Wicked Wednesday — Celebrating Turning the Tide

We are celebrating the release of Turning the Tide, the third book in Edith’s Quaker Midwife Mysteries series. Here is a little bit about the book:

A suffragist is murdered in Quaker midwife Rose Carroll’s Massachusetts town

Excitement runs high during Presidential election week in 1888. The Woman Suffrage Association plans a demonstration and movement leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton comes to town to rally the troops. When Quaker midwife Rose Carroll finds the body of the group’s local organizer the next morning, she can’t help but wonder who could have committed the murder.

Rose quickly discovers several people who have motives. The victim had planned to leave her controlling husband, and a recent promotion had cost a male colleague his job. She had also recently spurned a fellow suffragist’s affections. After Rose’s own life is threatened, identifying the killer takes on a personal sense of urgency.

Riding in carriages was commonplace during the late 1800s. Wickeds, have you ever ridden in a carriage? Where was it and where did you go? If not is there one you wish you could have ridden in?

Barb: My husband and I took a lovely carriage tour of Charleston, South Carolina. It was a marvelous way to view the narrow, colonial streets, and so quiet with only the clip-clop of the horses’ hooves.

Edith: As part of my research for this series I’ve ridden in several carriages. (I wrote a blog post about it here.) My favorite ride was on carriage trails through woods and pastures in Ipswich, Massachusetts, scenery that wouldn’t have looked any different in the late 1880s. And it was bumpy! No seat belts! I wore my long full linen skirt to get the feel of climbing in and out – not easy. But the experience helped me write about it more accurately.

Sherry: I have some distant memory of a stagecoach ride as a child. My husband and I took an open carriage ride on our tenth anniversary in New Orleans. It sounded so romantic however it was in the middle of the day, it was in the 90s with a gazillion percent humidity. The sun beat down on us and we leaned away from each other on the small seat because we were so sweaty. The only good thing was my hair formed these lovely curls that I’ve never had since. Sadly, we had a similar experience (sans beautiful curls) on a later anniversary on a duck boat in Boston.

Jessie: I don’t believe I have ever ridden in a carriage. The closest thing I can think of was a pedicab ride I took with my husband one evening in Old Orchard Beach, ME. It sounds like something to add to my adventures list!

Julie: I don’t think I have ever ridden in a carriage. But I’ve always wanted to. Have you ever seen the Dancing in the Dark number from The Bandwagon? That’s my kind of carriage ride!

Readers: Have you ever take a carriage ride?

Bringing History to Life

NEWS FLASH: Melinda is the randomly selected winner! Please send your snail mail address to me at edith at edithmaxwell.com. Congratulations!

Edith here, delighted that Turning the Tide came out from Midnight Ink yesterday!

This is my third Quaker Midwife mystery, and my fourteenth published novel, in which Rose Carroll, midwife, becomes involved in murder once again. I’m so grateful for my editors at Midnight Ink for believing in my stories and making them better: Amy Glaser, Terri Bischoff, and Nicole Nugent. And to talented cover artist Greg Newbold for rocking cover number three.

In celebration, I’m most pleased to give away a signed copy of the book to one commenter here today.

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The story has a background theme, as every book in the series does. In book time the season was rolling around to the fall, so I decided to explore issues of women’s suffrage in 1888. The Amesbury Woman Suffrage Association (fictional as far as I know, but it could have existed) turns out in force across from the polling place on Election Day to protest not having the vote. Here’s one of the placards I found online, and it’s my favorite. WomenbringallvotersIn a book featuring a midwife, you can see why I love this sign.

I read that proponents of women’s suffrage wore sunflower yellow sashes, to represent hope. Quaker women were in the forefront of the movement for decades, both before and after this book takes place. Rose’s mother is an ardent suffragist, and in Turning the Tide she comes to town to support the protest.

I love slipping bits of my own family history into the books. Rose’s mother Dorothy Henderson Carroll is named after my paternal grandmother, Dorothy Henderson Maxwell. We called her Momma Dot, and Rose’s nieces and nephews call the fictional Dorothy Granny Dot. My grandmother was the first woman to drive an automobile halfway across the United States in 1918, and I imagine she didn’t hesitate to vote the following year.

I decided to bring Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Amesbury, too. Historically I don’t know if she did, but she might have, and writing fiction gives me permission to portray her rallying the women, with her white curls and comfortable, corset-free figure.

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Stanton was a real intellectual. In the book I took the liberty of paraphrasing a few sentences from her essay, “The Solitude of Self,” which was not published until 1892, for her to speak in person in this book (at Rose’s friends’ salon gathering). I couched it as Stanton developing her thoughts on the topic, and I trust her departed soul will approve.

So, dear readers, who is your favorite suffragist? Any family stories about your feminist foremothers, or the first time you yourself voted?

On Vacating

Edith here, who got back last night from a real vacation. A real vacation! I don’t take one very often, so this getaway was long overdue.  Leave a comment about road trips or other favorite vacays and you might win my last ARC of Turning the Tide.

Hugh and I left on the Ides of March and drove south to Silver Spring, Maryland. We visited with my older son Allan and his fiancee, Alison, and got to tour the September wedding venue (squee!).

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We also taste tested a caterer, and play a wicked fun game with the couple and Alison’s parents, Rick and Sue.

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Allan, Hugh, and I  spent one day in DC. We caught the Caldor mobile exhibit at the National Gallery of Art, and the giant blue rooster, of course.

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We paid a pop-in visit to the Obama portraits in the Portrait Gallery, which was a huge treat, as was seeing a portrait of the female Supreme Court justices, and paying homage to Louisa May Alcott.

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We were lucky to spend our last night in the DC area with fellow Wicked Sherry and her darling husband Bob and of course the four-legged Lilly, but failed to snap even a single picture.

From there we drove to Asheville, North Carolina, where you can visit a microbrewery about every other block. It was fun to catch up with Hugh’s sister Anne and brother-in-law Jim. We also feasted on the sight of flowers in bloom, something that isn’t happening yet in New England.

We ate out every night, but one of the best classically southern meals was lunch the first day. Fried catfish and Brussels sprouts, anyone, or fried chicken on a biscuit with sausage gravy and cheesy grits? Yum. (And now I’m home? A serious diet is on the menu.)

We also played a lot of cards and a dice game named Farkle, because it was cold and snowy one of the days.

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We visited all kinds of art galleries, indoor and out, and ate lunch at a barbeque place where I had the best home-smoked BLT I have ever tasted.

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After one dinner out we hit the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. I found out the next day the French Broad is a river running through Asheville, not the founder of the lounge!

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One highlight was a visit to the Thomas Wolfe house. I soaked up the nineteenth century kitchen and bedroom decor for my historical research, but also soaked up so much information on a fellow author I  knew nothing about.

Another special evening was cocktails at the historic Grove Park Hotel overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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I grew up with mountains always on my southern California horizons and I felt so at home being surrounded by peaks in Asheville.

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Much of the Blue Ridge Parkway wasn’t open because of ice remaining in the tunnels. Still, the views were a delight.

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I was able to do a bit of writing on a short story every morning but otherwise just enjoyed myself. I will say I’m looking forward to getting back to work on my books, which is a sign that I have the career I should have.

At our last night at Luella’s barbeque (yes, food to die for), I was alerted to the fact that the man sitting behind me had a gun strapped to his waist. Clever detective that I am, I managed to snap a picture over my shoulder. That’s right, kids, North Carolina is an open-carry state. And yes, story ideas abounded.

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We zipped back to DC for one night, and the next day stopped by New Jersey to bring Hugh’s aunt Joyce lunch from her favorite Chinese restaurant.  She’s age almost 93 and still living alone in a senior apartment.

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Joyce is the last of her Lockhart generation and a real dear – who also happens to be a fan of my books. I made sure she had a copy of each new one.

I made good use of my passenger time on the two-day trip home, and managed to finish the first draft of the story I’d been working on – the old-fashioned way.

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Turning the TideThe vacation was time away from book work, but I acquired a number of ideas for new stories and let my creative brain mostly rest, too. And it’s wonderful to be home. Our cats left us mountains of fur and creative scatterings of coasters on the floor – which of course means they were on the tables.

Now I’m ramping up for the April 8 release of Turning the Tide, and I find myself with one last ARC. Who can I send it to?

Readers: We talked here about our favorite vacations a couple of weeks ago. What’s been your favorite road trip? Your most unusual vacation? Let me know in the comments and I’ll send an ARC along!