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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"Remember the Ladies" by Gina L. Mulligan

While John Adams was in Philadelphia helping forge the document that would declare to the world, that the American colonies had a right to be free from the tyranny, his wife Abigail  sent him the following message, "Remember the ladies." She, of course, was asking her husband to give the ladies of the colonies the rights to which they, too, were entitled.

Fast-forward 100+ years and the women of America are no longer gently seeking to remind their men that they need their inalienable rights. They are making their voices heard as they remind the men governing them of their rights. Important to this movement is Miss Amelia Cooke, a strong woman raised by strong, nurturing women in an orphanage.

How did Amelia get from the Orphanage in Cooke, Montana, to the halls of Washington, D.C., where she becomes a female lobbyist. Her physical journey is a large part of this book. Another journey, however, is equally important, for along the way, and at a crucial moment, Amelia learns that sometimes those fighting for a cause, must take a bigger look at the picture and determine what is important. Amelia takes a good look at the ramification of the first votes to give women equality and realizes that, perhaps, women already have power, and that some important things in life would be lost if that vote passes.

In what is perceived as her abandonment of the cause and its supporters, Amelia changes her views. As the vote comes in, the women have lost, but America has gained; Yellowstone expansion, local businesses can continue to exist, and so, too, can a nearby orphanage housing 200 young people.

Amelia leaves Washington and its intrigues and moves to Tennessee. There, years later, she pens a letter to her son, the Senator,  reminding him to "Remember the Ladies." His vote on the Susan B. Anthony Suffrage  (19th) Amendment, sends Tennessee's ratification of the amendment into the positive column and the constitution of the U.S. adopts the constitutional amendment. From there the fight for women's rights still faced an uphill climb, but at least that climb could begin.

Based upon the letter a real Tennessee mother sent her son, Harry Burn, Senator, encouraging him to 'be a good boy' and vote for ratification. The book delves into backroom politics, bribery, and underhanded deals, Still, the grain of truth remains, sometimes women must wield their true power and influence the men about to affect us all.

This is a well told narrative of one woman's growth as she examines her motives and desires. I was gifted with a printed handout of the novel. I was hoping for a bound ARC copy, but evidently the title was in such demand, that the ARC copies ran out and some of us received the printout version. Still I liked the book and recommend it completely. It is well written, thoroughly researched, and engrossing.

Available May 19th at major outlets and online.

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