About the Book
Book: The Finding of Miss Fairfield
Author: Grace Hitchcock
Genre: Historical Romance
Release date: August 29, 2022
When an engagement of convenience becomes anything but convenient . . .
Forced into a betrothal with a widower twice her age, Charleston socialite, Sophia Fairfield is desperate for an escape. But, while her fiancé is away on business, he assigns his handsome stepson, Carver, the task of looking after his bride-to-be. Much to her dismay, Sophia finds herself falling in love with the wrong gentleman—a man society would never allow her to marry, given Sophia was supposed to be his new stepmother. The only way to save Carver from scandal and financial ruin is to run away, leaving him and all else behind to become a Harvey Girl waitress at the Castañeda Hotel in New Mexico.
Carver Ashton has had his life planned out for him since birth, but when he encounters Sophia Fairfield, he glimpses a new life—apart from his overbearing stepfather’s business. But, when the woman he loves disappears before he can express his devotion, Carver abandons all to find her. However, his stepfather has other intentions for Sophia and will stop at nothing until she is his bride . . . even if it is against her will.
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About the Author
Grace Hitchcock is the award-winning author of multiple historical novels and novellas. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in the New Orleans area with her husband, Dakota, sons, and daughter. Connect with her online at GraceHitchcock.com.
More from Grace
Q: What type of fiction do you write? What is it about this type that appeals to you?
Grace Hitchcock: I write historical romance with a dash of suspense, unless it was for my true crime books which have a bit more than a dash of suspense For my American setting novels, The Gilded Age speaks to me as it was a time of change for women. While still having that epic romance feel with balls and dancing and courtships with a sweet romance, women were breaking ground and making history and pairing that with the fact that it was a time of emerging inventions, it is an all-around exciting era to research, read, and write.
Q: Who were the Harvey Girls?
Grace Hitchcock: Whenever I tell people I am writing about a Victorian Harvey Girl romance, they usually assume the Harvey Girls are associated with an old-time saloon, but nothing could be further from the truth. In the 1890s, there were not many respectable jobs for women, so when Englishman Fred Harvey created his chain of fine dining restaurants along the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroads, single women without an education, or in need of earning their own way, were given a chance to earn an honest wage without the speculation that they offered anything else but food as a service. With Mr. Harvey’s strict rules about the waitress’s code of conduct, the women were given their independence while still maintaining their good name and place in society under the protective, fatherly arm of Fred Harvey. These extraordinary, brave women became known as the Harvey Girls, the ladies who tamed the Wild West with fine china, good pie, and exceptional service with complete propriety.
While Harvey Houses were built to serve the needs of the passengers on the rail to encourage tourism in the west, the railroad workers and local townsmen also dined at the restaurant, but usually at the lunch counter. At a time when men filled towns and women were scarce, inevitably, a railroad worker or townsman would express interest in marrying a Harvey Girl. In order to marry, she would need to fulfill her work contract or risk paying a fine of a month of salary. The fine was set in place to ensure that Fred Harvey would have enough workers and that he wouldn’t simply train a girl to have her shipped to a town of bachelors and leave him without a waitress.
As you can probably tell, such a set up sends an author’s head to spinning with all the romance that could come from a woman venturing out on her own in a land filled with cowboys, bandits, ranchers, and farmers. The possibilities for romance are endless! There is so much more I could write about these fascinating ladies and their contributions to society, but I hope you enjoyed this taste of history on the Harvey Girls!
Q: What are your publications? And what are you currently working on?
Grace Hitchcock: After signing with The Steve Laube Agency in 2015, I sold three novellas to Barbour Publishing and then, in March 2019, I released my debut novel, The White City, from Barbour Publishing and signed for a second novel, The Gray Chamber.
My latest release, His Delightful Lady Delia, concludes my 3-book American Royalty series for Bethany House Publishers and hit the shelves in November 2022.
This spring, I signed with Kregel Publications for my first ever REGENCY series!!!! I am thrilled for this dream come true!
While I wait for its release, I’m keeping busy editing and writing book two in my Harvey Girls Aprons & Veils series, The Pursuit of Miss Parish.
The Pursuit of Miss Parish summary:
Love’s gentle promise becomes nothing more than a withered dream.
With dreams of love and a hope for belonging, shy Belle Parish leaves her position as a maid in Charleston to travel to New Mexico with her best friend to become mail-order brides. Colt Lawson’s letters hold great promise and while his devilishly handsome face matches his picture, something does not add up. Discovering his lie only moments before they wed, Belle flees the church and straight into the Castañeda Hotel Harvey House. Giving up the prospect on ever marrying, she dons her nun-like uniform and focuses on her role as a Harvey Girl waitress until a strong, former Texas Ranger rides into her life.
Colt Lawson didn’t want to send that letter to Belle Parish in the first place, but her first response had all but captured his heart. When he is left standing at the altar alone, he is left with two choices—either release his dream of a love marriage, or attempt to win her heart. Wooing her would be a lot easier if that Texas Ranger wasn’t back in town. Who wants a dusty rancher with a past when she could have a shining knight in a Stetson?
While you wait for The Pursuit of Miss Parish to release in Summer 2023, please be sure to check out book one in my brand-new Harvey Girl series set at the historical Hotel Castañeda, The Finding of Miss Fairfield, a tale about Charleston socialite who is on the run from an engagement of convenience.
Happy reading, friends!
This has been such a fun book to read. I loved following Sophia as she stepped out of her comfort zone to find happiness. How sad it was to know her father was willing to sacrifice her future in order to grow his business. As they say, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” That scripture fits this story so well. Sophia has always had the best of everything but it didn’t bring her joy. The thought of marrying a man twice her age was heartbreaking to her. I applaud her for venturing out and finding her independence.
Carver is a true gentleman who is honest and humble. I love how the author uses him to illustrate that treating others with respect are important. He is smitten with Sophia but there is a little matter of who her father has chosen to marry her that may cause problems for Carver. I enjoyed how Carver never gave up trying to find Sophia when she slips away from home.
I love reading about the Harvey Girls and how polished they must be at all times. Sophia has a lot to learn but I liked that she didn’t mind the hard work. I laughed at how much they were paid. No one could survive on that salary today. It surprised me how many young women wanted to be part of The Harvey Girls. Their reputation does demand respect however and that does help the women who want a better life for theirselves. Some of the women were not thrilled to have Sophia on the team and we see jealousy rears its ugly head. Such pettiness and pride was distasteful to read.
The author does include a great lesson on fear and trusting God. It can be hard to take that leap of faith, but when you do you you are set free. There are underhanded things that go on in the story which will show that forgiveness is necessary so no bitterness sets in. The ending is not what I expected so I wonder if my questions will be answered in a future book.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. My review is my own opinion.
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To celebrate her tour, Grace is giving away the grand prize package of $50 Amazon gift card, a signed copy of the book, a bookmark, and a book magnet!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
This sounds like a really wonderful story. The Harvey Girls are an interesting subject.ReplyDelete
Deana, Thank you for sharing your excellent review. I'm looking forward to reading this novel.ReplyDelete
I’ve read another story about Harvey Girls from Karen Witemeyer. Looking forward to these as well.ReplyDelete