The Unlocked Path
Several excerpts below to whet your appetite for Eliza’s story. Learn more over at my Novel Synopsis. I hope you’ll follow along for more excerpts and publishing updates. Are you in a book club? Consider choosing my novel for one of your reads. I’d love to join you for an author chat in person or via Zoom after the book releases in August 2022. I promise a lively discussion and to share more background on how and why I wrote this piece of historical fiction. Sign up HERE to get on my planning calendar.
Pearls symbolize wisdom gained through experience.
“And pure white ones signify new beginnings. I think they’re the perfect choice for the doctor who stands before me. A woman driven to gain great wisdom and who is ready for her next beginning. I couldn’t be prouder of you.”
I hope you enjoyed this excerpt. Read on for a few more and check out my Novel Synopsis. I hope you’ll follow along for more excerpts and publishing updates. Are you in a book club? Consider choosing my novel for one of your reads. I’d love to join you for an author chat in person or via Zoom after the book releases in August 2022. I promise a lively discussion and to share more background on how and why I wrote this piece of historical fiction. Sign up HERE to get on my planning calendar. Sign-up by January 31, 2022 to be entered to win one of the pearl novelty necklaces shown above. One random winner drawn on February 1, 2022. Winner notified by email.
A wreath of more greenery occupied a pedestal beside the lectern. Around the wreath stood one pink and three purple candles with a single white one in the center.
Two purple candles glowed with flickering flames to mark the second Sunday of Advent.
“For everything that was written, the past was written to teach us,” intoned Reverend Abrams, “so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide, we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind…”
Today’s reading fostered the ideals of prophecy, endurance, and hope before the Savior’s birth. Would it be blasphemous if Eliza thought the ideals should apply to term exams?
Dear God, please give me the endurance and encouragement to make it through next week. My mind is addled. My hopes are dim. These examinations may kill me. If the College uses my body for dissection, I doubt they’ll find the cause of my death buried in tissues and organs. Mental exhaustion hides itself deep in the brain where neurons send tired tentacles out to every muscle until they cannot move.
“Will, Teddy, look. There’s Daddy’s ship.” Eliza patted knees on either side of her and directed her sons’ attention out the car’s open window.
Four brown-tie shoes stilled their clockwise and counter-clockwise rotation.
“Yes, boys,” <HUSBAND*> called over his shoulder, “The USS America. A well-chosen name for a ship, don’t you think?”
The gun-metal hulk with two centered steam stacks floated, tethered to the piers of the Charlestown Navy Yard, across the mouth of the Charles River from Boston. In the streets leading to the Yard, a mass of tan swarmed as if dust from the Great Plains blew eastward carrying bits of the heartland. Those pieces of America’s heart carried duffle bags slung from shoulders. Pictures of sweethearts, mothers, wives, and children traveled with them, tucked into pockets for safe keeping. Broad-brimmed hats dipped low over brows, shading their eyes from the blazing July sun. The men pushed forward, straining to reach the America’s gangplank, fortified by the irony that their transport ship was the former German passenger liner, Amerika, which US authorities seized when war broke out in Europe. Omens for victory abounded with their departure planned for days after the Fourth of July celebration and from the birthplace of the American Revolution.
*No spoilers! 😊
“I don’t need those pills,” Nina grunted. “Mrs. Lydia Pinkham’s Remedy works wonders for me. I sleep as sound as this here babe.”
I’m sure it does, Eliza snorted to herself. Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound included twenty percent alcohol content, not any magical curative powers. Unless one considers the power of suggestion. Eliza recalled the advertisement in Ladies’ Home Journal which proclaimed it restored the health of over 500,000 women who suffered from the worst forms of female complaints and touted it eased change of life symptoms, and that “wise women insist on Mrs. Pinkham’s.”
Nina Silvestri’s old-fashioned wisdom may never yield to more modern ways. Convincing her a drug compounded by dissecting and pulverizing cow ovaries could stem menopausal symptoms sounded as foreign as warming a bed with an electrified blanket instead of using a hot water bottle, or a man’s body.
Anandibai Gopal Joshi – Application Letter
“[The] determination which has brought me to your country against the combined opposition of my friends and caste ought to go a long way towards helping me to carry out the purpose for which I came, i.e. is to render to my poor suffering countrywomen the true medical aid they so sadly stand in need of and which they would rather die than accept at the hands of a male physician. The voice of humanity is with me and I must not fail. My soul is moved to help the many who cannot help themselves.” – Anandibai Gopal Joshi, Graduate of the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania
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