5 Days for Democracy

The Women’s March: A Novel of the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession

by Jennifer Chiaverini

On March 3, 1913 the day before Woodrow Wilson was inaugurated as the 28th President of the United States, suffragettes marched down Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington D.C. The women were demanding an amendment to the Constitution giving all women the right to vote. The reader learns of the events before, during and after the parade from the perspective of three women who were there. Alice Paul, a Quaker from Pennsylvania, was one of the organizers. Activist Ida Wells-Barnett from Illinois was insistent that black women also deserved the right to vote. “Militant suffragist librarian” Maud Malone from New York was not afraid to challenge anyone with regard to women’s suffrage. At a town meeting, she even interrupted president-elect Woodrow Wilson regarding his stance on all women’s right to vote. He ignored her question by saying it was a states’ issue.

Approximately 5,000 marchers walked the same route that the inaugural parade would take the next day. Nine bands, twenty-four elaborate floats, and four mounted brigades were featured along with the marchers. Security was lax. The police did not provide what was necessary to keep the spectators under control and more than 300 women were injured along the parade route. (The crowd was estimated at 250,000.) Eventually, U.S. Army troops arrived to clear the street so that the procession could continue.

Later a handful of suffragettes were invited to meet with President Wilson who listened politely. He believed that it was a states’ issue and not a federal issue. The 19th Amendment which guarantees American women the right to vote was adopted on August 18, 1920.

The book is historical fiction, but it’s obvious that the author did substantial research. This is a good introduction to the struggle women faced in getting the right to vote.

The women highlighted in The Women’s March include:

Maud Malone
1873-1951
Ida Wells-Barnett 1862-1931
Alice Paul
1885-1977
from the artifact walls of the National Woman Suffrage Parade

~Emma

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The Show Girl

by Nicola Harrison

It’s 1927 when Olive McCormick leaves Minnesota seeking fame and fortune in New York City. She is determined to become a star in the Ziegfeld Follies. When Olive is hired as Ziegfeld show girl, she soon becomes a wildly popular singer and dancer. Olive enjoys her exciting city life along with her independence. When she meets Archie Carmichael, a wealthy handsome businessman, he is supportive of her career, until the couple starts talking about marriage. Archie wants children and is quite able to support a stay-at-home wife. Olive has a past she is unwilling to share with Archie and calls off their wedding.

With the stock market crash of 1929, Olive’s father is desperate. The family’s life savings and his job are gone. Archie too loses everything. When Olive’s aunt May passes away long-held secrets are revealed. Fortunately, Olive reaches out to Archie and her talents, and his forgiveness allow them to move ahead with a new plan.

Surprises, romance, history and glamour await the reader of this breezy story.

~Emma

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When the Summer was Ours

Roxanne Veletzos

It’s 1943 in Sopron, Hungary when 20-year-old Eva Cesar is at her family’s country estate. Eva has her life planned out. This is her last summer of being single; she will marry Eduard, a Red Cross doctor; and she will study to become a nurse and work beside him. Things change when there is a chance encounter with Aleandro, a Romani violinist and artist. Aleandro is supporting his young brothers by performing music in the street for monetary donations.

Aleandro and Eva fall in love. When Eva’s father hears about their relationship, he beats Eva. She runs to her nanny Dora for safety. Discovering that she is pregnant, she stays with Dora for support and help in raising her daughter, Bianca. Aleandro, considered an undesirable, ends up at a Nazi concentration camp where his artistic ability saves his life. He draws portraits of the various Nazi guards and officials. On the sly he creates drawings of life at the camp.

Eventually Eva marries her doctor; she becomes a nurse; and together they raise Bianca. Aleandro doesn’t realize he has a daughter. Wherever life takes them, neither Eva or Aleandro forget each other and the summer of 1943.

Spanning decades, this is an unforgettable love story.

~Emma

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Three Words for Goodbye

by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb

It’s 1937 when Clara and Madeleine Sommers are invited to their grandmother’s estate. Violet wants the young women to deliver three farewell letters: one to Paris, one to Venice, and one to Vienna. (Violet hasn’t seen these people since she left Europe 40+ years ago.) The two sisters do not like each other much and haven’t spoken in a year. Still they are willing to fulfill their grandmother’s dying wish. Clara has been busy planning her wedding to millionaire businessman Charles Hancock but is excited about the art she will see. Journalist Maddie is anxious to travel to Europe to witness the growing threat of Hitler and Mussolini. Violet has made first-class travel and hotel arrangements for the pair including traveling aboard the Queen Mary and the Orient Express and flying home on the Hindenburg. Everything is set for an adventure of a lifetime.

This is a story of long-held secrets revealed and family ties strengthened despite differences.

~Emma

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Tender is the Bite

by Spencer Quinn

Chet is the star in the 11th entry in the Chet and Bernie mystery series. Every smell, every sound, every event, and every person are described from Chet’s perspective. This is a tale of missing persons, murder and organized crime linked to a political candidate. For comic relief a ferret, named Griffie, makes an appearance that is not appreciated by Chet. Griffie adores Bernie which Chet cannot tolerate.

I have included a list of the books in the “Chet and Bernie” mystery series. This is a fun series for dog lovers. Chet has so much personality and so much respect for his owner Bernie. I recommend reading the books in order of publication.

Chet and Bernie Mystery series

  1. Dog on It – 2009
  2. Thereby Hangs a Tail – 2009
  3. To Fetch a Thief – 2010
  4. The Dog who knew too Much – 2011
  5. A Fistful of Collars – 2012
  6. The Sound and the Furry – 2013
  7. Paw and Order – 2014
  8. Scents and Sensibility – 2015
  9. Heart of Barkness – 2019
  10. Of Mutts and Men – 2020
  11. Tender is the Bite – 2021

Still to come in 2021 –

 12. It’s a Wonderful Woof

~Emma

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The Personal Librarian

by Marie Benedict & Victoria Christopher Murray

Belle Marion Greener’s father, Richard Greener, was the first black man to graduate from Harvard. He became a strong advocate for civil rights. After Belle’s parents separated, her mother, Genevieve, moved the children to New York City and there they became the Greene family. Belle became Belle da Costa Greene. Belle’s mother wanted the best for her children and being able to pass as white afforded the family more opportunities.

In 1906 Belle, who was working at Princeton University, was offered the opportunity to run the Pierpont Morgan Library. She was hired to curate J.P. Morgan’s manuscripts, books and artwork. Soon she was entrusted with finding and purchasing materials for the collections. Belle became a powerful force to be reckoned with in the male dominated art world. She lived with the secrecy of her black heritage her entire adult life passing as an olive-skinned white woman of Portuguese descent. She befriended art historian Bernard Berenson who also had a deep dark secret.

The novel does an excellent job of describing a little-known chapter in American history.

~Emma

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The Girl Who Wrote in Silk

by Kelli Estes

A debut novel written in 2015, Inara Erickson inherits her Aunt Dahlia’s
estate (Rothesay) on Orcas Island. (Orcas is the largest of the San Juan
Islands of the Pacific Northwest.) The estate is in poor condition but Inara
wants to remodel it. She wants to create a boutique hotel. Her father just
wants the property sold but is willing to give his daughter a chance and will
finance the improvements. He does reserve the right to call in the loan at any
time. Inara uncovers an embroidered silk sleeve in a hidden spot under the
stairs. She is determined to learn the meaning behind the sleeve which appears
to tell a story.

Inara contacts David Chin, a local professor of Asian history, to help
determine the history behind the silk sleeve. In the late 1800’s, the people of
Seattle wanted to get rid of its Chinese community and forcibly removed most of
them. Mei Lin is the embroiderer who was a survivor. Life was not easy for Mei
Lin and Jacob, her American husband. The sleeve and the rest of the robe tell
the story of Mei Lin’s family. With David’s assistance and stories from Inara’s
father, it’s discovered that there are generations old connections between Mei
Lin and Inara and David Chin. Some of the history is horrific to imagine.

Part mystery and part romance, the novel looks at an often-forgotten period
of Pacific Northwest history. In particular the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882
which suspended Chinese immigration for ten years and declared Chinese immigrant’s
ineligible for naturalization.

~Emma

 

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by Alan Brennet

in the 1890’s, 7-year-old Rachel Kalama contracts leprosy. She is forcibly removed from her home in Honolulu and moved to the quarantine settlement on the Kalaupapa peninsula on the north shore of Moloka’i. Rachel’s uncle Pono also contracts leprosy and is moved to the same leper colony. Fortunately, Sister Catherine befriends Rachel and she occasionally sees her father. Rachel grows up in the settlement and eventually marries Kenji Utagawa who is also suffering with leprosy. Soon they that have a daughter who is immediately taken away from the young couple to safeguard the baby’s health. Years later Kenji is killed trying to protect a young woman who is being beaten up by her boyfriend.

When a cure is found for Hansen’s disease, Rachel is finally allowed to leave Kalaupapa. Her goal is to find her daughter given up for adoption over 30 years ago.

Since 1866, more than 8000 people, mostly Hawaiians, have died at Kalaupapa. Kalaupapa is now a refuge for the few remaining residents who are cured, but were forced to live their lives in isolation. The site is now Kalaupapa National Historical Park. (Currently the Hawai’i Department of Health has restricted the entrance of tours to Kalaupapa and will not be approving entry permits at this time due to the Kalaupapa patients being a high-risk population to COVID-19.)

Published in 2003, this is not an easy read. There is much sadness, but Rachel is a determined survivor. She learns to cope with the devastating disease and the heartbreak.

~Emma

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The Berlin Girl

by Mandy Robotham

It’s 1938 when London journalists Georgie Young and Max Spencer are assigned to Berlin. Their job is to report on events as Hitler’s Germany marches toward war. The freedoms and rights of the Jewish people are quickly disappearing. Georgie hires Rubin Amsel as her driver. Rubin and his wife Sara are Jewish. Sara’s brother Elias is handicapped, and the Nazis are anxious to house those they consider undesirable in prison camps like Sachsenhausen near Berlin. When Elias is taken away, Rubin and his wife Sara send their children away to England to keep them safe. Soon Georgie captures the attention of Kasper, a Nazi officer. They go out a few times and Georgie hopes to garner information to obtain freedom for Elias. When Max is taken into Nazi custody and as he is being transferred to Sachsenhausen, Georgie helps him escape.

Georgie and Max recognized the danger of the Nazi government and tried to warn what was to come in their articles sent back to London. Many turned a blind eye. This is a book for anyone interested in pre-war Germany.

~Emma