her father have both made sacrifices and life-changing choices. Were they right to do so? Mental health issues are also discussed. This is a beautifully written story of a family, with all its bumps and bruises, and of a busy woman who pauses at a crossroads long enough to look at her future. Fans of women’s fiction and romance will enjoy this book.
I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture via Netgalley. My review is voluntary.
BUY HER FAMILY SECRET
*The ebook is only 99 cents right now! A terrific buy!
Today I’m excited to share with you a wonderful and candid interview with Gail Meath, author of Agustina de Aragón, which is set in Spain during the Napoleonic wars in the early 1800s. It will be released tomorrow. My review and the book trailer are below.
Bonnie: Hi Gail. It is so great to finally meet you. Tell the readers a little bit about yourself:
Gail: I’m from upstate NY by Lake Ontario. I grew up here. I have two grown children and two grandchildren, ages 9 and 6. I started writing in high school and discovered that I was a really good writer. I wasn’t a very good student except when there was an essay question. Whether I knew the answer or not, I could flub my way through any essay question and get a good grade. I was really proud of that as a kid.
Bonnie: How did you get into writing historical fiction?
Gail: I started writing and doing historical research mainly as therapy. My first marriage was not good and I was unhappy. I dove into historical research and writing as a way to escape. I could go to these faraway places through my writing and write about strong female characters because I did not feel strong myself at the time. I was married 23 years. I wrote my first seven novels during that marriage, and then stopped writing for ten years. It was after my second marriage, and with strong encouragement from my husband, that I decided to publish my first seven novels. Before that I had never shared them with anyone. And recently I wrote my newest book, Agustina de Aragón, the first novel I had written in ten years.
Bonnie: Could you give the readers a short synopsis of Agustina de Aragón?
Gail: Agustina was a peasant girl in Barcelona, Spain, whose father was a bladesmith. She was very interested in the beginnings of the war between Napoleon-led France and Britain. She hung around the military base, not to find a husband as some girls did, but to find out more about the war. As she gained more knowledge of the military, she began to feel the Spanish soldiers were inadequate. She met Juan Roca, also a soldier, and they fell in love. When Napoleon invaded Spain, Agustina and Roca both got very involved in the resistance, and Agustina herself rallied the soldiers to fight. She was a remarkable woman who became a soldier in her own right and literally turned the war around.
Bonnie: Your well-researched novels have led me to think that you must have been a history teacher or a historian at some point. Am I right?
Gail: No, I am an accountant. I have an accounting degree and my own business, but I am winding the business down and will focus even more on writing. I feel my organizational skills developed in the accounting business have really helped my research. I keep detailed files for all my books, and that comes from my business background. But I always loved to write, and it came easily to me. My father was an artist. I was never artistically talented in that way, but I found joy and purpose in writing. He always said to find your passion, and writing is my passion.
Bonnie: Your books that I have read, Countess Jacqueline and Agustina de Aragón, are about very strong women from real life who had roles that were not typical of their times. They are also women who are not as well known as other historical figures. Are these themes you want to continue in subsequent books?
Gail: Yes. For me to write, it has to be something that I can also learn and will hold my interest. I look for lesser known historical figures who I can research, and the research is a very important part of my process. I also want to talk about the heroes. My heroes are strong, but not macho. They are confident, but not arrogant. They are partners, but not dominant over the heroines. This is something that is very important to me, and also comes out of being in a bad first marriage.
Bonnie: What are you working on now?
Gail: I’m writing a murder mystery which is more lighthearted and kind of fun, and set in 1920s New York. I have also started a Civil War novel. The murder mystery will be published next.
Bonnie: What does your writing day look like:?
Gail: I mainly write on a desktop computer, but I will take a laptop outside by the pool. I usually write and research all day, starting at 5 a.m. However, I take plenty of breaks to see my grandchildren, who live right around the corner.
Bonnie: Do you have any hobbies when you’re not writing or researching?
Gail: I’m a HUGE New York Yankees fan and have a room full of their paraphernalia.
Bonnie: Who are your favorite players?
Gail: My favorite Yankees players are Andy Petit and Derek Jeter. My absolute favorite pitcher of all time wasn’t a Yankee for long. Randy Johnson (the Big Unit, he was called), pitched from 1988-2009, mostly for the Seattle Mariners, but he was a Yankee briefly at the end of his career.
Bonnie: Do you have any advice for new and aspiring writers?
Gail: I would advise anyone who wants to write to get going. Don’t make any excuses and write every day. Also, do not be afraid to share your writing with the world. I never showed anyone my first seven books for years. I kept them to myself and I regret that.
Bonnie: Gail, that is great advice, and it was something I needed to hear as an aspiring writer. It was so great to talk to you. I really enjoyed Agustina de Aragón, and I can’t wait to read your next book.
Gail Meath brings a legend to life in this beautiful historical romance/thriller based on the life of Agustina Raimunda Maria Saragossa, or Agustina de Aragón, also known as “The Spanish Joan of Arc.” We learn the true story of Agustina’s heroic acts during the First Siege of Zaragosa, her life as a soldier and prisoner, and her romance with her beloved Juan Roca. Set in Barcelona and then Zaragosa, and other points in Spain, we meet Agustina as a girl and then follow her into womanhood, motherhood, and war.
The author’s meticulous research into the life and customs of early 1800s Spain is obvious, as Agustina’s world comes alive. The reader will feel as if they are there, visiting the marketplace and working alongside Agustina in her father’s bladesmith shop. The love story between Agustina and Roca is very well done, and their passion and dedication to each other are painted across every page.
When danger arrives in the form of the Napoleon-led French Army, we can see the bloody battles and the savagery of the enemy, as well as the bravery of the Spanish people, as they fight off onslaught after onslaught. The terrible price of war is shown again and again, and the reader will weep along with Agustina as she faces unspeakable loss. The author’s knowledge of the topic is impressive, and I learned so much about Napoleon’s attacks on and eventual takeover of Spain. Although Agustina is famous for her acts during the First Siege of Zaragosa, she was also a mother, soldier, and prisoner of war, and it all comes alive in this novel. The ending is absolutely intriguing, and not to be missed.
I require two things from historical fiction. The first is that I be transported to the time and place being described. There is no question I felt transported to marketplaces, battlefields, and even prison in this fantastic novel. The second is that I learn something, and this book introduced me to Agustina herself, and then taught me much about the Napoleonic wars.
Agustina De Aragón introduces us to a compelling real-life legend, takes us into her world, and shows us the realities of war. It is a must read for fans of strong female characters. If you have never heard of Agustina, this book will introduce you in an unforgettable way.