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The Fifth Avenue Artists Society

As a young girl, the author would listen to stories told about her family in earlier times. She became so intimately involved with the characters and relations, that she began to add her own fillers to their life stories. Evenings were spent at home talking about events and times, and often the stories of her Grandparents and great Aunties and Uncles, wove their way into the conversation.

 The author developed an intense interest in her kin and their motives for events that happened. No Wonder! They were an amazingly talented family. One was a pianist who played with a symphony orchestra, one was an artist, one was a milliner of great renown, and one a teacher. The author chose to write about the writer, who struggled for recognition in a male dominated area.

 Virginia, or Ginny, was based on the character of Alice, Ms Callaway’s great,-great- aunt, who wrote small reviews for a newspaper. Ginny’s family was close. Their father had died, and mother struggled to keep things going, but the children all earned an income and would help out. Ginny had loved the boy next door, Charlie.

 They had such a close understanding of each other, and had been together since childhood, that a marriage proposal was expected. It came as a tremendous shock, when at a party thrown by Charlie’s Mother, the proposal was made, but to a wealthy girl. Even though later Charlie had told her that his mother had given him no choice but to marry into money, Ginny was devastated. Her brother told her that to survive heartbreak she must sit down and bury herself in writing.

 Ginny did this and was stunned when she found she had a completed manuscript to present to a publisher. It was then that her brother Franklin introduced her to the Fifth Ave Artists Society, where men and women artists actually mingled, with the aim of supporting and helping each other. Amazing and heady stuff! It was during this time of enlightenment that Ginny’s brother, Franklin, began to bring home money and buy expensive gifts for the family. This was a halcyon period for them until things began to go wrong. Because of Franklin’s naivety, a trail of disasters began.

 This is an Historical fiction, set in 1876, written and researched about the times in the Bronx in New York. It is a romance, a book of female enlightenment, and the beginning of choices for women. It looks at differing needs of individuals within a close family, and also looks at areas of forgiveness. It is quite fascinating to look at this from a modern perspective, especially when it is your own family who behave in certain ways. Patterns emerge, and names from the past are used to keep the memories of those long gone, alive. Such talent, love and heartbreak, in a very special family, make for enjoyable reading.


AuthorJoy Callaway
PublisherAllen & Unwin
DistributorAllen & Unwin
ReleasedDecember 2016