Called to Justice (A Quaker Midwife Mystery)
2nd in Series
Midnight Ink (April 8, 2017)
Paperback: 312 pages
Kindle ASIN: B01FOR0YRW
Quaker midwife Rose Carroll is enjoying the 1888 Independence Day evening fireworks with her beau when a teenaged Quaker mill girl is found shot dead. After a former slave and fellow Quaker is accused of the murder, Rose delves into the crime, convinced of the man’s innocence. An ill-mannered mill manager, an Irish immigrant, and the victim’s young boyfriend come under suspicion even as Rose’s future with her handsome doctor suitor becomes unsure. Rose continues to deliver babies and listen to secrets, finally figuring out one criminal – only to be threatened by the murderer, with three lives at stake. Can she rescue herself, a baby, and her elderly midwifery teacher in time?
Re-creating Everyday Life
My Quaker Midwife Mysteries take place in a bustling New England mill and carriage factory town in the late 1880s – which happens to be the town I live in. The family my midwife Rose Carroll lives with resides in my house, or the way my house was when it was brand-new and built for workers who toiled in the textile mill a block down the hill. By now it has had two additions to the back, but the heart of the home remains.
We bought this house five years ago, and my boyfriend has renovated the entire structure, right down to the studs. We now have new plumbing, new wiring, insulation, smooth walls and ceilings, but we kept the original wide pine floors and the window and door trim. We’ve tried to keep the additions reminiscent of the period when the house was built, so the kitchen has old-timey looking subway tiles for backsplash, as does the bathroom.
We opened up the kitchen to the sitting room, and I love to perch on the couch and gaze into the kitchen, imagining Rose and her teenage niece Faith cooking and cleaning for the family. But what would it have looked like back then? This is a modest three-bedroom house, not a big fancy Victorian with maid’s quarters and a deluxe dining room.
I have visited several museum homes of the period. One was Orchard House, where the Alcott family lived. It’s only an hour from my home. I also stayed at living history farmhouse in Maine where the public is invited for 24-hour live-in experiences, from the wood cookstove to the chamberpot under the bed! And I often peruse Miss Parloa’s New Cook Book and Marketing Guide, where she speaks extensively of what a hygenic kitchen needs.
Rose’s kitchen would have had a wide soapstone sink and running water from a pump. The wide wooden table would have been used for food preparation as well as eating meals, and the cabinet space would have been limited. They might have had gas lighting on the walls, but not yet a gas stove. Certain places in town were starting to be electrified, but definitely not Rose’s home. Refrigeration would have been an icebox. The door to the outside was fitted with a screen door beyond, a new invention that did wonders for keeping the bugs out but letting a breeze circulate in a hot July when Called to Justice takes place.
The family did hire out the washing, and by Book Three in the series (Turning the Tide, 2018) Rose has convinced her widower brother-in-law to hire a kitchen girl, too. Rose has a busy midwifery practice, and Faith works full time in the Hamilton Mills, and Rose argued that it wasn’t fair to either of them to have to do all the housework, too.
I also often think of the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, which I read several times over as a child. Those stories take place primarily on the prairie and the frontier, certainly, but many of the everyday household tasks would have been the same.
Readers: Do you have any fabulous late Victorian research sources? Knowledge of everyday life from back then? Please share!
About the Author
Agatha-nominated and Amazon best-selling author Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife series, the Local Foods Mysteries, the Country Store Mysteries (as Maddie Day), and the Lauren Rousseau Mysteries (as Tace Baker), as well as award-winning short crime fiction. Maxwell lives north of Boston with her beau and three cats, and blogs with the other Wicked Cozy Authors.
check out the other blogs on this tour
April 5 – Community Bookstop – REVIEW
April 5 – My Journey Back – REVIEW
April 6 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
April 6 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW, GUEST POST
April 7 – Shelley’s Book Case – REVIEW
April 7 – Books,Dreams,Life – INTERVIEW
April 8 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
April 8 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
April 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
April 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, GUEST POST
April 10 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
April 10 – View from the Birdhouse – SPOTLIGHT
April 11 – Rainy Day Reviews – REVIEW
April 11 – Island Confidential – GUEST POST
April 12 – Book Babble – REVIEW
April 12 – Queen of All She Reads – REVIEW
April 13 – Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting – REVIEW
April 13 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
April 14 – Leigh Anderson Romance – REVIEW
April 14 – Author Annette Drake’s blog – SPOTLIGHT
April 15 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
April 15 – deal sharing aunt – INTERVIEW
April 16 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW, GUEST POST
April 16 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT