One of the main reasons I set BLYTHEWOOD in precisely 1911 was because I knew I wanted to use the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. For those of you who don’t know or have forgotten it since your high school history class, the Triangle fire is one of the deadliest industrial disasters in New York History. 146 seamstresses and workers died, most of whom were girls ages 16-23. At the beginning of the industrial age factory conditions were terrible, and one of the reasons so few people survived the Triangle fire is that the managers would lock all the doors and exits while people worked so the seamstresses didn’t take unauthorized breaks or ever step away from their machines. The fire sparked a real change in how workers were treated. The disaster brought to attention a lot of the terrible conditions that factory workers had to deal with before conditions were regulated. It’s a disaster that could really only happen in 1911, and one of the reasons I started the book with it was to root BLYTHEWOODin all the issues triangle fire brings up. So much about BLYTHEWOOD is about the progressive movement, feminism, and the class tensions of the industrial era. Ava is working class girl who has lived through the Triangle fire suddenly being transplanted into a world of privilege, and that’s very hard for her to deal with.
At seventeen, Avaline Hall has already buried her mother, survived a horrific factory fire, and escaped from an insane asylum. Now she’s on her way to Blythewood Academy, the elite boarding school in New York’s mist-shrouded Hudson Valley that her mother attended—and was expelled from. Though she’s afraid her high society classmates won’t accept a factory girl in their midst, Ava is desperate to unravel her family’s murky past, discover the identity of the father she’s never known, and perhaps finally understand her mother’s abrupt suicide. She’s also on the hunt for the identity of the mysterious boy who rescued her from the fire. And she suspects the answers she seeks lie at Blythewood.
But nothing could have prepared her for the dark secret of what Blythewood is, and what its students are being trained to do. Haunted by dreams of a winged boy and pursued by visions of a sinister man who breathes smoke, Ava isn’t sure if she’s losing her mind or getting closer to the truth. And the more rigorously Ava digs into the past, the more dangerous her present becomes.
Vivid and atmospheric, full of mystery and magic, this romantic page-turner by bestselling author Carol Goodman tells the story of a world on the brink of change and the girl who is the catalyst for it all.
About Carol Goodman:
Bestselling author Carol Goodman’s books have been nominated for the IMPAC award twice, the Simon & Schuster/Mary Higgins Clark award, and the Nero Wolfe Award. Her second novel, The Seduction of Water, won the Hammett Prize in 2003. Visit her at carolgoodman.com.
Penguin is giving away a finished copy of Blythewood*! Enter below!
*Must be over 13 | Must be in the US*