The Girls of Haviland by Deborah Rafferty Oswald
On the morning of September 2, 1918, the day before fourteen year old Jay McKenna is to leave home to attend the upscale Haviland Seminary for Girls on scholarship, she witnesses a girl falling to her death from a biplane flying over the family farm. Jay is shaken to learn that the girl, Violet Crane, was supposed to start at Haviland as well.
Jay is frightened to attend the school where the news will be nothing but the stunning events that happened on her property. Yet she knows she must leave home. With her three brothers fighting in the Great War raging overseas, Da holds the remaining family hostage with his violent temper.
As the “new girl,” and daughter of struggling immigrant farmers, Jay struggles to find her place at Haviland. She becomes the target of bullying and coercion. While Jay suspects the musically gifted and beautiful Nathalia is behind this, her complaints fall on deaf ears. Thankfully, she befriends Florence, the tough, determined newcomer ostracized because of her skin color. Can Jay learn from Florence how to stand on her own and fight for justice? Can the girls solve the mystery of Violet Crane’s death? Can Jay save her family?
Available on Amazon
About the Author
I’m a self published author and elementary school teacher. I’m so very excited for the debut of my first YA novel, The Girls of Haviland. I love nothing more than researching women’s history. I am particularly drawn to the history of the Hudson Valley Region in New York, the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and the World War One years.
The idea for The Girls of Haviland came to me when I saw a picture of students at a private girls’ school taken at the turn of the twentieth century in Carmel, New York. I used this picture and archival articles from a local newspaper to create a historical fiction story that examines issues which will resonate with contemporary readers.
One interesting thing about me is my ability to remember exact dates and details. My friends laugh when I remind them of an outfit they were wearing on a particular day in high school almost forty years ago! I may not remember where I put my glasses this morning, but I can tell you what my brothers and I were served for dinner during the blackout of 1977!
I am currently writing a sequel to The Girls of Haviland, which will send my protagonist, Jay, on an undercover mission to expose dangerous working conditions for women and immigrants.
I am happiest when writing or reading women’s historical fiction outdoors, whether I’m on my front porch or at a beach on the Jersey Shore. I live with my husband, Chuck, and our spoiled Boston Terrier in Putnam County, New York. We have three grown daughters.
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