Penelope, Queen of Ithaca is a young woman when her husband, Odysseus, leaves home to fight in the Trojan War. Now, nearly twenty years later, she is a woman of mature years who waits patiently for her husband to return. It has been years since the fall of Troy and, alas, she has heard nothing about what has become of her husband. On the island of Ithaca, Penelope is forced by the sacred laws of hospitality to tend to the needs of her guests who never seem to leave.
On 9 July 1764, Ann Radcliffe (often known as Mrs. Radcliffe during her life) was born in Holborn, London. Her parents William Ward and Ann Oates were of humble origins despite the fact that they had some famous connections. Her great uncle was William Cheselden, a surgeon to King George II of Great Britain. On her mother’s side, she was …
At the start of the story, Livia Drusilla is a woman of advanced years who recounts the events of her life. She reminisces about a time when she was a fourteen-year-old girl living under her father’s roof, before she was married. She was the daughter of Marcus Livius Drusus Claudianus, a respectable Roman nobleman who consequently plotted to murder Julius Caesar.
On 5 July 1755, Sarah Kemble Siddons, the famous English actress and tragedienne was born in Brecon, Wales. She was the daughter of Roger Kemble and Sarah “Sally” Ward, the latter for whom she was named. Kemble was the manager of the Warwickshire Company of Comedians, a touring theater company. Sarah belonged to one of the most prominent acting families …
Lady Katherine “Kate” Beresford is a scandalous woman who has failed to find a husband during her first London season. She does what she can to get away from her unwanted admirer, Mr. Elias Catmull, a patronizing and unbearable young man. One evening as she is out with her friend, Christine, she is attacked by a dog that starts biting at the hem of her skirt. A young man with dark hair, tanned skin, and a handsome appearance attempts to stop the dog from nipping at ladies’ skirts. He gives the young woman a handkerchief after she has been bitten before he scoops up the little creature. Despite his helpful nature, he comes across as standoffish and rude.
When tragedy suddenly strikes the Summers family, they have no choice but adapt to the situation. They have lost a beloved husband and father. Now Mrs. Summers and her four daughters (Sarah, Emily, Viola, and Georgiana) face the cruel reality of penury. What are five genteel females to do?
All Mabel MacGinnis has ever known is life in the Manzo Brothers Circus. In 1911, as the strongest woman in Europe, she has quite a reputation. Bram, her father, was a famous strong man. When he dies suddenly, her standing in the circus becomes uncertain. She learns that the mother she thought had died years ago has been alive the entire time. To make matters worse, the truth was hidden from her.
Grace Mockingbird is a teenager living in Jubilee, Kentucky, a coal mining town, with her parents and two siblings: Sissy and Isaac. The middle child in the family, she is often at odds with her prim and proper mother, whom she refers to as Virginia. Virginia’s great ambition is to ingratiate herself with the well-to-do ladies in town.
Maggie’s life is unique. As a time-traveler, she inhabits three different time periods. In 1861, she is Miss Margaret Wakefield, daughter of a well-to-do senator wary of spies during the beginning of the Civil War. In 1941, she is Lieutenant Maggie Hollingsworth, a Navy nurse just before the start of World War II. In 2001, she is Meg Clarke, a promising medical student working at Georgetown University Hospital.
Kathleen O’Dwyer is made of stronger mettle than the average woman. In 1828, she travels west to escape the unwanted advances of a widower, the father of one of her students. Most importantly, she is seeking freedom from society and its expectations of her as a woman. She remembers her brutal upbringing in the Boston slums and the sufferings her mother endured. After accepting a teaching position in Santa Fe in New Mexico Territory, she sets out from St. Louis with a cadre of strange men.