*** GIVEAWAY CLOSED ***
Four women forged a friendship that changed their lives one week at a time.
Let me start by writing while reading THE SATURDAY EVENING GIRLS CLUB, I kept hearing in my head, “nevertheless, she persisted.” It’s the battle cry for Women standing together today as part of the Women’s March. We will not be silenced.
BookSparks Summer 2017 continues with a slice of history. Escaping tradition and trying to become their own women in the 1900s doesn’t come easy for four young immigrants living in Boston’s North End. In Jane Healey’s debut novel, THE SATURDAY EVENING GIRLS CLUB (LakeUnionPublishing), it’s the turn of the century when women don’t have the right to vote, nor is much expected from them by a society determined to keep them “in their place.” But at least Caprice, Ada, Maria and Thea have one another and their Saturday Evening Girls Club. The once a week meeting gives the group a break from their home lives and a chance to share their hopes and dreams.
Caprice works at Madame DuPont’s Millinery in the North End and dreams of opening her own hat shop. Her parents want her married to a nice Italian young man, and often arrange dinners with prospective suitors, much to her horror. Brilliant Ada secretly takes college classes despite the disapproval of her Russian Jewish father and hopes to be a doctor one day. Stunning Maria is a dressmaker and could marry anyone yet guards her heart to avoid the fate of her Italian Catholic mother, broken down by an alcoholic husband. And shy Thea is torn between asserting herself and embracing the antiquated Jewish tradition of being married off in an arranged marriage.
The four young women face family disappointments, romantic love and heartbreak, work and career struggles, as well as deep cultural prejudice. But their weekly meeting makes it possible for each to have the courage and strength needed to transform their immigrants stories into individual American lives. Each had the odds stacked against her, but persist, believing in their dreams.
I loved learning about this part of history, but what made the novel so wonderful for me are the characters. Jane Healey creates unique personalities in all four of the young women; all of whom I’d love to befriend. There are times I’ve read a novel with several friends/characters and they tend to blend. Caprice, Ada, Maria and Thea are each their own woman and delightful.
It’s interesting to note that although THE SATURDAY EVENING GIRLS CLUB is a work of fiction, there was a real Saturday Evening Girls Club which started as a book club in Boston in 1899. By the 1910s, it had evolved into something much bigger. There were over 250 members of clubs named after each day of the week.
Jane Healey was inspired to write The Saturday Evening Girls Club after learning of the group’s history while researching an article on their namesake pottery, also known as Paul Revere Pottery. She became fascinated by the relatively unknown stories of these smart, sassy, enterprising young immigrant women living in Boston’s North End at the turn of the twentieth century.
In addition to being a fiction writer, Jane is a freelance journalist and consultant. Her publishing credits include the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine, AOL/Huffington Post, the Street, Publishers Weekly, and New England Home.
Jane holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s degree from Northeastern University. She shares a home north of Boston with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. When she’s not writing, she enjoys running, reading, and cooking. For more information on Jane visit www.janehealey.com
Thanks to BooksSparks and Lake Union Publishing, we have one copy of THE SATURDAY EVENING GIRLS CLUB to giveaway. Just tell us if you’ve ever experienced cultural prejudice. We’ll announce a winner Monday.