In 1902 three very different young women live in the millionaire’s enclave of Morristown, New Jersey. Alice Hastings is an accomplished painter who wants to prove her artistic talents to the world. However, her adoring, devoted widowed father has other plans as he insists she must marry a successful young man from town.
Francesca Dunbar may be of royal lineage and feels superior to the citizens of the small town near New York City. Her exquisitely beautiful mother and powerful wealthy father spoil their only child and harbor a secret that could shake up this small conservative town.
Claire Armstrong loves her horses and will only marry a man who gives her the freedom to pursue her devotion to her horse farm and stables. She comes from a boisterous family of daughters and is head strong. Claire’s father is intent on having at least one of his daughters marry well, but Claire has other ideas.
All three women are members of the elite in this small wealthy town yet each yearns for more. The arrival of a handsome, charming member of the English aristocracy complicates the plans of fathers and daughters alike. To this add an old friend and a surprising new comer and you the formula for an exciting summer. Each young lady finds herself at a crossroads in 1902 as did many women. For Alice, Claire and Francesca it means taking three different paths to finding happiness and so much more.
Five miles down Normandy Heights Road a rather obstinate father was attempting to convince his daughter who should be her husband.
“Of course you’ll marry Richard. The Dickersons are a well-respected family and he makes quite a good living as a banker,” sputtered the tall, handsome man with a ruddy complexion. He’d never considered for a minute that Alice, his only child, would disagree with him.
Colonel Arthur Hastings puffed on his favorite Bavarian pipe and strode around his desk, addressing his daughter as if she were a new recruit in his regiment. “Any other girl would be glad to have such a fine young man wanting to marry them. You’re eighteen and should be settled by now. It’s what your mother would have wanted.”
A flicker of sadness flashed over the Colonel’s face as he softened and seemed wistful, but it didn’t stop him from continuing his well-meaning tirade as he marched around his book lined library.
Alice sat perched on the edge of the brown leather chair, trying her best to control the rage bubbling inside her. Any minute she thought she’d erupt, how dare he orchestrate her life. She didn’t want to marry anyone. Her life was wrapped up in her painting. Though her father thought it a hobby, to Alice it meant so much more. She’d rather spend an entire day painting than go to a tea, or a dance or a ladies club meeting. Somehow she had to make her father understand that marriage was not an option. If she met someone who understood her dream of being a professional painter, then perhaps she would entertain the idea. But she certainly wouldn’t follow the marriage game as she called it and succumb to her father’s wishes. Most of the fathers in town orchestrated their daughter’s lives and advised them who to marry. Unlike political alliances in the past, these marriages were made between families who had known each other for decades and wanted no outsiders in their safe enclave. Alice was determined not to be one of those daughters. She adored her papa but he had to know that she could not bend her will to follow Morristown’s unwritten law of marriage.
Her father seemed oblivious to Alice. It was as if she weren’t even in the room. He just kept rambling on with his argument. “Alice, be reasonable. Richard Dickerson wants to announce your engagement at the Field Club Ball on July Fourth. You could be married in November and settled by Christmas.”
About the Author
Janet Gibbs has researched and written extensively on women’s history. She researched and wrote three biographies for the book, Past and Promise, Notable New Jersey Women, published by Syracuse University Press, 1997. Her 2010 dissertation was a critical biography of Zona Gale, Literary Comet.
Her historical romance, So Much More, is an ebook currently appearing on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. The paperback will appear in January 2016.
She has written non-fiction which has appeared in several newspapers including The New York Times. She was awarded a grant from the AAUW to complete her novel and was asked to read her poetry at the Princeton Arts Center.
Born in England she now resides in Northern New Jersey where she continues to write novels about strong women with a mind of their own. Janet Gibbs can be reached at