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?
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For as long as I can remember I have been a fan of the musical, The Harvey Girls – starring Judy Garland and Angela Lansbury. So anytime I get the opportunity to read a book chronicles the tales and adventures of the Harvey Girls, I am ready to read. This was the case for the book, On the Rails. The story starts off like many stories do with a girl in love with a boy, and she believes and anticipates him asking her to marry him.
Unfortunately, on the night Katherine Newman believes Henry is going to propose to her, he instead tells her he no longer wants to court her. Totally devastated, Katherine is encouraged by her mother, a former Harvey Girl, to take a position at a Harvey House in Williams, Arizona. Her mother feels Katherine needs to get away from the prying eyes and wagging tongues of their small town. While all this is going on, we are giving small insights into the world of Henry, his family, and his family’s circumstances. These brief insights provide an abundance of information about Henry and his family.
Katherine leaves home and everything familiar to cross the country to her new job. She quickly settles in and makes friends with her roommate. When circumstances cause the Head Waitress to leave, Katherine is promoted to Head Waitress. Imagine her surprise when her former intended’s sister winds up in Williams, Arizona as well to work at the same Harvey House. At first, Katherine has a hard time dealing with this new twist. One of my favorite parts of the book is when the two girls accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
Then through more twists and turns, Katherine’s family come to know Jesus Christ as well. Finally, in the largest plot twist, Katherine and Henry find themselves together again and wind up actually getting married.
I loved how the book was not a simple romance story, but instead told the struggles and experiences that lead to the two finally coming to know the Lord individually before coming together to become one.
So if you love historical fiction and/or want to find out more about the Harvey Girls and their way of life, check out this book for yourself.
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.
Just the Write Escape, January 31
Blossoms and Blessings, February 1
Mary Hake, February 1
Bibliophile Reviews, February 2
Texas Book-aholic, February 3
Connie’s History Classroom, February 4
Janices book reviews, February 5
The Mimosa Blossom, February 6
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 6
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, February 7
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, February 7
A Baker’s Perspective, February 8
Moments, February 9
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 9
Vicky Sluiter, February 10
Through the Fire Blogs, February 11
Carpe Diem, February 11
Godly Book Reviews, February 12
margaret kazmierczak, February 12 (Interview)
Maureen’s Musings, February 13
Bigreadersite, February 13
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