by Eileen Enwright Hodgetts
Copy provided by author for blog tour.
All opinions expressed are solely my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The year is 1923 and the jazz age is in full swing. Evangeline Murray, a
young widow from Ohio, is recruited by the Women’s Freedom Movement to
represent the spirit of modern womanhood by going over Niagara Falls in a
barrel. Evangeline eagerly embraces her opportunity to achieve fame and
fortune, until she sees the power of the River and begins to understand
the risk she is taking. Joshua McClaren, an enigmatic battle-scarred
veteran of World War I, and the best boatman on the river, reluctantly
agrees to launch the headstrong Evangeline. Joshua has seen hundreds of
bodies surface in the Whirlpool below the Falls, and has faced death on
the battlefields of Flanders and has no respect for the charming,
impetuous Mrs. Murray, and her desire for fame. Before the barrel can be
launched, each of them will have to face their own demons, painful
secrets will be revealed and the Niagara Rivers will claim two more
lives. Inspired by true stories of the Falls, Whirlpool is a romance, an
adventure, and the closest that most of us will ever come to taking the
fateful plunge over the Falls.Whirlpool is a fiction that is based on
reality. Seven people have tried to ride over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
Four have succeeded and three have died. The first person to make the
attempt was Annie Taylor, a middle aged school teacher from Michigan who
made a successful journey in 1901. Barrel riding at Niagara Falls is
now forbidden by law, but at the beginning of the 20th century Niagara
was a haven for daredevils of all types, and many of their exploits are
included in the novel.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eileen Enwright Hodgetts is the author of Whirlpool.
She is a much traveled writer. Brought up in England and Wales, she
has also lived and worked in South Africa and Uganda and now makes her
home in Pittsburgh, PA. Her life experiences allow her to use exotic
backgrounds for her novels and to understand how an adventure can begin
with just one small incident. For ten years she directed a humanitarian
mission in East Africa and is also involved in a Ugandan Coffee Farm.
Much of her writing reveals not only her great fondness for the British
Isles, but also her British sense of humor which still sees the funny
side of most situations.
In addition to writing novels, Eileen Enwright Hodgetts is also an
accomplished playwright with a number of national awards to her credit.
Her novel, Whirlpool, began life as a stage musical playing at the
Niagara Falls Convention Center in Niagara Falls, New York. In 1993 the
Mayor of Niagara Falls, NY, proclaimed the summer of 1993 as Whirlpool
Theater Days in honor of the production.
The author’s award-winning courtroom drama Titanic to All Ships will
open at the Comtra Theater on April 13 to commemorate the 100th
anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. The drama, created under a
Fellowship Grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a dramatic
re-telling of the Senate Hearings into the tragedy. The play has won
several national awards.
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I'm trying to think of the right way to say what I think about this book. The stories about Niagara Falls are fascinating and horrifying all in one. To think of people doing something so foolish appalls me and yet people still do such things today. As for the characters, I found Evangeline both likeable and utterly foolish, but determined. Joshua was a stubborn man, with a brave and caring heart hiding behind a gruff wall. The way they fought and yet came to care about each other was sweet. Cornelia I found utterly irritating and selfish. Iris, hmmm, I'm not quite sure what to think about her. Plotwise, I liked the parts about the falls and the preparations for the 'event.' The problem I had was with some of the subplots and really the problem came because of my own moral standards. The characters did things that I don't believe to be right and so I wasn't comfortable reading those things, but the story certainly was compelling. Note: the book does contain a mild amount of swearing/profanity, some sex (not graphic), and a murder.
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