In my last article, I reviewed the first book in the series, When Love Calls, that focused on the oldest sister, Hannah. In this review, I'll tell you about Charlotte, the middle sister and the second book in the series, While Love Stirs.
Each of these books is categorized as a historical romance. While that is true, the stories are so much more than simple romance novels. They are about women who must survive in a time that females were not expected, in many cases not even allowed, to work outside of the home. They each must find a niche that will allow for an income and is acceptable in their society.
While Love Stirs Book Synopsis
While Love Stirs
(The Gregory Sisters Book #2)Although an independent thinker like her sisters, Charlotte Gregory's interests follow a more traditional role for a woman in the 1910's. She loves to cook! Believing that the only job for her would be a chef, or chef's assistant, she heads to a renowned restaurant in a local hotel. After all, she is a graduate of Fannie Farmer's School of Cookery. Surely an esteemed hotel/restaurant establishment would recognize her value and give her a chance.
After being directed to the side entrance of the hotel designated for unaccompanied women, she quickly discovers the head chef's "not a chance" attitude toward a woman being employed in the kitchen.
Then, when she visits her sister in the hospital, she is disgusted with the lack of concern for proper nutrition for the patients. She tries to explain to the doctor how the right meals could help patients get well sooner, but she is once again met by the steel wall of male dominance and superior thinking. Not to mention the hospital's very limited budget and inability to make changes.
Dejected, distressed, yet still determined to get a job cooking, Charlotte returns home to consider what other options might be available to her. When she finds a newspaper article advertising a contest being hosted by the gas company promoting gas ranges, she believes she has found her answer. If she can just win that contest, surely she would be recognized as a real chef with an education in nutrition and be able to find suitable employment. But, there are other women who wish to win that contest too and will stoop to deceptive levels to accomplish their own personal goals.
And, that is the limit to how much of the plot I will divulge. You will simply have to read the book to find out what happens!
My Thoughts & Opinion of "While Love Stirs"
I admit, it had not occurred to me that a woman would have trouble finding a job as a cook in the 1910's. This book gave me a new appreciation for the plight of a single women who did not wish to be forced to marry just to survive. I believe I have taken the vast opportunities for granted in my lifetime. I've always had the right to vote, I've always been able to wear comfortable clothing, I've always been allowed to walk through the front doors of public places, I have always been able to get a job when needed, and I was most certainly allowed to make my own marriage decision.
While this series has been entertaining to read, it has also been somewhat educational and thought provoking. I knew the history of the suffrage movement, the history of fashion in America, and the history of etiquette. But, I still found it enlightening to read how it could have affected individual lives. I have no doubt the real life stories would be far worse since there is not always a happy resolution in reality.
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