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Josephine's Daughter
In the late nineteenth century, Wealthy and headstrong Kit Firestone chafes under the strictures of the Golden City’s high society, especially the interference of her charming but overbearing mother, Josephine. Kit’s secret rebellion leads to potentially catastrophic results and keeps her from finding true happiness. When her brother nearly dies from a dangerous infection, Kit defies convention and becomes a working nurse. Through her troubled romance with a young doctor and a series of dramatic events, including a natural disaster and her mother’s own critical illness, Kit begins to understand who her mother truly is and what their relationship is all about. She may not get the chance to appreciate their bond, however, because, through no fault of her own, a madman has Kit in his crosshairs. Set amidst the backdrop of the Gilded Age and beyond, Josephine’s Daughter explores many of the social and medical issues facing women of that era—issues that resonate today. Independence, reproductive rights, birth control, childbirth, and parenting are all put to the test in Josephine’s Daughter, Book Five of A.B. Michael’s award-winning historical series, The Golden City.
Reviews
Michaels’s fifth book in the Golden City series (after The Price of Compassion) offers a vivid portrait of San Francisco’s Gilded Age through the eyes of Kit Firestone, an impassioned nurse who was born into high society. The story opens in 1893 with 13-year-old Kit angry with her well-meaning but controlling mother, Josephine. Fast forward to age 18, and Kit has a romantic and sexual encounter, learning afterward that her beau had syphilis and has infected her friend, Cecily, and gotten her pregnant; Kit’s insistence on a prophylactic spares her. After caring for Cecily, unconventional and spirited Kit eschews marriage and becomes a nurse. She begins a complicated relationship with Tom Justice, a young surgeon, that intensifies in tandem with dramatic events—the 1906 earthquake, Tom’s arrest for “willful murder” while treating earthquake victims, and her mother’s diabetes. Through alternating narratives of Kit and Josephine, readers learn of Josephine’s youthful involvement in the Black Veil Society, which publicly shamed men who assaulted women, and sense how Kit follows in her mother’s footsteps as an advocate for women’s rights. Michaels is adept at handling medical practices of the time and women’s health topics, such as sexually transmitted diseases and birth control, with sensitivity and intelligence. Part family drama, part romance, Michaels’s tale will satisfy both fans of the series and newcomers alike. (Self-published.)

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