Sunday, January 29, 2023

Sunday Snippet: The Anarchist's Wife by Margo Laurie #HistoricalFiction #SundaySnippet #TheCoffeePotBookClub @margo_writing @cathiedunn

The Anarchist’s Wife

A Novella of the 1920s Sacco & Vanzetti Case

by Margo Laurie


Publication Date: October 24th, 2022
Publisher: Calleia Press
Pages: 180
Genre: Historical Fiction

In 1920, anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were accused of a robbery and double murder at a factory in Massachusetts.

The case became one of the most notorious miscarriages of justice of the twentieth century. The Anarchist’s Wife is a poignant historical fiction novella which reimagines this American tragedy from the perspective of Rosa Sacco. 

There were a few minutes, before proceedings started, when I could take you up to the cage. It was not really a cage, more like an ornate box pew, a masterpiece of local metalworking, for those accused of murder to sit in. Each morning, I would go up to give your father a morning kiss and find out how he was. I would offer you up, sitting you on the balustrade of this cage. He would fuss over you until you were a gurgling heap of happiness.

Your father was handcuffed to Bart, who was handcuffed to a policeman. If your father pinched your cheeks or stroked your hair, Bart’s left hand would be dragged along as well. Sometimes, you would shift your attention along the bench and get fixated on Bart’s walrus moustache, wanting to tug at it.

Your laughter would hoot and echo around the courtroom before ending in a chuckle. That last bit would drag on longer than expected, like a drunk with hiccups. You were irresistible. Even Judge Thayer was thawed a little. Once during recess, he said that your father had permission to leave the cage and play with you. You sat on the floor in your white cotton dress, plump legs sticking out, leaning forward, staring delightedly at your papa. Every half-remembered trick was wheeled out: pulling faces, ear-waggling, shadow hands and peekaboo. You were a good audience. The best. While you were laughing, we gazed at you. Your happiness was such a performance.

Margo Laurie

Margo Laurie studied history at university and is a member of the RNA's New Writers’ Scheme. She lives in the North West.

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