The Delafield & Malloy Investigations Series
The Whispering Women
The Burning Bride
Secrets and Spies
by Trish MacEnulty
Publication Date: September 6th, 2022
Publisher: Prism Light Press
Genre: Historical Mystery
Can two women get the lowdown on high society?
“Two powerless young women must navigate a soul-crushing class system and find the levers of power they wield when they combine their strengths. These women may have been taught to whisper, but when their time comes, they will roar.”
– 5 Star Amazon Review
Louisa Delafield and Ellen Malloy didn’t ask to be thrown together to bring the truth to light. But after Ellen witnesses the death of a fellow servant during an illegal abortion, Louisa, a society columnist, vows to help her find the truth and turn her journalistic talent to a greater purpose.
Together, these unlikely allies battle to get the truth out, and to avenge the wrongful death of a friend.
What will our heroes do when their closest allies and those they trust turn out to be the very forces working to keep their story in the dark? They’ll face an abortionist, a sex trafficking ring, and a corrupt system determined to keep the truth at bay.
“If you like historical fiction and if you like mysteries, this one is for you!”
– 5 Star Amazon Review
Was change possible in 1913?
To find out, read THE WHISPERING WOMEN today!
From the Drawing Room to the Streets:
Women Claiming Power in the 1910s
by Trish MacEnulty
The 1910s are a fascinating period in women’s history. For upper class women, the Gilded Age was getting rusty, and many women gleefully discarded the societal rules which had previously governed every aspect of their lives. For lower class women, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911 galvanzied action to unionize and organize.
In between were the intellectuals, the artists, the activists, and the professional women, all striving for equality in a world where they weren’t even allowed to vote.
One of the aspects of women’s changing roles that I incorporated into The Whispering Women, the first book of my series, is the push for suffrage, especially by women of privilege. In this effort, they were joined by women of all classes. In Gilded Suffragists, Johanna Neuman documents the role of New York socialites in employing their wealth and leveraging “their social celebrity for the right to vote, seeking the political power of their class that was denied them because of the gender.”
This push for suffrage resulted in the Women’s March of 1913 in Washington D.C., two days be-fore Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration when 5,000 women confronted about a quarter of a million spectators. Police stood by as the crowd of mostly men jeered at the women and even physically attacked them. The sympathetic press the suffragists received as a result of this abuse only helped their cause.
In researching the Women’s March of 1913, I came across two novels on the topic: The Accidental Suffragist by Galia Gichon (Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing) and The Women's March: A Novel Of The 1913 Women Suffrage Procession by Jennifer Chiaverini (HarperCollins). The first is about a woman from the tenements who gets swept up in the cause of suffrage after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. The second book focuses on three historic figures in the fight for women’s suffrage: Alice Paul, Ida Wells Barnett, and Maud Malone.
Although they are written as novels, both books provide a wealth of information about the women who conceived of and organized the 1913 march as well as plenty of historical details to give you a real sense of what it was like to be fighting for the right to vote, all while being beaten, groped, and mocked.
A great source for background on the suffrage movement is the Hilary Swank movie, Iron-Jawed Angels, which is more about the horrors perpetrated on the women hunger strikers when they were thrown in jail for protesting, but it gives a vivid sense of these women and their passion for suf-frage.
I also read quite a few nonfiction accounts on the Internet, but what really gave me a sense for the feel of the march was participating in the Women’s March on Washington in 2017. There’s noth-ing quite like that feeling of being surrounded by a huge number of people — all so different, dif-ferent ages, different ethnicities, different genders and sexual preferences — all voicing a demand for peace, for respect, and for recognition.
The Women’s March of 2017 in Washington D.C. and cities all across the world took place the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. According to an article in The Independent: “Somewhere between 3.3 million and 4.6 million marchers made their presence known across the United States, yet no arrests were reported at the largest protests across the nation in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., New York, Chicago or Seattle.”
The Women’s March of 1913 was not so large and perhaps not so diverse, and yet those marchers also came from different classes, different educational and work backgrounds, and different reli-gious belief systems. There were Black women and White women, society women and domestic workers, marching together — if not always side by side. Regardless of their origins and their backgrounds, a shared passion united the marchers.
The Women’s March of 1913 is only one aspect of my book, but I found the research fascinating. Here’s an excerpt from my novel, The Whispering Women.
Then the march began. A band at the front played a rousing march. The women stood four across and walked steadily up the broad avenue along the streetcar tracks toward a domed building. Alongside the marchers, crowds lined up behind a wire cable. A bubbly, happy feeling welled up inside Ellen as she marched shoulder to shoulder with her delegation behind Inez Milholland, who could have been Joan of Arc. They were too far back to see her, but just knowing she was there seemed to inspire this army of women. Ellen only hoped Inez had a gentler fate than the saint. They hadn’t gone far when the march simply stopped. They were next to a large building with a sign for the New Occidental Hotel that advertised an “electric grill room.” Ellen looked around, wondering why they were stopped.
“What’s going on?” a voice cried out.
“Why are we stopped?”
Bodies pressed around her. Word came back from the front lines that the spectators were no longer held back by the wire cables. They came in so thick that the procession could not pass. Ellen stared at the burgeoning numbers of watchers — mostly men, a sea of brown suits.
“Go home and make supper!” a man shouted, his mouth twisted in rage.
Foot by foot the woman moved forward, but the crowd grew thicker with every block. The women, who were walking four to a line, shrank together, shoulders touching. Men cat-called and laughed. The press of bodies began to feel suffocating.
“Where are the police?” Hester asked.
“They’re not doing anything,” an angry woman yelled.
Sure enough, a policeman stood at the edge of the crowd with his arms crossed, laughing with the men who shook their fists and hollered at the marching women.
“You need a man to teach you how to be a woman? I’ll teach you,” a young man screamed at them with a hideous leer on his face.
Suddenly the men surged forward, and she felt someone shove her hard from behind. She dropped her sign. She wheeled ready to fight and saw a phalanx of men, laughing and jeering and pushing the other women back. Ellen was trapped like a hunted fox, surrounded by baying hounds.
The series is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.
The Whispering Women
Delafied and Malloy Investigations Series Links:
Trish MacEnulty has written novels, short stories, journalism, children’s play, and memoirs. Like her great grandmother and her protagonist Louisa Delafield, she once even wrote a society column. A former professor of English at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina, Trish now lives in Tallahassee with her husband, two dogs, and a cat and teaches for the School of Journalism at Florida A&M University. She currently writes book reviews and features for the Historical Novel Review.
When not writing or walking the dogs, she can be found gathering chanterelle mushrooms, cooking, or going out with her husband to hear her stepson’s jazz performances. Her daughter attends law school while managing policy for a criminal justice non-profit organization.