I remember the day she called to say that her book had sold. Her book-- that book-- had found a publisher and her dream was being fulfilled! The book had sold to Doubleday and would be released in a year and a few months.
"That seems so far away," I said.
And she said, "I know."
But then life, as it does, filled in the time between that day and this one. She moved and adjusted to a new life, put her children in school after homeschooling for years, schlepped children to swim team practice and doctor appointments, delved into edits, and ran She Reads with me. We saw each other when we could and talked by phone and online chat when we couldn't. And when we talked, we inevitably reminisced over the highs and lows of that book. I marveled over her belief that this story-- and only this story-- was the one she was supposed to be writing. When even her best friend was telling her, "Give up. Move onto one of your other great ideas."
I think I am proudest of her for not listening to me.
A tantalizing reimagining of a scandalous mystery that rocked the nation in
1930—Justice Joseph Crater's infamous disappearance—as seen through the eyes of
the three women who knew him best.
They say behind every great
man, there's a woman. In this case, there are three. Stella Crater, the
judge's wife, is the picture of propriety draped in long pearls and the latest
Chanel. Ritzi, a leggy showgirl with Broadway aspirations, thinks moonlighting
in the judge's bed is the quickest way off the chorus line. Maria Simon, the
dutiful maid, has the judge to thank for her husband's recent promotion to
detective in the NYPD. Meanwhile, Crater is equally indebted to Tammany Hall
leaders and the city's most notorious gangster, Owney "The Killer"
On a sultry summer night, as rumors circulate about the judge's
involvement in wide-scale political corruption, the Honorable Joseph Crater
steps into a cab and disappears without a trace. Or does he?
39 years of necessary duplicity, Stella Crater is finally ready to reveal what
she knows. Sliding into a plush leather banquette at Club Abbey, the site of
many absinthe-soaked affairs and the judge's favorite watering hole back in the
day, Stella orders two whiskeys on the rocks—one for her and one in honor of her
missing husband. Stirring the ice cubes in the lowball glass, Stella begins to
tell a tale—of greed, lust, and deceit. As the novel unfolds and the women slyly
break out of their prescribed roles, it becomes clear that each knows more than
she has initially let on.
With a layered intensity and prose as
effervescent as the bubbly that flows every night, The Wife, the Maid, and
the Mistress is a wickedly entertaining historical mystery that will
transport readers to a bygone era with tipsy spins through subterranean jazz
clubs and backstage dressing rooms. But beneath the Art Deco skyline and amid
the intoxicating smell of smoke and whiskey, the question of why Judge Crater
disappeared lingers seductively until a twist in the very last pages.
Here's her Pinterest board dedicated to the book.
And so today I celebrate the release of that book-- the one I shook my head over, and wondered where her tenacity came from, her sheer devotion to this story. It was-- it had to be-- God given. And it paid off. If you're in a book club. If you just love to lose yourself in a great story. If you've ever wanted to try a historical novel-- a reimagining of what did happen, and what could've happened, then please choose your favorite way to purchase a book and do so today. (I've listed helpful links below.) I've read the book and it's a great romp through New York in the late 20's, a creative take on one of the most famous missing cases in the US. You'll find yourself reading quickly, just to find out what these women know-- and why each one has chosen to keep silent.
The best place to get the book is at your local independent bookstore. Here's a link to help you find the book that way. And if they don't have it? Ask for it. Don't have an indie near you?
Buy it on Amazon here.
Buy it at Barnes and Noble here.
The day is finally here-- help her celebrate by buying this long-awaited book!