I had never heard of the women's club movement until I read my great-grandmother's letters, which make it clear that her women's club was an essential part of her life. If you belong to one of the 3000 clubs that still exist in the US, you may know about the origins of your club and that there were 1.5 million women active in clubs in the early 1900s. But did you know that many women's clubs at that time did not allow discussion of suffrage at their meetings? The question of whether women should get the vote was too controversial.
To March or to Marry is a meticulously researched historical novel that tracks the lives of Abbie (based on my great-grandmother) and her friend Louise. They meet at a literary women's club but clash when Louise quits to help organize a suffrage march.
I'd love to meet with your club, in person or online, to talk about how both suffragists and clubwomen changed society and how crises in women's lives, from domestic violence to lack of information about birth control, shaped the women's rights movement.
Contact me at violetsnow77 [at] gmail [dot] com.
With its themes of female friendship and developing women's rights, TO MARCH OR TO MARRY is a fertile source of discussion for book clubs. The literary women's clubs of the past, which have a central role in the novel, have much in common with the book clubs of today.
As Abbie and Louise negotiate the difficult waters of emerging feminism, they reveal how women's clubs, hugely popular in the early 1900s, intersected and sometimes conflicted with the suffrage movement, while changing society's attitudes towards women at a deep level.
I'm happy to address your club, either in person (if practical) or via videoconference, to answer questions and talk about the book.
Click here to download a PDF of discussion questions. See the Homepage for a summary of the plot.