Edith here, with a report on a huge honor Delivering the Truth and I had bestowed on us.
The book is set in my town of Amesbury in 1888. Imagine my surprise and delight when the John Greenleaf Whittier Home Association, which maintains the famous abolitionist poet’s home a few blocks from where I live, asked if “it would be all right” if they featured Delivering the Truth as an All-Community Read this summer. They planned to culminate the summer of reading – about Quaker midwife Rose Carroll solving an arson and two murders – with a staged reading of the four scenes in the book where Rose meets with Whittier.
Um, yeah! It would be SO all right, and I told them so. The Amesbury Public Library signed on to co-sponsor the All-Community Read, and my publisher donated twenty copies of the book to the library to put into circulation.
I kicked off the summer of events with a talk during Amesbury Days at the Art Show about my research for the series. Recently I’m repeated my historical walking tour of town in my Quaker dress (see a video of highlights from the first one here). In July the Whittier Home hosted a book discussion group, and there will be another one at the library next week.
Whittier and Rose rehearse
September 10 will feature the staged reading at the the Amesbury Friends Meetinghouse, with actors portraying Whittier and Rose. I’ll be narrating, tying the scenes together, using a script our local Poet Laureate Lainie Senechal wrote based on the book. The actor playing Whittier is two years younger than Whittier's age in the book, and the actress looks exactly like Rose - tall, slim, dark haired, under thirty.
The whole slate of events makes me SO happy.
John Greenleaf Whittier
I also heard that several Amesbury High School teachers are requiring their students to read the book this summer. The teachers asked if I would be interested in talking to the History Honor Society students and the Early College American Studies classes in the fall.
Um, yeah! Of course I’ll come and talk with students about history and writing and whatever else they want to talk about. Another teacher recommended the book as a Summer Reading Faculty Favorite. After I posted a note about these teachers on Facebook, a college teacher in Oklahoma said she’d recommended the book to her Women’s History students.
When I started writing this series, I thought it might appeal to local history buffs and the occasional Quaker, in addition to midwives and fans of historical mysteries. I never dreamed of it going this far, and I’m floating on a cloud.
Readers, have you ever participated in an All-Community Read? Do you know any high school or college teachers who need a fabulous (ahem…) historical mystery set in the nineteenth century for their students?
Note: A version of this post appeared on the Wicked Cozy Authors blog at the end of June.
Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries and the Local Foods Mysteries, the Country Store Mysteries (as Maddie Day), and award-winning short crime fiction. Her short story, “A Questionable Death,” was nominated for a 2016 Agatha Award for Best Short Story.
Maxwell is Vice-President of Sisters in Crime New England and Clerk of Amesbury Friends Meeting. She lives north of Boston with her beau and three cats, and blogs with the other Wicked Cozy Authors. You can find her on Facebook, twitter, Pinterest, and at her web site, edithmaxwell.com.