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.
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.
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.
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 . . .
15 MINUTES OF FLAME on sale today
Google Play: http://bit.ly/31i26Aw