OVERRIDE

The Shopkeeper's Wife

Noelle Sickels

St. Martin's Press

In 1886 Philadelphia, Hanna Willer begins employment as a maid-of-all-work for Isabelle Martin, the pregnant wife of a prosperous shopkeeper.  Hanna, fresh from her rural home, is a quietly observant and practical young woman.  Isabelle is lonely and restless, dangerously disconted with her life and obsessed with her reckless pursuit of happiness.  Yet despite their differences, the two forge an unconventional friendship.
 
But when Mr. Martin dies under suspicious circumstances, and the evidence points to Isabelle, Hanna finds herself thrust into the midst of a murder trial that becomes a touchstone for the shifting values of modern society.  As she wrestles with her role, she confronts the attitudes that city life has bred in her--attitudes about what is possible between men and women; what is fair and not fair in the lives of her immigrant friends; and what one person can do in the face of large, powerful forces like the press, public opinion, and accepted wisdom.
 
From the rippling effects of the advent of electricity to labor strikes to the very beginnings of the women's movement, Noelle Sickels delivers an enthralling glimpse of the birthing of modern America and the lives that are forever changed in its wake.

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The Shopkeeper's Wife
ONE 
 
THE TRAIN from the country had been late, and the progress of the crowded streetcar was maddeningly slow, traffic being busy and the horses decrepit. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals kept special watch on the street railway lines, but the sad pair pulling our car had escaped their vigilance. As we rattled through the press of trolleys, delivery wagons, omnibuses, and dashing pedestrians, I was repeatedly jostled against my neighbor on the overhead strap; he had had garlic for supper.When, at last, I got off the streetcar, I still
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Noelle Sickels

  • Noëlle Sickels is the author of three historical novels. In Walking West, a cross-country wagon journey in 1852 is viewed through the eyes of the women emigrants. In The Shopkeeper’s Wife, a restless wife and her maid are caught up in a murder trial in 1886 Philadelphia. In The Medium, a young woman on the World War II home front struggles with her troublesome psychic abilities. In all these books, characters wrestle with being true to themselves while engaging in complicated relationships with friends, families, and lovers and responding to the demands of their time in history and their time of life.

    Sickels has published award-winning short stories in magazines and anthologies. A native of New Jersey, she is a retired teacher living in Los Angeles and Ojai, California with her husband and cat. Much of her non-writing time is happily taken up by her three-year-old granddaughter, who also likes good stories.

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    The Shopkeeper's Wife

    Noelle Sickels

    • e-Book

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    St. Martin's Press

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