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1886 – Chicago
When Miss Beatrix Waterbury’s Chicago-bound train ride is interrupted by a heist, Mr. Norman Nesbit, a man of science who believes his research was the target of the heist, comes to her aid. Despite the fact that they immediately butt heads, they join forces to make a quick escape.
Upon her arrival in Chicago, Beatrix is surprised to discover her supposedly querulous Aunt Gladys shares her own suffragette passions. Encouraged by Gladys to leave her sheltered world, Beatrix begins working as a salesclerk at the Marshall Field and Company department store. When she again encounters Norman on a shopping expedition, he is quickly swept up in the havoc she always seems to attract.
But when another attempt is made to part Norman from his research papers, and it becomes clear Beatrix’s safety is also at risk, they soon discover the curious way feelings can grow between two very different people in the midst of chaos.
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1922 – Pennsylvania
After losing the love of her life to a big city journalism job, Elissa Tillman pours herself into the suffragette movement and her secretarial work helping keep her father’s Pittsburgh newspaper afloat.
Cole Parker returns to the steel city with the phantom failures of his past nipping his heels. All he asks of the future is a second chance with the woman he once spurned.
The murder of a millionaire offers the perfect chance for Elissa to prove to her father and the world that she’s a serious journalist. But there’s a catch—she has to compete for the story. Against none other than Cole Parker, the very man who shattered her heart.
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1914 – Oklahoma
It’s 1914. While American women are demanding the vote and the first flames of the Great War are igniting Europe, a battle of a different sort rages in Oklahoma. The thermometer registers one hundred six degrees, an out-of-the-ordinary occurrence, even for the twenty-eighth day of July.
But this is no ordinary day. A murder trial has concluded, and the jury has reached a verdict.
The star witness for the prosecution fidgets in the old church pew. She’s lost enough, given more than her share. Hasn’t she? The answer rests in the hands of twelve men. Not a single woman sits among the jurors.
Lily eyes the judge. And the courtroom holds its breath.
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1868 – Nevada
A Match Made in Heaven?
Or Someplace a Whole Lot Warmer?
She’s stubborn, educated, and looking to give women the vote. He’s bullheaded, successful, and looking to give her a piece of his mind. But when things heat up, they just may give each other a piece of their hearts.
The Right Choice
1916 – Washington DC
It’s 1916, and the seventy-five-year struggle for women to gain the right to vote has escalated. Sarah Jordan, a young woman who embraces the cause, is determined to lend her voice to the growing dissent across the country. However, there is a choice to be made. Alex Taylor, the young lawyer she’s in love with, works in a firm that opposes women gaining the vote, and he claims Sarah’s political beliefs threaten his career.
Heartbroken, Sarah turns her back on Alex and begins a journey that will take her from everything she’s ever known to Washington, D.C., to join the pickets at the White House and on to the infamous Occoquan Workhouse as a prisoner. When she becomes a victim of the ‘Night of Terror’, Alex discovers she is near death and rushes to Washington to the save the life of the woman he’s always loved.
Together they must make the right choice—one that will affect not only their lives but also those of generations of women yet to be born.
A Lesson in Love and Murder
1912 – Canada, Illinois
The legacy of literary icon Sherlock Holmes is alive and well in 1912 Canada, where best friends Merinda Herringford and Jem Watts continue to develop their skills as consulting detectives.
The city of Toronto has been thrown into upheaval by the arrival of radical anarchist Emma Goldman. Amid this political chaos, Benny Citrone of the Royal North-West Mounted Police arrives at Merinda and Jem’s flat, requesting assistance in locating his runaway cousin—a man with a deadly talent.
While Merinda eagerly accepts the case, she finds herself constantly butting heads—and hearts—with Benny. Meanwhile, Jem has her hands full with a husband who is determined to keep her out of harm’s way.
As Merinda and Jem close in on the danger they’ve tracked from Toronto to Chicago, they uncover a sinister plot to assassinate presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt. Will they be able to save the day and resolve the troubles threatening their future happiness before it’s too late?
1848 – Ohio
An impetuous love swept Blessing Brightman away from the Quaker community, into the highest ranks of Cincinnati society. But behind the glitter of ballroom and parlor, her spirit slowly eroded in an increasingly dangerous marriage. Widowed young, determined never to lose her independence again, Blessing reclaimed her faith and vowed to use her influence to fight for women’s rights and abolition.
Gerard Ramsay, scion of a wealthy Boston family, arrives in Cincinnati hoping to escape his father’s clutches with a strategy that will gain him independence. His plan is soon complicated, however, by the enchanting widow. Never before has a woman spoken as if she’s his equal―or challenged him to consider the lives of others.
In a city nearly ablaze with racial tensions quickly dividing the country, can two people worlds apart possibly find common ground?
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1800s – Charleston
Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.
Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.
Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.
The Engagement Bargain
1884 – Kansas
Rock-solid and reliable, confirmed bachelor Caleb McCoy thought nothing could rattle him—until he discovers he needs to pose as Anna Bishop’s intended groom. After saving her life, his honorable code bid Caleb watch over the innocent beauty. And a pretend engagement is the only way to protect her from further harm.
Raised by a single mother and suffragist, Anna doesn’t think much of marriage—and she certainly doesn’t plan to try it herself. But playing Caleb’s blushing bride-to-be makes her rethink her independent ways, because their make-believe romance is becoming far too real…
1890s – Virginia
Mary Varrs prefers botany to romance. She thinks studying the growth pattern of her tomato seedlings is more time-worthy than pursuing a mate. When she needs illustrations of her prized plants, Mary turns to Priscilla Dane Osbourne for help. Zenus Dane also seeks help from his Aunt Priscilla. In order to salvage his flooded textile mill, he wants to sell her hand drawn quilt patterns alongside his repurposed fabric scraps. No quilter had national name recognition like his aunt, but Priscilla is fiercely protective of her patterns. Convincing her would not be easy. It seems Priscilla is the answer to both their prayers. But Priscilla would rather weave a masterpiece marriage for her nephew than save his flooded business. Trouble is, her plans don’t include Mary, whose own growing attraction for the textiler could jeopardize Priscilla’s good will toward her. If faced with a decision between love and ambition, will Mary be able to choose?
A Most Peculiar Circumstance
1880 – Illinois and New York
Miss Arabella Beckett has one driving passion: to help the downtrodden women of America. Naturally, she supports the women’s suffrage movement and eagerly attends rallies and lectures across the country. On her travels, she makes a simple offer of assistance to a young woman in need that goes sadly awry and lands both ladies in more trouble than they can manage. An independent sort, Arabella is loath to admit she needs help and certainly doesn’t need help from an arrogant, narrow-minded knight in shining armor.
Mr. Theodore Wilder, private investigator extraordinaire, is on a mission. A mission that began as a favor to his good friend Hamilton Beckett, but swiftly evolved into a merry chase across the country. By the time he finally tracks down Hamilton’s sister, Arabella, he is in a less than pleasant mood. When the lady turns out to have radical ideas and a fiercely independent streak, he soon finds himself at his wit’s end.
When they return home to New York, circumstances force their paths to continue to cross, but the most peculiar feelings growing between them certainly can’t be love. When the trouble Arabella had accidentally stirred up seems to have followed her to New York and threatens her very life, the unlikely couple must face the possibility that they might have landed in the most peculiar circumstance of all: love.
The Green Veil
1840s – Wisconsin and Michigan
Tucked deep beneath the green veil of Wisconsin’s forests, lumberman’s daughter Colette Palmer has loved timber cruiser Manason Kade since her youth. But over time and distance, her own compassion and circumstances compel her to marry another. Her husband is a driven man who will stop at nothing to crush his enemies, one of which is a young, upstart lumberman named Kade.
As speculators, lumber barons, and mining magnets stretch their grip on Wisconsin’s wild territory, Colette and Manason meet again. Only now she is forced to choose between her first love and her commitment to her marriage vows, while her dreams, her faith, and an empire in pine hang in the balance.
A Vision of Lucy
1882 – Texas
Lucy Fairbanks dreams of working as a photographer at the Rocky Creek newspaper. If she can earn money making photographs, then maybe her father will see that what she does is worthy, more than just a distraction. And her deepest hope is that he’ll see her as an artist, the way he thought of her deceased mother, a painter. But trouble follows Lucy on every photo shoot: a mess of petticoats and ribbons, an accidental shooting, even a fire.
When Lucy meets David Wolf, a quiet, rustic man who lives on the outskirts of town, she thinks she can catch the attention of the town with his photograph. She doesn’t count on her feelings stirring whenever she’s near him.
Two things happen next that forever change the course of her life: Lucy meets someone who sees her as no one else has-as the compassionate, creative young woman that God made in His image. And Lucy helps David uncover a secret that forces him to change his perspective on an event that left him deeply-scarred.
Springtime of the Spirit (The Great War)
1919 – Germany
By the fall of 1918, the Great War has ended and the world is at peace, but there is little to celebrate in Germany. After four years of fighting for his homeland, Christophe Brecht returns to find there is little left of what he once called home. So when family friends ask him to travel to Munich to bring back their runaway daughter, Christophe agrees.
When he finally locates Annaliese Duray, he discovers she is far different from the girl he once knew. Headstrong, idealistic, and beautiful, she is on the front lines of the city’s political scene, fighting to give women and working-class citizens a voice in Germany’s new government.
As the political upheaval ignites in Munich, so does the attraction between Annaliese and Christophe. With an army from Berlin threatening to squash everything Annaliese has worked for, both she and Christophe are forced to choose between love and loyalty.
The Bartered Bride
1905 – Minnesota
Can true love result from a business deal?
Jonathan Kennebrae is furious when his grandfather informs him that his future has been decided. He will marry Melissa Brooke or lose his inheritance. Jonathan has invested years of his life in Kennabrae Shipping, but heaven help him if Grandfather decides to take it all away for this.
Melissa, too, is devastated when her parents make their announcement. As little more than a bargaining chip in her father’s business maneuvers, she feels her secure world slipping away. Engaged to marry a man she has never met—someone “considerably older” than herself? What have her parents done?
Can Jonathan and Melissa find a way out of this loveless marriage, or must they find a way forward together?
“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” Proverbs 21:1
A Proper Pursuit
1893 – Illinois
20-year-old Violet Hayes is distressed to learn that her father is remarrying-and that her mother, whom Violet believed lay recovering from a mysterious illness in a sanitarium somewhere, had in fact simply abandoned her family and filed for divorce. To escape a stepmother-to-be she can’t stand, Violet heads to Chicago to stay with her grandmother and great-aunts. Although she’s recently graduated from a genteel school for young ladies, it’s in Chicago that Violet’s real education begins. One great-aunt tries to persuade her to join the suffrage movement, while another introduces Violet to elite society and urges her to catch a wealthy husband. Her grandmother, who takes her cues from Jane Addams, introduces Violet to the world of revivalist Christianity and inner-city good works, prompting Violet to re-examine her own faith. Two questions drive the plot: will Violet find her mother, and will she encounter true love? Readers will enjoy accompanying Violet as she discovers the answers, her calling and her adult self.
Meant for Me (formerly titled Chloe)
1920s – Maryland and New York
Award-winning author Lyn Cote delivers the first story in her moving Women of Ivy Manor series about four generations of women, set against the sprawling tapestry of the twentieth century. Chloe Lorraine Kimball is born at the estate of Ivy Manor in the wee hours of the twentieth century. She is the apple of her grandmother’s eye, if not her mother and father’s. For despite a home filled with everything a young girl could desire, she lacks the one thing she wants above all else-unconditional love from her parents. Thinking she can win that love through her actions, she creates a successful life for herself in Washington, DC, as the belle of her father’s political career. Bright and beautiful, she revels in the attention she receives from the capitol’s major players. But in the end, as her world comes crashing down amid the opening months of the Depression, Chloe must realize that whether or not she’s capable of giving and receiving love is something entirely up to her. And perhaps she can finally find happiness on her own terms.