Thursday, April 21, 2016

   

Stephanie Carroll has given us a truly amazing gift and I can't wait to see this one as a movie. A brilliant debut novel and I look forward to reading more of her writing. Thank you for a beautifully crafted tale. - Amazon UK Review

A White Room Made No. 1!!!

I totally loved this book. It's been described as being similar to Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper, ... Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, and Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. Though I concur that all that is true, I go further by being reminded of why the gothic writing work and home remind me of Nathaniel Hawthorne's House of the Seven Gables ... and some of the works of V.C. Andrews, such as Flowers in the Attic. She gives us a gothic feel reminiscent of Daphne de Maurier's works. - Amazon US Review

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If you enjoyed A White Room or Legacy, show your support and help me find new readers by posting a review on Amazon or Goodreads today! 

(On Amazon just click the "customer reviews" link next to the star rating and it will take you to the reviews where you can click "write a review.")

Thank You!!! 
Your time and support means so much to me!

In the end, I just really loved this story. I enjoyed watching Emeline's transformation, and seeing her challenged. I really liked the progression of her and her husband John's relationship. Supporting characters like Lottie and Ethel were well-developed, and the characters who conspire against Emeline are creepy and self-serving, yet possibly redeemable.Guys, if you want some realistic historical fiction that deals with difficult issues, that doesn't allow a love story to overcome the plot, and that has you really feeling for the characters involved, go and read this right now. - Goodreads Review



A White Room Won!


Shelf Unbound Magazine Notable Page Turners & Favorite Cover! Pg 36 & 40
“The best historical fiction makes you forget it’s fiction and forget it’s historical. Reminiscent of The Yellow Wallpaper, this book shows with alarming clarity what life was like for women before the modern age freed us of so many restraints … absolutely mesmerizing.”—Eileen Walsh, Ph.D. U.S. Women’s History, University of San Diego

USA Book News 2013 Best Book Award Cross Genre Category
A novel of grit, independence, and determination ... Despite the consequences, Emeline defies society’s expectations in her endeavor to help others, risking not only her marriage, but her reputation—and ultimately, her freedom. An intelligent story, well told.” 
—Renée Thompson, author of The Plume Hunter and The Bridge at Valentine


Appearance on Authors & Artists



Q&A and Reading on Central Valley Talk




Fans of The Yellow Wallpaper will love this debut from Stephanie Carroll because it's about a woman feeling her house is alive and that other people are living in it. I, for one, couldn't put the book down but was also reading with the covers up to my chin and all of the lights on. It's not because the book is scary but because I could absolutely understand why Emeline was losing it. I could have sworn that my own walls were watching me ... - Barnes and Noble Review

Watch My Very First Book Reading!

Are Women Really Just Crazy?
Check out my talk on how Victorian Hysteria has Affected our Society's Perception of Women

Don't Forget to Check out the Fire Section!
In addition to being an author, I am also a fire dancer! Betcha didn't expect that, did you?



Confession: How I'm Coping with Generalized Anxiety

The First Bird Back by Lulu Lovering via Flickr cc.
My Confessional Series Explained. 
March 30, 2016

Inspired by Confessional Poetry I’ve decided to start my own confession series although I don’t do poetry, so I’ll just be dishin’ it. I am not an open person. Most people who know me know very little about me. 

I am guarded because I am terrified not to be. Nevertheless, I’ve decided to open up, and to all people, I’ve decided to open up to all of you.

Why? Because maybe some of the secrets I’m keeping are similar to some of the secrets you are keeping and maybe by sharing, I can somehow be of some help.

Deep breath, okay . . . here I go . . .

How I'm Coping with Generalized Anxiety Disorder

So last time in Confession: I was Recently Diagnosed with an Anxiety Disorder, I explained that I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I talked about what exactly that is and how it feels to have an episode, but now I’m going to tell you how I’m coping with it.


This is written based on my personal experiences. What is discussed here should not be considered a medical opinion of any sort.

Therapy
As I said last time, I was diagnosed by a therapist/psychologist, and I continued to see my therapist for about ten months. You can find lots and lots of general coping techniques online and in books, and I do recommend checking those out, but the therapist helped me dissect my values and thought patterns and approach my anxiety with techniques tailored specifically for me.

Therapy is a strongly recommended part of dealing with an anxiety disorder. It's recommended to try it before trying medications, and it's also suggested to use along medications. It's also something that many people are often hesitant about because they are afraid of what it says about them to be seeing a therapist. 

I felt this way myself and it took things getting pretty bad before I went. After having gone though, I can say two things: one, it's really easy to keep therapy a secret, and two, appearing sane is not worth being miserable.

God
More Good Foundation via Flickr cc.
Shortly after my diagnosis I was researching anxiety, and I found an article that basically said people with anxiety don’t trust God. Now, I actually don’t believe that at all, but when I read it, it was like a slap in the face. Whether it was true or not in general, it was true for me. I realized that over the past decade, one by one, I had stopped trusting in the Bible, in prayer, in church, in believers, and in God and Jesus.  

After crying on my knees for a while, I then created a plan to reconnect with and trust in God again. It was a slow progression starting with prayer and researching my questions regarding religion and spirituality for a couple of weeks and then finding a church and eventually joining a Bible study group and volunteering. This was a gradual progression over several months. 

Reaching out to God might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for me, this was an important part of my progress because by redirecting my life back to God, I changed certain values that were causing me to have anxiety. 

For example, I had been putting my work and personal goals first in my life, but when I achieved them I felt no sense of satisfaction or self-worth, and I was constantly anxious about an overwhelming sense of purposelessness. By refocusing on God, and by putting Him first in my life, I realized what was really important and by trusting in God, I have less fear in general.

These two books really helped me with that process:

Books on Anxiety
From the start, I did a lot of research. I researched anxiety on Google and my therapist recommended some books, and I found the following particularly helpful:

This book is awesome because it’s designed to let you create your own personal plan to cope with and manage your anxiety. It provides explanations of negative thought patterns and ways to deal with them. It has worksheets to help you think through irrational fears and come up with solutions to problems that seemed unsolvable. It’s really useful for a variety of struggles, not just anxiety.

This book is nice because it focuses on anxiety and provides in-depth and targeted solutions.

A huge part of anxiety is self-esteem because being afraid all the time means you don’t have confidence in yourself.

Meditation/Mindfulness
I have found a lot of benefit from practicing mindfulness and mindfulness meditation.

Freedom by Lauren McKinnon via Flickr cc.
Quick definitions: Mindfulness is simply the practice of observing your own thoughts. Human beings are thinking machines, and we think without realizing what we are thinking all the time, like we are on autopilot. This is how anxiety can feed upon itself, through negative and fearful thoughts that you don’t even realize you have. 

With mindfulness, you practice paying attention to your thoughts, so you can be aware and then stop those negative patterns. It’s not as easy as just deciding to do it though. It requires practice through . . . 

Mindful meditation is taking the time to sit and practice being aware of your thoughts. This is how you gain the skill of being aware of your thoughts at other times. This is also the common first step in traditional eastern meditation, and that’s where the study and practice of mindfulness originates from. Psychologists did a whole bunch of experiments and found out how helpful it is for a variety of mental struggles. 

Eastern meditation also encourages gaining the ability to stop thinking all together and living in the present moment plus other beliefs and philosophies that are too extensive for this post. 

Mindful meditation is my number one tool for combating my anxious episodes. When I realize I'm having one I go and do a mindful meditation practice. The ones I do from Mindfulness:An Eight Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams, DannyPenman are only like five minutes or less. I got the audio book so I can listen to the guided meditations. 

Here's why it works. Two issues create an anxiety episode for me, first negative, fearful, and irrational thoughts start cycling in my mind (the steroid hamster). Then, those thoughts trigger my fight or flight response over and over, and my body is pumped full of adrenaline, which causes my heart and mind to race. Meditation combats both of these problems. By focusing on my breath (a common basic of meditation) I can actually relax my body and end the fight or flight response. Then I can focus on my thoughts and uncover whatever it is that is causing that stimulus. Hamster intervention. 

Another great book I found on meditation and mindfulness is The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle.

Anti-Depressants   
Happy by Luciano Zanardo via Flickr cc.
All of the stuff I discussed above really helped and continues to help with my anxiety, but after more than six months of trying, I still felt like anxiety was winning every single day. I knew techniques but once I had an episode, I couldn’t get control. In the moment, I would think: “I’m having an episode, I need to—” but then that thought would fly out of my head and be replaced with all the unstoppable steroid hamster thoughts.

I had all the normal fears about anti-depressants: Will it make me a drone? Will it make me too happy, and I’ll do something crazy? Will I have to be on it forever?

When I finally did take it, the results were surprising. It worked! I feel better, not only happier and less stressed but also normal. I just feel like me when I’ve been happy in the past, except for the first time in my life, that happiness doesn’t seem so fleeting. My husband agrees that I don't seem off or different, just normal.

Was my anxiety cured? No. It’s for life baby! Anti-depressants don’t cure anxiety, but they make it easier to cope with. Before, I struggled with stopping in the middle of an episode but ever since taking the anti-depressants, I can stop and say, “Hey, this is anxiety. I’m going to go meditate.” I still have anxious episodes, but when I do it doesn’t affect me as badly or cause me to stress out the way I used to. It’s helping. 

So How Am I Coping? 
Happy by Paula Satijn via Flickr cc.
The type of anxiety I have isn’t something that gets cured. It’s something I will have to manage for the rest of my life. Some days I don’t succeed, but with everything that I’m doing I’m having more and more success than ever before, and more importantly, for the first time in years I feel like my life is getting back on track, back where things feel right and I’m not afraid, worrying, or feeling like something is wrong all the time. 

Sure I’ll always have to work on it, but so far learning how to has made my life better in more ways than one (getting back to God, reevaluating life values, learning how to relax, etc.), and I think it’s going to keep getting better, and I’m pretty happy about that.  


Confession: I've Been Diagnosed with an Anxiety Disorder

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


My Confessional Series Explained. 
March 30, 2016


It’s the type of poetry Sylvia Plath was known for, and it involved the author revealing extreme or traumatic experiences, things that were considered taboo to talk about or things that had been kept secret by the writer.

I’ve decided to start my own confession series, but I don’t do poetry, so I’ll just be dishin’ it. The fact of the matter is that most people who know me know little about me. I am guarded because I am terrified of being vulnerable.  

Perhaps, this is true of most people—maybe it’s not unique. Nevertheless, I’ve decided to open up, and to all people, I’ve decided to open up to all of you. This is my Confession Series.  

Why? Because maybe some of the secrets I’m keeping are similar to some of the secrets you are keeping and maybe by sharing, my secrets can somehow make yours a little easier to bear.

Deep breath, my stomach is full of butterflies . . . this is honestly me exposing myself with my most personal struggles, things I never reveal to people . . . okay . . . here I go . . . 


Confession: I was recently diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

Panic Anxiety 301 by Alessandra via Flickr cc.
Yes, we’ve all heard of it, but it’s more than what most people think. Most people associate anxiety with panic attacks. I don’t think I’ve ever had a panic attack. What I have is more . . . well, general.

Don’t freak out if any of this sounds familiar to you. Everyone has normal levels of anxiety, so we’ve all experienced it. That doesn’t mean we all have anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders are only diagnosed when anxiety becomes so overwhelming it interferes with daily life for a prolonged period of time.

This is written based on my personal experiences. What is discussed here should not be considered a medical opinion of any sort.

Here’s a quick clarification of the types of anxiety, so it’s clear what I’m dealing with and not dealing with. People can have anxiety about something specific Phobic Anxiety or have something happen to them that causes a specific anxiety Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They can have compulsions, as in Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or they can have panic attacks in response to physical sensations, which is a Panic Disorder. Finally, they can have fear about almost anything in general hence Generalized Anxiety Disorder and of course any combination of one or more.

Finding Out I Had a Problem

Some people get anxiety in response to something that happened to them and others are prone to it due to their personality – the latter is my case. I’ve kind of always had anxious tendencies; however, I didn’t know that these were abnormal, and they aren't necessarily, not until they become a problem. The only thing is when you have always had anxious tendencies, it's not obvious that something is wrong when it gets out of control. You just keep living with it.

Stress by Bernard Goldback via Flickr cc.
It didn’t happen overnight either. I had been struggling for years with this feeling like something was wrong, and I spent about a year being tense and frustrated, feeling like I couldn’t handle day to day responsibilities. Every day, I pushed through feeling like I was barely making it, like I might explode by the end of the day every day, and when I just barely survived, I had to start all over the next day.

I actually thought I might be depressed, but something about what I was experiencing didn’t seem like depression, so I found other explanations related to stress because that’s the main result of anxiety is constant stress. I was unhappy and something was corroding important areas of my life like my work and my relationships.

Finally, in June 2015, I went to a psychologist who diagnosed Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and I’ve been working on learning how to manage it ever since. Unfortunately, this type of anxiety isn’t one that you can get rid of or be cured of. It’s for life baby!

It kind of makes sense because the characters I write about struggle with mental illness and feelings that are related to if not actual reflections of anxiety, especially in A White Room, but also to some extent in my next novel The Binding of Saint Barbara

What’s It Like?

It’s not as obvious as you would think. It’s not like panic attacks, so it’s hard to recognize when I’m having it. Sometimes I don’t realize I’ve had an episode until it’s finally over and then I look back and hit myself in the head for not seeing it. Other times, I realize it but can’t do anything about it because that’s part of what it does to me—it makes me freeze.

I’m sure others experience it differently, but for me, I feel stuck. It’s not that I can’t move or unable to think—it’s that I am unable to make decisions or take mental action. This frozenness means that I struggle to get work done or to get anything done. I’ll get stuck on something even if I know it’s not productive or not going well, and I'll get more and more wound up because I know something is wrong but I can't stop it. A lot of times I’ll flutter around trying to settle on what I’m doing, overwhelmed with this sense of urgency to do something, but I am too overwhelmed to actually do anything. Or I just feel this stress building and building until I snap at someone or something. Sorry husband.


There is a mental aspect and a physical aspect to this. The mental aspect is that my anxieties, worries, and fears have taken over my mind, and it’s like a hamster on a wheel, a super hamster injected with super steroids. You can’t stop that hamster!

The physical aspect is the fight, flight, or freeze response. You’ve probably heard about fight or flight, and not freeze, but you actually are familiar with it. It’s what a deer does when threatened, also possums, and apparently anxious writers. So while my mind is racing, my body is also gearing up to be eaten by a lion or . . . what eats possums? Polar Bears! Okay moving on, so my heart starts pumping, blood is rushing, my body is tensing, and I need to do something, but I can’t do anything.

This might not sound like end of the world stuff and it’s not. It might even sound like something you’ve experienced yourself, but the big difference is that I and others in similar situations can experience it throughout the day, every day, for months or years, and in response to everyday things that shouldn’t cause such a response. 

Possum by Glen_e_Wilson via Flickr cc.
Also, unlike the deer or possum who get over it and move on with their lives, generalized anxiety hops from one fear to the next, so this mental and physical stress meant to last only a short period of time can last for hours upon hours. Even if I eliminate the original fear that caused the stress response, I won’t eliminate the anxiety because it will just latch onto another fear.

The long term effects are not only problematic physically but also mentally, emotionally, and socially.

So How Am I Coping?

Find out next week with my next Confession.

Author Stephanie Carroll Talks Women's Historical Fiction on Central Valley Talk

Monday, March 21, 2016

Check out this video to hear about my novel A White Room and my short story "Forget Me Not" featured in Legacy: An Anthology as well as my forthcoming novel The Binding of Saint Barbara, and to hear more about my Women's History Month Reading Celebration! Recommend your favorite women's history reads, fiction or nonfiction to be included in the article.


Celebrate Women's History Month with Books!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Women's History Month is fantastic when you are in college, but the rest the time it's like, whohoo, but how to celebrate?

I had a fantastic idea, choose one book that has a focus on women's history! Fiction or Nonfiction! 

And here are my recommendations! This list is based on my personal favorite Women's History reads. It spans a wide range of cultures and histories, but I want to keep adding to it it so ... 

Post your recommendations on my Facebook page or Twitter and I'll add them to my list! Scroll to the bottom to see reader recommendations!

A Madness so Discreet by Mindy McGinnis


Grace Mae is already familiar with madness when family secrets and the bulge in her belly send her to an insane asylum—but it is in the darkness that she finds a new lease on life. When a visiting doctor interested in criminal psychology recognizes Grace's brilliant mind beneath her rage, he recruits her as his assistant. Continuing to operate under the cloak of madness at crime scenes allows her to gather clues from bystanders who believe her less than human. Now comfortable in an ethical asylum, Grace finds friends—and hope. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who will bring her shaky sanity and the demons in her past dangerously close to the surface.

The Secret Life of Anna Blanc by Jennifer Kincheloe

It's 1907 Los Angeles. Mischievous socialite Anna Blanc is the kind of young woman who devours purloined crime novels—but must disguise them behind covers of more lady-like books. She could match wits with Sherlock Holmes, but in her world women are not allowed to hunt criminals.

Determined to break free of the era's rigid social roles, Anna buys off the chaperone assigned by her domineering father and, using an alias, takes a job as a police matron with the Los Angeles Police Department. There she discovers a string of brothel murders, which the cops are unwilling to investigate. Seizing her one chance to solve a crime, she takes on the investigation herself.

If the police find out, she'll get fired; if her father finds out, he'll disown her; and if her fiancé finds out, he'll cancel the wedding and stop pouring money into her father's collapsing bank. Midway into her investigation, the police chief's son, Joe Singer, learns her true identity. And shortly thereafter she learns about blackmail.

Anna must choose—either hunt the villain and risk losing her father, fiancé, and wealth, or abandon her dream and leave the killer on the loose.

Purchase the book at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Penguin Random House, Kobo,  Tattered Cover, and wherever books are sold.

To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace

For Fans of Downton Abbey!

From the Gilded Age until 1914, more than 100 American heiresses invaded Britannia and swapped dollars for titles--just like Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, the first of the Downton Abbey characters Julian Fellowes was inspired to create after reading To Marry An English Lord. Filled with vivid personalities, gossipy anecdotes, grand houses, and a wealth of period details--plus photographs, illustrations, quotes, and the finer points of Victorian and Edwardian etiquette--To Marry An English Lord is social history at its liveliest and most accessible.

Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross

For a thousand years her existence has been denied. She is the legend that will not die–Pope Joan, the ninth-century woman who disguised herself as a man and rose to become the only female ever to sit on the throne of St. Peter. Now in this riveting novel, Donna Woolfolk Cross paints a sweeping portrait of an unforgettable heroine who struggles against restrictions her soul cannot accept.

Brilliant and talented, young Joan rebels against medieval social strictures forbidding women to learn. When her brother is brutally killed during a Viking attack, Joan takes up his cloak–and his identity–and enters the monastery of Fulda. As Brother John Anglicus, Joan distinguishes herself as a great scholar and healer. Eventually, she is drawn to Rome, where she becomes enmeshed in a dangerous web of love, passion, and politics. Triumphing over appalling odds, she finally attains the highest office in Christendom–wielding a power greater than any woman before or since. But such power always comes at a price . . .

The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende

The House of the Spirits brings to life the triumphs and tragedies of three generations of the Trueba family. The patriarch Esteban is a volatile, proud man whose voracious pursuit of political power is tempered only by his love for his delicate wife, Clara, a woman with a mystical connection to the spirit world. When their daughter Blanca embarks on a forbidden love affair in defiance of her implacable father, the result is an unexpected gift to Esteban: his adored granddaughter Alba, a beautiful and strong-willed child who will lead her family and her country into a revolutionary future.

One of the most important novels of the twentieth century, The House of the Spirits is an enthralling epic that spans decades and lives, weaving the personal and the political into a universal story of love, magic, and fate.


In Nell Lillington's small Midwestern town of the 1870s, marriage is the obvious fate of a young woman of some social standing. Yet Nell is determined to elude the duties and restrictions of matrimony. So when she finds herself pregnant at the age of 17, she refuses to divulge the name of the father and even her childhood friend Martin is kept in the dark.

Nell's stepfather Hiram sends Nell to live at the Poor Farm of which he is a governor, to await the day when her baby can be discreetly adopted. Nell is ready to go along with Hiram's plans until an unused padded cell is opened and two small bodies fall out.

Nell is the only resident of the Poor Farm who is convinced that the unwed mother and her baby were murdered, and the incident prompts her to rethink her decision to abandon her own child to her fate. But the revelations to which her questions lead make her realize that even if she manages to escape the Poor Farm with her baby, she may have no safe place to run to.


In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she’s painted a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. 

As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on fans, compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together, they endure the agony of foot-binding, and reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

The Glitter and the Gold a memoir by Consuelo Vanderbilt 
Consuelo Vanderbilt was young, beautiful, and heir to a vast fortune. She was also in love with an American suitor when her mother chose instead for her to marry an English Duke. She sailed to England as the Duchess of Marlborough in 1895 and took up residence in her new home―Blenheim Palace. She was the real American heiress who lived long before Downton Abbey's Lady Grantham arrived.

Mme. Balsan is an unsnobbish and amused observer of the intricate hierarchy both upstairs and downstairs and a revealing witness to the glittering balls, huge weekend parties, and major state occasions she attended or hosted chronicling her encounters with every important figure of the day―from Queen Victoria, Edward VII and Queen Alexandra to Tsar Nicholas and the young Winston Churchill.

The Glitter and the Gold is a richly enjoyable memoir is a revealing portrait of a golden age now being celebrated every week behind the doors of Downton Abbey.

An American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin


Be careful what you wish for. Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the twentieth century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash, whose family mansion in Newport dwarfs the Vanderbilts', suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England. Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals. Money, Cora soon learns, cannot buy everything, as she must decide what is truly worth the price in her life and her marriage.

Witty, moving, and brilliantly entertaining, Cora's story marks the debut of a glorious storyteller who brings a fresh new spirit to the world of Edith Wharton and Henry James.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

An Inconvenient Wife by Megan Chance

AN INCONVENIENT WIFE is a rich blend of suspense, social history (America in the 1880s), and passion. Chance delivers a powerfully written page-turner about a woman's struggle to escape the confines of her time, class, and gender.

Stephanie's note: I was a little disappointing in the brief description of this book because it deals with the same themes as my own, hysteria. This book focuses on the hypnosis and vibration treatments women received as well as the often-times misdiagnosis of a woman who was simply unhappy as opposed to being mentally ill.


"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Based on the author's own experiences, 'The Yellow Wallpaper' is the chilling tale of a woman driven to the brink of insanity by the 'rest cure' prescribed after the birth of her child. Isolated in a crumbling colonial mansion, in a room with bars on the windows, the tortuous pattern of the yellow wallpaper winds its way into the recesses of her mind.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was America's leading feminist intellectual of the early twentieth century. In addition to her masterpiece 'The Yellow Wallpaper', this new edition includes a selection of her best short fiction and extracts from her autobiography.



In kitchens and living rooms, in garages and labs and basements, even in converted chicken coops, women and girls have invented ingenious innovations that have made our lives simpler and better. Their creations are some of the most enduring (the windshield wiper) and best loved (the chocolate chip cookie). What inspired these women, and just how did they turn their ideas into realities?

Features women inventors Ruth Wakefield, Mary Anderson, Stephanie Kwolek, Bette Nesmith Graham, Patsy O. Sherman, Ann Moore, Grace Murray Hopper, Margaret E. Knight, Jeanne Lee Crews, and Valerie L. Thomas, as well as young inventors ten-year-old Becky Schroeder and eleven-year-old Alexia Abernathy. Illustrated in vibrant collage by Caldecott Honor artist Melissa Sweet.

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hofman

Over five years in the writing, The Dovekeepers is Alice Hoffman’s most ambitious and mesmerizing novel, a tour de force of imagination and research, set in ancient Israel.

In 70 CE, nine hundred Jews held out for months against armies of Romans on a mountain in the Judean, desert, Masada. Only two women and five children survived. Based on this tragic and iconic event, Hoffman weaves a spellbinding tale of four extraordinary bold, resourceful, and sensuous women, each of whom comes to Masada by a different path. Yael’s mother died in childbirth, and her father, an expert assassin, never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker’s wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her young grandsons, rendered mute by their own witness. Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and expert marksman who finds passion with a fellow soldier. Shirah, born in Alexandria, is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power.

The lives of these four complex and fiercely independent women intersect in the desperate days of the siege. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets — about who they are, where they come from, who fathered them, and who they love.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

The Piper family is steeped in secrets, lies, and unspoken truths. At the eye of the storm is one secret that threatens to shake their lives -- even destroy them.

Set on stormy Cape Breton Island off Nova Scotia, Fall on Your Knees is an internationally acclaimed multigenerational saga that chronicles the lives of four unforgettable sisters. Theirs is a world filled with driving ambition, inescapable family bonds, and forbidden love.

Compellingly written, by turns menacingly dark and hilariously funny, this is an epic tale of five generations of sin, guilt, and redemption.


Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, situated on the bleak Yorkshire moors, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before; of the intense relationship between the gypsy foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw; and how Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class. As Heathcliff's bitterness and vengeance at his betrayal is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book -- a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-first birthday they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and with very little to go on, "Nell" sets out on a journey to England to try to trace her story, to fi nd her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell's death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled. At Cliff Cottage, on the grounds of Blackhurst Manor, Cassandra discovers the forgotten garden of the book's title and is able to unlock the secrets of the beautiful book of fairy tales.




Reader Recommendations!!!

Author Kate Raphael recommended: 

Marie Equi by Michael Helquist 

Marie Equi explores the fiercely independent life of an extraordinary woman. Born of Italian-Irish parents in 1872, Marie Equi endured childhood labor in a gritty Massachusetts textile mill before fleeing to an Oregon homestead with her first longtime woman companion, who described her as impulsive, earnest, and kind-hearted. These traits, along with courage, stubborn resolve, and a passion for justice, propelled Equi through an unparalleled life journey.  

Equi self-studied her way into a San Francisco medical school and then obtained her license in Portland to become one of the first practicing woman physicians in the Pacific Northwest. From Pendleton, Portland, Seattle and beyond to Boston and San Francisco, she leveraged her professional status to fight for woman suffrage, labor rights, and reproductive freedom. She mounted soapboxes, fought with police, and spent a night in jail with birth control advocate Margaret Sanger. Equi marched so often with unemployed men that the media referred to them as her army. She battled for economic justice at every turn and protested the U.S. entry into World War I, leading to a conviction for sedition and a three-year sentence in San Quentin. Breaking boundaries in all facets of life, she became the first well-known lesbian in Oregon, and her same-sex affairs figured prominently in two cases taken to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.


Author Steve Masover recommended:

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

In The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery. Spanning much of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker—a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry’s brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father’s money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma’s research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction—into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. Alma is a clear-minded scientist; Ambrose a utopian artist—but what unites this unlikely couple is a desperate need to understand the workings of this world and the mechanisms behind all life.

Historian and teacher Rene Miller Paredes recommended: 

Sappho's Leap by Erica Jong

Sappho's Leap is a journey back 2,600 years to inhabit the mind of the greatest love poet the world has ever known. At the age of fourteen, Sappho is seduced by the beautiful poet Alcaeus, plots with him to overthrow the dictator of their island, and is caught and married off to a repellent older man in hopes that matrimony will keep her out of trouble. Instead, it starts her off on a series of amorous adventures with both men and women, taking her from Delphi to Egypt, and even to the Land of the Amazons and the shadowy realm of Hades.

Erica Jong―always our keenest-eyed chronicler of the wonders and vagaries of sex and love―has found the perfect subject for a witty and sensuous tale of a passionate woman ahead of her time. A generation of readers who have been moved to laughter and recognition by Jong's heroines will be enchanted anew by her re-creation of the immortal poet.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

A decade after the publication of this hugely popular international bestseller, Picador releases the tenth anniversary edition of The Red Tent.

Her name is Dinah. In the Bible, her life is only hinted at in a brief and violent detour within the more familiar chapters of the Book of Genesis that tell of her father, Jacob, and his twelve sons.

Told in Dinah's voice, Anita Diamant imagines the traditions and turmoils of ancient womanhood--the world of the red tent. It begins with the story of the mothers--Leah, Rachel, Zilpah, and Bilhah--the four wives of Jacob. They love Dinah and give her gifts that sustain her through childhood, a calling to midwifery, and a new home in a foreign land. Dinah's story reaches out from a remarkable period of early history and creates an intimate connection with the past.

Deeply affecting, The Red Tent combines rich storytelling with a valuable achievement in modern fiction: a new view of biblical women's lives.



Chanrithy Him felt compelled to tell of surviving life under the Khmer Rouge in a way "worthy of the suffering which I endured as a child."

In the Cambodian proverb, "when broken glass floats" is the time when evil triumphs over good. That time began in 1975, when the Khmer Rouge took power in Cambodia and the Him family began their trek through the hell of the "killing fields." In a mesmerizing story, Him vividly recounts a Cambodia where rudimentary labor camps are the norm and technology, such as cars and electricity, no longer exists. Death becomes a companion at the camps, along with illness. Yet through the terror, Chanrithy's family remains loyal to one another despite the Khmer Rouge's demand of loyalty only to itself. Moments of inexpressible sacrifice and love lead them to bring what little food they have to the others, even at the risk of their own lives. In 1979, "broken glass" finally sinks. From a family of twelve, only five of the Him children survive. Sponsored by an uncle in Oregon, they begin their new lives in a land that promises welcome to those starved for freedom. 15 black and white illustrations.


When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she became a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Published to unprecedented acclaim, The Color Purple established Alice Walker as a major voice in modern fiction. This is the story of two sisters—one a missionary in Africa and the other a child wife living in the South—who sustain their loyalty to and trust in each other across time, distance, and silence. Beautifully imagined and deeply compassionate, this classic novel of American literature is rich with passion, pain, inspiration, and an indomitable love of life.

“Intense emotional impact . . . Indelibly affecting . . . Alice Walker is a lavishly gifted writer.” — New York Times Book Review


Beloved by Toni Morrison

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering achievement.

by Laura Esquivel

Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in tum-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit.


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women is a novel by American author Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), which was originally published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. Alcott wrote the books rapidly over several months at the request of her publisher. The novel follows the lives of four sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March—detailing their passage from childhood to womanhood, and is loosely based on the author and her three sisters. Little Women was an immediate commercial and critical success, and readers demanded to know more about the characters. Alcott quickly completed a second volume, entitled Good Wives. It was also successful. The two volumes were issued in 1880 in a single work entitled Little Women. Alcott also wrote two sequels to her popular work, both of which also featured the March sisters: Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886). 


A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul-they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.



"An absorbing historical romance."—Booklist

"Constance is an engaging, high-spirited heroine . . . A fine historical novel written with verve and fresh imagination."—Horn Book

Runner-up for the National Book Award for Children's Literature in 1969, Constance is a classic of historical young adult fiction, recounting the daily life, hardships, romances, and marriage of a young girl during the early years of the Pilgrim settlement at Plymouth.


First published in 1970. 

Margaret shares her secrets and her spirituality in this iconic Judy Blume novel, beloved by millions, that now has a fresh new look.

Margaret Simon, almost twelve, likes long hair, tuna fish, the smell of rain, and things that are pink. She’s just moved from New York City to Farbook, New Jersey, and is anxious to fit in with her new friends—Nancy, Gretchen, and Janie. When they form a secret club to talk about private subjects like boys, bras, and getting their first periods, Margaret is happy to belong.

But none of them can believe Margaret doesn’t have religion, and that she isn’t going to the Y or the Jewish Community Center. What they don’t know is Margaret has her own very special relationship with God. She can talk to God about everything—family, friends, even Moose Freed, her secret crush.

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous 

First published in 1971.

It started when she was served a soft drink laced with LSD in a dangerous party game. Within months, she was hooked, trapped in a downward spiral that took her from her comfortable home and loving family to the mean streets of an unforgiving city. It was a journey that would rob her of her innocence, her youth -- and ultimately her life.

For thirty-five years, the acclaimed, bestselling first-person account of a teenage girl's harrowing decent into the nightmarish world of drugs has left an indelible mark on generations of teen readers. As powerful -- and as timely -- today as ever, Go Ask Alice remains the definitive book on the horrors of addiction.



All the Nancy Drew Books by Carolyn Keene


Nancy Drew has been solving mysteries, and delighting fans, for over 75 years. Now, for the first time, you can purchase all sixty-four classic Nancy Drew titles in one complete set!

About Author Stephanie Carroll

If this is your first time here, thanks for stopping by my website. I'm a historical fiction novelist. I write character driven stories set in the Gilded Age and Victorian times in America. My novels tend to have magical or Gothic elements. My debut novel A White Room was named the 2013 Best Cross-Genre by USA Book News and was featured as a Notable Page Turner in Shelf Unbound Magazine. 

My short story "Forget Me Not" was recently featured in Legacy: An Anthology and I am finishing up my next novel, which was inspired by the first death by electrocution.

A White Room
When Emeline Evans sacrifices her dream of becoming a nurse and marries a man to provide for her destitute family, her life lacks purpose and her sorrow edges toward madness. Furniture twists and turns before her eyes, people stare out at her from empty rooms, and the house itself conspires against her. Her only solace comes from secretly nursing to the poor despite her new husband who prosecutes unlicensed practitioners.

"Forget Me Not" Featured in Legacy: An Anthology
Legacy: An Anthology features stories on the most human of questions . . . what will you leave behind? Stephanie Carroll’s short "Forget Me Not" combines magical realism and the historical setting of Colma, California, a city where the dead outnumber the living, and tells the story of a young woman who knows that in three days’ time, she will die.  
 
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