In fact, Judith Sargent Murray provided one of the first American voices in this debate. Back when I was studying for my Master’s in English, I came across her essay, “On the Equality of the Sexes,” which was first published in Massachusetts in 1790, though written years earlier. Her claim that women should have equal education as men sparked many ideas in my brain! One such idea was a group of three 18th century women who decided to not marry but provided for themselves. The result is my new A More Perfect Union series, with Emily’s Vow and Amy’s Choice releasing in the next few weeks!
Emily Sullivan vows to not marry because she fears dying in childbirth (keep in mind the difficulties women faced with regard to contraception, especially when children were vital to running a household). She decides to write comportment essays, championing ideas similar to Murray’s, and to persuade her father to help her secure a shop where she can sell embroidered accessories. Neither option meets with approval by her father, who wants her to marry patriot spy Frank Thomson, the man Emily wishes to avoid at all costs in order to protect her heart. When she lands in trouble due to her father’s privateering, Frank must choose whether to save her or complete his mission.
Amy Abernathy is a renowned storyteller whose heart shattered when the love of her life slipped out of town without saying goodbye. Never mind Benjamin Hanson had a very good reason, to serve as the Continental army, she never wanted to face such pain again. When he returns suddenly, she flees the town to help her sister in her confinement, only to end up kidnapped by renegades and relying upon Benjamin to rescue her. Only she ends up rescuing the other women in the manor house under attack along with him when he faces the wrong end of a renegade’s rifle.
Meanwhile, Samantha McAlester must prove her midwifery and healing talents are as successful as young Dr. Trent Cunningham’s medical techniques and practices. But she’s nursing not only Benjamin’s recalcitrant infected gunshot wound but a secret that threatens to undermine her reputation and thus acceptance by the townspeople. All while Trent rocks her confidence and her emotional equilibrium. Can they find a way to work together to cure Benjamin before it’s too late?
Each of these women possesses an inner strength challenged by the difficult circumstances and restrictions placed upon them by social mores and expectations. Those limits were very different then from what women today work within. In part, we must thank our early American female ancestors for speaking up and beginning the long, weary march toward feminism and women’s lib, on to the means for breaking various “glass ceilings” during our own lifetimes.In that vein, I’m reminded how my own parents bucked tradition in the late 1960s to 1970s with their chosen careers. My mother worked as an accountant for Koester Bakery in Baltimore and then for a bakers and tobacco workers union in Kensington, Maryland. My father, in contrast, had a photography studio and a couple of apartments he rented out on our property, so he worked from home, took care of the yard, made dinner every evening, and was there when I came home from school to keep an eye on me. (Not an easy job, from what I hear!)
Do you have a story to share about how the evolving changes in women’s rights impacted your life? What other changes are desired or needed to make women definitively equal to men as far as equal opportunities and rights? Talk to me and I’ll choose one commenter to win a signed copy of Emily’s Vow (digital or paperback, winner’s choice)!
Also, I’m looking forward to the Southern Magic Reader’s Luncheon on November 1, and hope you’ll consider joining us for a fun and book-filled day! Here’s more info for you on that great event!
For the month of September, Southern Magic celebrates their Readers Luncheon being held November 1 in Birmingham, AL. NYT bestselling author Sylvia Day is the keynote speaker. Come back and visit every day. Each post will be giving away a book or gift card! At the end of the blogfest, a grand prize winner of a Kindle Fire HD will be picked from everyone who comment during the month and be announced September 30.
To register for the luncheon, go to http://southernmagic.org/luncheon.html. Each attendee will receive a bag of books and author swag, sit at a table with one or two published authors, and opportunities to win baskets full of goodies.
And please, stay in touch via social media or, better yet, subscribe to my newsletter, Betty’s Broadside, at www.bettybolte.com/newsletter.htm. As a thank you, each quarter I’ll draw one name at random to win a gift. And most important, I promise to not overload your inbox, but only send out a broadside when there is news worth sharing.
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Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and opinions!