About the Book
Title: On the Rails
Author: Linda Shenton Matchett
Genre: Historical Romance
Release date: February 6, 2017
Warren, Ohio, 1910: Katherine Newman loves being a teacher, but she loves Henry Jorgensen more, which is why she’s willing to give up her job to marry him. But instead of proposing, Henry breaks up with her. Devastated, Katherine seeks to escape the probing eyes and wagging tongues of her small town. A former Harvey Girl, Katherine’s mother arranges for Katherine to be hired at the Williams, Arizona Harvey House. Can she carve out a new life in the stark desert land unlike anything she’s ever known?
Henry Jorgensen loves Katherine with all his heart, but as the eldest son of a poor farmer can he provide for her as she deserves? The family’s lien holder calls in the mortgage, and Henry must set aside his own desires in order to help his parents meet their financial obligation. But when Katherine leaves town after their break up, he realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life. Can he find her and convince her to give their love a second chance?
About the Author
Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, speaker, and history geek. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry and has lived in historic places all her live. Linda is a member of ACFW, RWA, and Sisters in Crime. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a trustee for her local public library.
Guest Post from Linda
My husband and I were fortunate to be able to take a trip to Arizona several years ago. Having been born and raised on the east coast, I was enamored with the distinctive beauty of the state, from the saguaro cacti of Phoenix and red rocks of Sedona to the volcanic landscape of Flagstaff and multi-colored bands of the Grand Canyon.
But what intrigued me just as much as the area’s beauty were the stories about the women who migrated to the state to work for the Fred Harvey Company. Upon our arrival at the Grand Canyon we came upon the El Tovar Hotel, one of the few remaining Harvey Houses. We were given a bit of literature explaining the history of Mr. Harvey and his restaurants, and the more I read, the more I wanted to know.
As it turns in the late 1800s, food was not available to travelers riding the railroad lines, so when the trains made extended stops, passengers would get off and eat at the restaurants located near the stations. From all reports, the dining experience was sketchy at best, with frequent stories of indigestion and food poisoning.
Enter English immigrant and restauranteur, Fred Harvey. Securing a contract with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, he began with two facilities. However, finding reliable employees proved to be difficult. A high percentage of the employees (all men) would use their paycheck to purchase liquor and then did not return to work for several days. At his wits end, Fred decided to hire women to act as his waitresses, but the concept was a tough sell. The only women in the hospitality industry worked in saloons and had scandalous reputations.
Fred set up dormitories overseen by a House Mothers and implemented a set of rules that included curfews, restrictions on dating, and dress codes. He ran advertisements in the large east coast newspapers. It was not long before candidates came knocking. The reasons they gave for wanting to be a Harvey Girl were as diverse as the girls. Some were looking for adventure, others needed to help fill the family coffers, while a number of them needed to get out of difficult situations ranging from domestic abuse to failed engagements.
Thanks to Fred and his restaurants, most of the 100,000 Harvey Girls found financial stability, confidence, happiness, and/or love. It is my hope that On The Rails commemorates these gals and their intrepid spirits.
The author sure knows how to write a story that keeps readers entertained. The story was fascinating and I learned so much about the Harvey Girls. I don't think I knew anything about them before but after reading this story I was very intrigued by them. It seemed like the perfect place for Katherine to get a job after her heart was broken. She wanted to get away and start a new life.
Katherine goes to Arizona to hopefully get over the pain in her heart. The rules were very strict to be a Harvey Girl. I loved all the details and the author made me feel like I was there among the diners. Katherine takes her job serious, but she still thinks about what she left behind. I was happy to read that Katherine was making friends because she sure was no fun to be around. Her bitterness and pride really was prevalent especially when someone from her hometown comes to Arizona.
At the heart of the story is Henry who broke up with Katherine. He is in the background through most of the story, but Katherine's bitterness stems from unresolved issues with him. He may have hurt her, but perhaps it was the only thing he could do in order to mature. I liked him because he was honest.
The best part of the story is near the ending. There is a strong element of faith in this section. I did enjoy reading how several characters came to know Jesus. It was a bit over the top at times but as a new Christian I suppose you are excited about the new beginning you have. The book deals with forgiveness and pride which really go hand in hand. I wasn't surprised at the ending and I did find it a bit rushed. Overall good story but I wanted more dialogue between Katherine and Henry when they first see each other after several years.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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To celebrate her tour, Linda is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d8a4/on-the-rails-celebration-tour-giveaway