Emma Pierce, the quintessential “new woman” of the early 20th Century, is the confidante and “right hand man” to her father, the head of a prestigious educational institution in upstate New York. She writes speeches and letters for him, and mingles with the great leaders and thinkers of the day, from Theodore Roosevelt to Mark Twain. In this rarefied world, she struggles to balance her father’s expectations with her growing sense of independence --a balance that is tested when she meets Caleb Johnson, the charismatic son of a revivalist preacher, whose views on religion are anathema to her father’s free-thinking sensibilities. The test proves too severe, and Emma finds herself estranged from her father, separated from Caleb, and embarking on an ambitious career as a magazine writer in New York. It is there that her skills serve her best. Emma is assigned to cover the case of a soldier returning to America from the brutal guerrilla war in the Philippines. He has been court-martialed for violent crimes against civilians and faces a 20-year prison sentence. But the case is personal. The convicted soldier is Caleb Johnson, who is refusing to talk about the events that resulted in his conviction, and Emma, as determined as ever, vows to discover what led this honorable man to commit atrocities.
BRIGHT MORNING STAR
Tom Coffey, author