A Lady Newspaperman’s Dilemma by Eileen Joyce Donovan

Posted September 8, 2022 by elzaread in Book Review / 3 Comments

A Lady Newspaperman’s Dilemma by Eileen Joyce DonovanA Lady Newspaperman's Dilemma by Eileen Joyce Donovan
Published by Woodhall Press on September 6, 2022
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Source: The History Quill Book Club
Buy on Amazon

Based on actual events, this story is set in a newspaper office in Eastern Montana in 1926. A time when the American public was obsessed with newspaper horror stories of what most today would consider ordinary murders or other man-made catastrophes. Anything that could contribute to the roar of the Roaring 20’s was commercialized, became sensational news overnight, and newspaper fodder for many days thereafter. Hence, a flood that could destroy a town became a front-page event. More than anything, Alex wants to be a journalist for a major metropolitan newspaper. A field dominated by men. Harriet Quimby and Nellie Bly notwithstanding. Although she’s covered other front-page stories, including a murder of a much loved and respected rancher, this flood will affect everyone living in Sunset Valley, if they survive. When this life changing story falls into her lap, her editor threatens to assign it to a more seasoned male reporter, or maybe cover it himself. Alex becomes frustrated at being cast aside and is determined to hold on to her right to cover the breaking news. Her story will ring true to all women who have been passed over in favor of a male associate, those who didn’t give in and broke through the glass ceiling, and inspire women who are just getting their feet wet in their careers.

It’s 1926. A time of flappers, speakeasies and women who still hardly had a voice of their own. They might not have had a voice, but some of them had big dreams and were willing to take on the world to achieve that.

Alex (Alexandra) is a cocky college graduate who moves to a small town in Montana to take on her first position as a Newspaperman. Thank Heavens journalists don’t have to be called newspapermen any more. Alex, however, was very proud of her title, (“I’m not a lady, I’m a Newspaperman”) and eager to start her journalism career in Sunset Valley, Montana.

The story opens in 1955 with Alex visiting her lifelong friend, Maureen while reminiscing on events happening in the early 1920’s. “Every time I visited Maureen, memories of my brief time in this Montana town overwhelmed me. The town and people hadn’t changed at all, but I had.”

Still trying to figure out her lodgings, transport and surroundings in the unknown small town, Alex is thrown in the deep end on her very first day when a shootout at the local courthouse thrusts her in the lead reporter role. Not that she shies away to the challenge at all and Alex takes to her new found career as a fish to water. With her bubbly personality, pretty girl-next-door good looks and approachable demeanor, she quickly makes friends and catches the eye of more than one eligible young man in the community.

Will her dreams and aspirations to become a newspaperman at one of the major metropolitan newspapers overshadow a life of love and a family of her own?

While still pondering this life changing question, nature took matters in its own hands when a raging flood threatens the lives of everyone in Sunset Valley. Even though she knew the danger she is facing, Alex still went to extreme lengths to cover the story which quickly drew national attention.

But she still faces the biggest dilemma of her life……

A Lady Newspaperman’s Dilemma was a compelling read and Alex’s voice will ring true to many a woman even a century later. The story is based on true events, but even truer to the facts are that women were so easily passed over in favor of a male associate, no matter who could do the job better. With strong feministic viewpoints, but still rooted in a deeply humane setting, author Eileen Joyce Donovan, brings us a story about believing in yourself, chasing your dreams and making the best of the choices we’ve made.

Eileen Joyce Donovan, an award-winning historical novelist, obtained her MA in English from Northern Arizona University and went on to teach writing in colleges in Arizona, North Carolina, and New Jersey. Her short stories have appeared in various anthologies, including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her upcoming novel, The Campbell Sisters, will be released in March 2023. She lives in Manhattan, New York City, and is working on her fourth historical novel.

Thank you to The History Quill Book Club for providing us with a copy of this book. We always love your books!



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3 responses to “A Lady Newspaperman’s Dilemma by Eileen Joyce Donovan