by Connie B. Dowell
Release Date: 11/17/15
Winter breaks are supposed to be exciting, but this one is murder.
A novella of suffragists and secrets.
In December 1918, the Great War is over and everyone in the small town of Cora, Georgia is ready to relax. Stepping off the train from school, sixteen-year-old Emmie McAllister looks forward to a pleasant Christmas, one in which she can fix up a motorcycle, wear trousers, and enjoy the look on her mother’s face.
Yet the holidays turn darker when Emmie and her least favorite classmate, prim and proper Dessa, stumble across the murdered body of the town’s most prominent suffrage activist. Emmie finds herself saddled with Dessa as both girls are determined to help find the killer.
But the more they poke around, the harder life gets for outspoken women in Cora. With a mysterious stalker, anonymous threats, and more, if Emmie and Dessa don’t work together and find the culprit quickly, they could be the next victims.
“Anyway…” I began. Now gossip-time had begun, if I fed it a little, it might continue.
“What about the reason for this meeting?”
“Well…” Ethel started to speak, but Mabel, whom I hadn’t noticed sneaking up to us, broke in.
“It’s obviously the suffrage question.”
The mood turned sour as Mama and Ethel put on more serious expressions. I pulled at the back of my hair. Apparently the content of the meeting was obvious to everyone but me, but now I thought about it, every time I came home from school someone made a passing mention of it. I’d remembered hearing about the club being divided on the issue. Granny was always complaining that she couldn’t understand why educated, socially active women would oppose it. I was somewhat relieved she was out of town—Granny was worse than me when it came to not keeping her mouth shut, even if it might hurt her cause.
Mama couldn’t stand the silence. “I suppose it is.”
Speaking was a mistake. Mabel placed her hands on her hips. “Don’t ladies already have ample protections under the law? It is unseemly and unladylike to take so much and yet ask for more.”
Ethel bit her lip. “There are many laws to protect women from unscrupulous men, but the fact that they exist serves to demonstrate how little power women have. If we had equal status under the law, we wouldn’t need such protections. These are laws to keep inferiors safe and to keep us inferior.”
“But—” Mabel began.
Mama interrupted. “Let’s not use all our best arguments before the meeting has even begun.”
Mabel’s face squirmed like she was more than ready to use all her best arguments, along with all her worst ones and all the ones in the middle, meeting or no. I looked around for something to change the topic, and right in time, the front doors of the house opened with a creak and two deputies walked out carrying boxes, followed by Uncle Charlie.
This was an entertaining book, but not all that original. This is the first book I have read by this author, and I honestly don't remember signing up for this book tour, but my memory is crap so that's not very surprising.
The characters were fine but it was really hard to feel any connection to them in any way since the book is set in around WW1. This also made the dialog hard to follow at times since the speech and some of the old slang I wasn't very familiar with.
I am pleased that this book was pretty historically accurate, it bothers me when an author has a book set during a past era and the dialog becomes too modern. It always sounds wrong. I mentioned the characters were fine, the small issues I had were that at times the characters acted either much older then their 16 years, or much younger. One character in particular was this overly cautious person who seemed to take it upon herself to let others know they weren't behaving the way she thought they should. She was a little snooty and I didn't really care for her all that much, I felt that she was slightly unneeded as a character. The other character, the main character and the narrator of the story, was the opposite. She was reckless and in her own way, likes people to behave a certain way as well but more along the lines of not behaving the way they were taught they should but to behave how they want.
Connie B. Dowell writes young adult fiction and nonfiction. She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Georgia and a Masters of Library and Information Science from Valdosta State University. She lives in Virginia with her husband, where they host a history podcast, One Hundred Centuries, and both consume far more coffee than is probably wise.
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