THE BOOK: Marion Hatley: A Novel
PUBLISHED IN: 2017
THE AUTHOR: Beth Castrodale
THE EDITOR: Laurel Dile King
THE PUBLISHER: Garland Press
SUMMARY: To escape a big-city scandal, a Depression-era corset-maker flees to the countryside, where she hopes to live and work in peace. Instead, she finds herself unraveling uncomfortable secrets about herself and those closest to her.
THE BACK STORY: Years ago, my mother told me how my grandma wore a corset day in and day out, throughout all the hard work of helping run the family farm. This story haunted me, and it came to symbolize all the restrictions that women of her time faced. Through the character of Marion Hatley, I tried to show the consequences–both good and ill–of pushing back against these restrictions. (As an aside, through seamstressy wonders perhaps bordering on science fiction, Marion creates an undergarment capable of delivering women from the typical corset-related discomforts. I wish such a corset could have come to my grandma’s rescue.)
WHY THIS TITLE: Although the novel enters the point of view of other characters, it’s centrally Marion’s story. Also, I hoped that by spotlighting Marion in the title, I’d lend a sense of pride to someone who was ostracized and shamed in certain social circles.
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT? I’m hoping this novel will appeal to readers who want to be immersed in characters’ interior lives, and who appreciate a compelling story. The novel may also appeal to fans of historical fiction.
“Like Marion Hatley’s own creations, Beth Castrodale’s debut novel is sewn, sentence by elegant sentence, with exquisite care and beauty. With clear-eyed assurance it explores the burden of secrets, the virtue of perseverance, and the joys of renewal. As a portrait of a community—and life itself—it is deeply compassionate and utterly wondrous.”
—David Rowell, author of The Train of Small Mercies
“A reflective, compassionate, and gracefully written tale.”
“An expert and articulate historical novel. The period details, class protest, and feminist protest are particularly engaging, as is the central character, Marion, whose resourcefulness recalls that of Zola’s Denise Badu in The Ladies’ Paradise. In Marion’s case, her redesign of conventional corsets speaks to humanizing social constrictions for women as well as easing physical ones.” — DeWitt Henry, founding editor of Ploughshares, Emerson Professor Emeritus, and author of The Marriage of Anna Maye Potts
AUTHOR PROFILE: Beth Castrodale has worked as a newspaper reporter and book editor. Her novel Marion Hatley (Garland Press, 2017) was a finalist for a Nilsen Prize for a First Novel from Southeast Missouri State University Press, and an excerpt from her latest novel, In This Ground (Garland Press, 2018), was a shortlist finalist for a William Faulkner – William Wisdom Creative Writing Award. Beth recommends literary fiction on her website SmallPressPicks.com, and she has published stories in such journals as Printer’s Devil Review, The Writing Disorder, and Mulberry Fork Review.
AUTHOR COMMENTS: I don’t know where I would be without reading and writing. Literature has enriched my life in more ways than I can express.
SAMPLE CHAPTER: (Provide link). http://www.bethcastrodale.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/MarionHatley-excerpt.pdf
LOCAL OUTLETS: Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA. Alternatively, your local bookstore can contact Small Press Distribution, who will help them stock it.
WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Garland Press: http://garlandpress.com/store/
Small Press Distribution: https://www.spdbooks.org/Products/9781940782027/marion-hatley.aspx
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: https://www.bethcastrodale.com/contact/