Please join me in congratulating Deborah Rafferty Oswald on the re-release of The Girls of Haviland and Beyond Haviland with brand new covers designed by me! Deborah had cute original covers for both books, but they weren't quite hitting the mark for an older teen audience, so I had the pleasure of helping her create new covers better suited to her target audience.
Before & After:
On the morning of September 2, 1918, the day before fourteen year old Jay McKenna is to leave home to attend the upscale Haviland Seminary for Girls on scholarship, she witnesses a girl falling to her death from a biplane flying over the family farm. Jay is shaken to learn that the girl, Violet Crane, was supposed to start at Haviland as well.
Jay is frightened to attend the school where the news will be nothing but the stunning events that happened on her property. Yet she knows she must leave home. With her three brothers fighting in the Great War raging overseas, Da holds the remaining family hostage with his violent temper.
As the “new girl,” and daughter of struggling immigrant farmers, Jay struggles to find her place at Haviland. She becomes the target of bullying and coercion. While Jay suspects the musically gifted and beautiful Nathalia is behind this, her complaints fall on deaf ears. Thankfully, she befriends Florence, the tough, determined newcomer ostracized because of her skin color. Can Jay learn from Florence how to stand on her own and fight for justice? Can the girls solve the mystery of Violet Crane’s death? Can Jay save her family?
On September 21, 1919, fifteen-year-old Jay McKenna returns to Haviland Seminary for Girls to begin her junior year, only to discover that her bed has been taken by her obnoxious former roommate, Evangeline, due to a post-war surge in enrollment. With the dormitory filled to maximum capacity, the only lodging available to Jay is at the Fowler House, home to the eccentric sisters Miss Hazel and Miss Tillie. Jay’s new dwelling turns out to be nothing more than a drafty attic, crammed with students under a leaking roof. Jay’s best friend, Florence, insists on joining her in these abysmal living quarters.
Well after midnight on Jay’s first night at Fowler House, the girl in the bed next to her, who slept through the day, sneaks out and returns shortly before daybreak. Jay learns in school that her name is Olive Moody. Olive is secretive and snarly, due in part to her nocturnal nature. Jay becomes increasingly suspicious of Olive’s unpredictable mood swings and her increasingly haggard appearance.
Jay is shocked to receive an invitation to pledge one of the more prestigious, sorority-like guilds at Haviland. She gets swept up in the grueling pledge process. After a particularly brutal pledge challenge, Jay ends up in the school’s infirmary, where Ruth Lefkowitz, political advisor to Governor Al Smith, presents her with an exciting opportunity.
After Jay recovers, Ruth introduces her to the world of Manhattan’s settlement houses, where women work to improve life for immigrants and the city’s poor population. There, Jay meets a surprise visitor from her past. Together they plan for Jay to work undercover to expose an unscrupulous manager in a cigar factory in Brewster. During this daring adventure, Jay discovers Olive’s secret.
The Girls of Haviland and Beyond Haviland are available in ebook and print editions on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Add them to your shelves on Goodreads, and visit Deborah's website for the inspiration behind the series and her posts on historical research.
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