A Wicked Welcome to Christin Brecher

By Julie, surviving September in Somerville

I met Christin last summer when we did a book event together (remember book events?) in Connecticut. We shared a book birthday in August, and I’m delighted to welcome her to the blog today to celebrate.

Everyday (Power) Women

As a good friend of mine always says, “it’s amazing how much you can accomplish when you have to”.

In 15 Minutes of Flame, the third book in the Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries series, Stella Wright accomplishes quite a lot when she finds herself on the path of two murderers, one from the past and one from the present, all while helping to organize the Girl Scout’s Halloween Haunts.  In her search for answers to a 19th century murder, she also connects with the history of Nantucket women who ran businesses on what was then popularly referred to as the town’s Petticoat Row.

In a town where the men embarked on whaling voyages that would last months and even years, and where a Quaker work ethic pervaded, Nantucket women of the era had a big job – and an unusual opportunity for their time.  They ran businesses, assumed leadership roles in the community, and even led the household’s investment decisions when necessary, all, of course, while managing homes and raising children.  By rising to the occasion of having to do it all, these women left a legacy that extended well beyond their skillful efficiency and ingenuity.  Even today, the island’s organization to support its women in commerce calls itself Petticoat Row. 

Courtesy of the Nantucket Historical Association

It is no surprise that when Stella discovers a link to these women in her investigations, she takes the challenge of solving a cold case murder of over one hundred years personally.  For one thing, her candle store, the Wick & Flame, is located on Centre Street, which was the actual location of Petticoat Row.  Like her predecessors, Stella runs a business, follows her passions, thoughtfully cares for her friends and family, and isn’t afraid to jump in to the unknown. I always say that she does more in a day than many of us might do in a week.  She is a quintessential cozy mystery heroine, but I also I think of her as a modern-day woman of Petticoat Row.  I love that she is, even if fictionally, part of their sisterhood.

When I look at the grainy, black & white image of these amazing women, I wonder what they were saying to each other as they assembled on Centre Street for their photo?  I am curious if they suspected that their image would inspire others for over a century, or if they were mostly itching to get back to their day’s to-do lists.  Either way, I’m grateful they took a moment to pose for posterity since their everyday accomplishments quietly wove themselves into a tapestry that has given so many others confidence and vision. 

Who are the everyday women who have left a lasting impression to inspire you?

NOTE:  If you are interested in learning more about the strong, smart ladies of Nantucket, I very much enjoyed reading Sometimes Think of Me:  Notable Nantucket Women Through the Centuries by Betsy Tyler & Susan Boardman. And for more information on Petticoat Row, check out https://www.nantucketchronicle.com/nation-nantucket/2014/these-ladies-werent-flouncy-nantuckets-petticoat-row.

BIO

Christin Brecher lives in NYC and Nantucket, two islands which inspire her imagination at every step. After a career in marketing for the publishing industry, followed by years raising her children, the Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries mark Christin’s debut as an author. Christin is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.

WEBSITE:  www.christinbrecher.com

FB:  @christinbrecherbooks

IG:  @christinbrecherbooks

BOOK SUMMARY

When Stella’s friend inherits a creaky, abandoned home in Nantucket, she knows it’s the perfect setting for the town’s annual Halloween fundraiser. A deserted, boarded-up building on the property—once used as a candle-making shop—adds to the creepy ambiance. But as Stella explores the shack’s dilapidated walls, she discovers a terrible secret: the skeleton of a Quaker woman, wrapped in blood-soaked clothing and hidden deep within a stone hearth . . .
 
While police investigate, Stella wastes no time asking for help from friends with long ties to Nantucket’s intricate history. But before the case is solved, another life will be claimed—leaving Stella to wonder who in Nantucket is friend, and who is foe . . .

BUY LINKS

15 MINUTES OF FLAME on sale today
AMAZON: https://amzn.to/36W7iLS
B&N: http://bit.ly/37OxUj6
KOBO: http://bit.ly/2OlWwYH
Google Play: http://bit.ly/31i26Aw
BAM: http://bit.ly/2Oj63zy
INDIEBOUND: http://bit.ly/2vKyoIT

23 Thoughts

  1. I’ve never heard of them, Christin – but of course the women would have had a lot to do while the men were out to sea. So many Quakers among them, too.

    All the “everyday” women I can think of are remarkable! My neighbor comes to mind. She has survived a double lung transplant and other maladies, and is tireless at cooking and at sewing and crafting for/with her grandchildren.Best of luck with the new book!

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  2. Fascinating. I’ve not heard of Petticoat Row. The quiet accomplishments of women like these are amazing.

    Jean Raines, my mother by grace, inspires me daily. She faced her life with style and equanimity and rose to every occasion. I miss her daily.

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  3. Congrats on the new book Christin! I missed out on a chance to attend a signing that you were going to be doing with Edith at Titcomb’s Bookshop for Book 2 in the series thanks to the pandemic but hope to have a signed set of books at some point in the future!

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    1. So sorry to have had to cancel the signing at Titcomb’s. One of my favorite events last summer was an event I did there. I love the store. Hopefully we’ll all have another chance to meet there in the future!!

      Meantime, Mitchell’s Book Corner in Nantucket has signed books with candles and book marks in stock for now!

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  4. “15 Minutes of Flame” sounds like an amazing book. Can’t wait for the opportunity to read it.

    So interesting that you wove such an amazing bit of history into the story. It really is true that you don’t know your strengths until tested by fire.

    First one on my list of amazing everyday woman, without a doubt would be my Mom. The wife of a military man, she was use to stepping in and handling everything when her man was out of the picture like when Dad was stationed in Korea for 18 months leaving her with two small children and a home to maintain. Doing all the work on home and yard, keeping the car maintained and clothing (most made by her) and feeding us, she never lose her womanhood and love for family.

    Second woman on my list is my best friend who has always been there for me. She has a high level, highly demanding job, but she’s still a homemaker. Regardless of how busy she is, there is always time for family and friends lending an ear for listening, a shoulder to lean on and a voice of compassion. During the passing of our daughter, the illness of my parents and eventually their passing, through illness and hard life decisions, she’s always been there for me. She’s always made a point of keeping our weekly chats that can go on for ever when I’m needing to talk, laugh or cry. She inspires me to be more compassionate to others and to be there for them as she has been to me because I know what a mark it’s made in my life.

    There are many others which just goes to show that you never know how you may affect others in so many ways – big and small.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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  5. Christin it is so great to see you here! I had so much fun at the Zoom event we did together last spring. I love the information about Petticoat Row. Congratulations on your new book!

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  6. Welcome back, Christin. Since a visit to the Waling Museum on Nantucket decades ago I have been fascinated by the stories of the Quaker women who essentially ran the town when the men were at sea for years at a time. Thank you so much for the recommendation of Sometimes Think of Me: Notable Nantucket Women Through the Centuries and for your book. I have downloaded both!

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    1. You will love Sometimes Think of Me! It’s great. If you have a chance to visit Nantucket again, it’s worth a return to the Whaling Museum. The quaint little building that once served as the museum is now huge and filled with amazing items that bring history to life. And the huge whale skeleton remains 🙂

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      1. I ended up thwarted in my pursuit of Sometimes Think of Me. An Amazon affiliate has one copy for which they want $1000! But I’m sure I will find it. I would love to get back to Nantucket, if we ever get to go anywhere ever again!

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  7. I love mysteries of the past and often include them in my cozies. Congrats on the new release! Nantucket is such an incredible setting.

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  8. I have never heard of Petticoat Row, but now I’m fascinated. I
    Love historical mysteries. Definitely adding this to my TBR list.

    I’ve had quite a few strong women as role models over the years. Some of the best life lessons I learned were from the elderly ladies I volunteered for when I was in my twenties. My pre-school daughter who accompanied me, and is now 50, learned those lessons as well. We are both very fortunate to have known such wise women.

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    1. I agree that we can learn a lot from the older women in our lives. Some of my favorite characters in the Nantucket Candle Maker Mysteries are part of a group of Stella’s candle students, self-named the Candleers. Their leader is a woman named Cherry Waddle who is quite a go-getter herself. Stella is inspired by her commitment to keeping busy and always learning.
      Thanks for sharing your story today. It’s so nice to hear that your daughter was inspired as well as you!

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  9. Welcome, Christin, and what a wonderful post. I always enjoy learning about different women in history, many of whom did not get the credit they deserved until much later. Your series sounds wonderful, and what a cute title for your latest!

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