May is around the corner, and with it will be the release of Threadbare, the prequel to In the Hands of Women, the rags to "riches" story of Tillie, Hannah's older sister, and based on an imagined life of my great-grandmother, Mathilda. The memory of Mathilda was lost in the annals of time, having died of a 'woman's disease' sometime before my father was born in 1923. Not one living relative could remember her name. So, I wove the few facts I could gather to craft a life journey for her.
I love the cover - it's chock full of symbolism, visually providing clues to Tillie's journey from a German Jewish immigrant in 1866 to a successful businesswoman. The broken thread represents the disruptions in her journey - poverty, epidemics, personal loss, antisemitism, and fighting the gender-oppressive norms of that time. But, like all satisfying reads and great heroines, she digs deep within herself to find the strength to forge ahead.
Tillie's story holds personal significance as she most likely died of breast or ovarian cancer. As a cancer survivor and likely recipient of her genetic mutation, I wanted to know what the medical world could offer over a century and a quarter ago. Coupled with my fascination with medical history, I hope to immerse my reader in a setting that is both illuminating and gives us reasons to be grateful for our current medical advances. Having lived through COVID will provide extra insight and empathy for the plagues our ancestors faced, not the least of which was tuberculosis. More to come on that later.
In the meantime, if you're local to NYC, consider the following book event for yourself and friends:
• Lower East Side walking tour and book discussion (email me directly if interested) DATES: March 26, April 4, May 1 (sold out). We will explore New York's Lower East Side's significant landmarks and immerse ourselves in the world where my characters lived and worked. Will end the tour at the Eldridge Synagogue for a tour and book discussion.
And I continue to book in-person and virtual book clubs and events if you're looking for an author! Just email me at email@example.com