Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Join The Coffee Pot Book Club in conversation with author Vicky Adin and enjoy a sneak peek at Lucy #DualTimeline #BookSpotlight @VickyAdin @cathiedunn

Lucy: The Suffragist

The Art Of Secrets

by Vicky Adin

Publication Date: May 14th, 2023
Publisher: AM Publishing New Zealand
Pages: 327
Genre: Dual-Timeline Fiction

Emma’s curiosity is piqued by a gutsy young climate change campaigner with an antique trinket box full of women’s rights badges, but tracing their history pushes her to her limit. 

Struggling to recover from Covid-19, Emma is terrified of developing a chronic and incurable condition and becoming a burden. She tries to ignore her fears and keeps working. She has clients who rely on her. Paige is a spirited environmentalist whose wealthy father tries to curb her enthusiasm. But she is intent on making her mark on the world in spite of him. Emma is torn between untangling the mysteries of Paige’s legacy or saving herself when exhaustion threatens everything she cares about.  

In 1892, twenty-one-year-old Lucy, a dedicated suffragist is determined women shall win the right to vote this time. Since her mother died, she has grown up in the glow of her father’s benevolence. Winning the franchise has become her raison d'être, greater even than her love for Richard. She goes canvassing and is ambushed by a man who undermines her confidence. Conflicted between winning the vote or safeguarding those she loves, she redoubles her campaign efforts. But a moral dilemma puts her future in jeopardy. 

Before we begin, please introduce yourself.

Hi everyone, I’m Vicky, a Welsh born Cornish raised Kiwi. I’m a genealogist, antique lover, wife, mother, grandmother, and all-round nosy parker. I love to cook, especially Mediterranean food and I enjoy a good red wine, travel and reading. But my favourite past-time is delving into the past, looking at old photos, reading old newspapers and discovering those who shaped our world. I’d be delighted if you sign up to my newsletter, where you get snippets of entertaining gossip alongside loads of history and interesting ‘new’ (meaning old and forgotten) words.

What inspired you to write your latest book, Lucy?

Genealogical research. It’s such a mouthful, I wish there was a simpler word for it – but my studies led to the discovery of a searchable record for the signatories to the Monster Suffrage Petition, the third in three years, signed by over 35000 women demanding their right to vote. They were successful in 1893, the first in the world to receive universal suffrage and I was inspired by their determination and fortitude.

What is it about the period of history that you write about that you find so fascinating?

New Zealand is a young country by world standards. Guided by the stars, the oceans and the winds, the Māori arrived here around a thousand years ago, creating traditions and legends that make New Zealand unique. Their footprint was established long before the first shipload of Pākehā (European) settlers arrived after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. From then on, immigrants continued to arrive in their thousands to an untamed land with little infrastructure to create a new and better way of life, and build a nation. These are the people who inspire me. 

Tell us more about The Art of Secrets series?

The Art of Secrets series are dual-timeline stories about finding your roots. Emma is our modern-day protagonist and genealogist who researches other people’s family histories.

Her willingness to help others discover the mysteries of their past sometimes puts her in harm’s way. Yet curiosity spurs her to solve the riddles of her clients’ family trees – even the ones where she is threatened and everything she cares about is put in jeopardy. 

In The Art of Secrets (Book 1) Emma, the journalist, is a broken-hearted young woman who finally comes to terms with the painful truth about herself, thanks to her adversary, Charlotte Day. Some years later, in her role as family historian and biographer of other people’s family histories, a friend asks Emma to find her ancestor, Elinor (Book 2) who lived through the trauma and difficulties of the Depression Years between the two World Wars. 

In Lucy (Book 3) Emma pursues her passion for revealing secrets as she unravels Paige’s intriguing past involving a trinket box full of women’s activist badges and a ‘line of troublemakers’. Pushing aside her family and ignoring her health, her loyalty to her family and friends is tested.

What a fascinating series! Thank you for your time. 

The pair had met several months earlier at her home, of all places. Her father had invited Richard’s father, Mr Harry Harris, a business acquaintance, to supper. She’d had no idea his son would be present, but while their fathers talked business at the other end of the table, she and Richard had held a somewhat stilted conversation about their interests. 
“And what is your role in the business, Mr Harris?”

He smiled a little sheepishly. “Mostly to do as my father tells me, at this stage, but I have ideas for the future.”

To her left, she could hear her father mention something about a joint venture to which Mr Harris senior, loudly enthusiastic, concurred. Lucy wondered what was being set up. She returned Richard’s smile. He was certainly a handsome man, tall and slender, with brown hair and honey-brown eyes, and well dressed but not a fop. She liked what she saw. “And does your father listen to your ideas?”

He took a sip of his wine to choke off a chortle. “Not often, I’m afraid to say. But I’m a patient man, Miss Young. I will bide my time. What about you?”

“My father has raised me to have opinions, Mr Harris. I hope that doesn’t offend you.”

His eyes sparkled across the table. “Not at all. I would be interested to hear your opinion.” 
Did he actually wink? Self-conscious, Lucy shifted in her chair.

“If you don’t mind me asking,” he continued, “what is your opinion of the latest fashions?”
Lucy stared at him, confused. “I give very little thought to fashion. I have a dressmaker who provides me clothes I consider comfortable and she considers becoming. That is all I require. I need much more than frippery to occupy my mind.”

His face lit up. “Do you indeed. Such as?” 

Mr Harris senior’s voice became more voluble with each glass of brandy. Lucy decided they were exploring how the Harris emporium could benefit the Young importing charter.
“I beg your pardon?” She pulled her attention back to Richard.

He dabbed his mouth with his serviette as he finished eating, neatly placing his knife and fork together on the plate. “I was asking what interests you have.”

“I enjoy my church activities and helping at the charity stalls. Bicycling when the weather is fine. Most of all, I enjoy talking with Father about the business and politics.” 

Richard tilted his head to one side and raised an eyebrow, but his expression was one of surprise rather than censure. “How interesting. Go on.” He leant forward to listen more intently.

Encouraged, Lucy took a deep breath. If any arrangement was to develop between their fathers, and by extension, the two of them, then he had to know how passionate she was about securing the vote. “My time is mostly consumed by the campaign for Women’s Franchise.” She crossed her fingers under the table and hoped he wouldn’t take against her.

“Since there is wine at the table, I am presuming you are not a prohibitionist. Either that, or you have no influence over your father at all, which would surprise me greatly.” […]

“No. I am not a prohibitionist,” Lucy answered, drawing her attention back to the young man across the table. “Although I do believe in moderation and propriety. But I also believe it is time women had the vote. And I am doing everything in my power to achieve the franchise.” 

“Such as what, precisely?” Was he seriously interested in what she did, or was he probing so he could belittle her efforts? 

Lucy raised her chin slightly. “Mostly, I write letters. To as many individuals and organisations as possible to encourage their support. I attend meetings, and listen to the speakers and follow their suggestions, and I have been known to accompany Mrs Daldy, the League’s President, to collect signatures for a petition. But enough about me, Mr Harris. What is it you do on a daily basis?” Two could play at that game.

“Nothing as important as you, I assure you,” he replied. “I seem to spend my days doing paperwork, utterly boring paperwork. Our accountant does the figures, our storeman balances the stock, my father charms the clients, and I am left ” he turned his head to look glumly at his father, “… with little.”

He sounded if not resentful, certainly exasperated as he continued to look across at the two men at the other end of the table with longing.

“Tell me about your company,” she said, endeavouring to draw his attention away from his father’s disregard.

He shook his head slightly, as if to bring his mind back to the conversation at hand. He looked sad and his voice was flat. He fiddled, spinning a spoon around against the tablecloth. “Our outlet is barely more than a warehouse with a glass frontage. Goods are displayed haphazardly. Boxes and crates take up most of the space …. In my opinion, it’s inferior to other stores selling similar goods, but it’s no good talking to Papa about it.”

Lucy did not hide her surprise. “Why ever not? I always tell my father what I think would benefit the business. He sometimes needs a female perspective on what to bring in.”

Richard attempted a smile. “You are fortunate. Papa says when he wants my opinion, he’ll ask for it.”

“Well, I’m asking. What are your aspirations?”

For the next fifteen minutes, he regaled her with his vision of a modern general merchant with electric light, glass counters, display shelves and uniformed staff offering an array of goods to vie with any other similar emporium.

“I congratulate you. They are indeed great objectives. I hope they may come to fruition.”

“What’s that, my dear?” asked her father rising from the table.

“We were just sharing our thoughts on the future, Father.”

“Glad to hear it. Harry and I have concluded our business. Say goodnight, dear.”

They, too, stood, and she bade Mr Harris senior farewell.

Richard took her hand and bowed. “I would be honoured if we could continue our conversation at some other time, Miss Young. I believe you and I have many ideals in common.”

… Her heart leapt. “I shall look forward to the opportunity, should one arise.” 
Could he be the perfect soulmate?

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Vicky Adin

Vicky Adin’s passion is writing inter-generational sagas inspired by early immigrant women’s stories in New Zealand, linked by journals, letters, photographs, and heirlooms.

As a genealogist and historian, Vicky has combined her skills to write heart-warming novels weaving family life and history together in a way that makes the past come alive.

Delve into the new dual-timeline series, The Art of Secrets, family sagas about finding your roots… or

Become engrossed in The New Zealand Immigrant Collection, suspenseful family saga fiction uncovering the mysteries, the lies and the challenges of the past.

Vicky Adin holds a MA(Hons) in English and Education. She is an avid reader of historical novels, family sagas and contemporary women’s stories and loves to travel. 

Connect with Vicky:

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Pinterest 

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