Friday, June 10, 2016

A Golden Interview, Review, and Giveaway

I'm so pleased to welcome Shelley Freydont back to Cozy Up With Kathy. Shelley pens the Newport Gilded Age Mystery series. A Golden Cage, the second book in the series, was released earlier this week!

Kathy: In A Golden Cage Deanna makes her debut in society. Do you ever wish you could have had a similar season when you were young, without any dead bodies, of course?

SF: Actually I was raised in the south and in my town there was this extended debutante order, beginning when you were in grammar school with something little the wee sub debs, then the junior sub debs etc. I participated for a few years then stopped. I don’t even remember how you got in, voted in , invited by the mothers? or if you were voted out. It was not my cuppa as they say. I can relate to how Deanna feels. She wants to participate in the glamorous adult life, but finds so much of it not as much fun as having adventures.

Kathy: Without her overbearing mother on the scene, Deanna explored bathing costumes, bicycles, and the theatre. Which do you think was more scandalous at the time?

SF: It depended on whom you were asking. The poor Victorians were getting bombarded by the ‘modern life’ from all angles. And though I sometimes wonder if much has changed, in those days , men were used to calling the shots, having the power. They hated and feared (subconsciously at least) women on bicycles because it freed women from the home and their dependency on men to take them places and control where they went. So there was all this hoopla about not only bicycling leading to sin, but being unhealthy for a woman to ride such a thing. The new swim suits which still covered most of the body were considered scandalous, fast and one of the many steps to ruin. The theatre has always been looked down on, actors considered “sinful” when actually in Deanna’s time, it was one of the few professions where women could earn as much or more than men. Naturally this alone was enough for the establishment to rail against it, while going to the opera one night with their families and enjoying the lower brow theatricality of the revues and comedies the next.

And it just kept coming, the typewriter, the washing machine, “rational” dress and the bloomer girl, higher education, physical fitness, dime novels. It was an exciting time; exciting and fun to write about.

Kathy: While Deanna is able to see things upstairs, her maid, Elspeth, is able to see things downstairs. As a woman, would you prefer to be upstairs or downstairs at the close of the nineteenth century?

SF: Upstairs definitely. As much as television and movies have focused on “downstairs”, it was a long and arduous life. Yes, they were fed and clothed and housed, but they worked long hours, did back breaking work, were sometimes ignored or abused by their employers. They were a lot better off than many of the populace and often considered themselves lucky. Especially if you had the refinement to be an upstairs servant. The hours were still long, not so arduous physically, but perhaps more so, psychologically. When once Deanna is thinking about running away and Elspeth says, “And lose this cushy life?” She’s being serious.

Kathy: Was there a specific inspiration for this story?

SF: Newport and the Gilded Age. Perfect together.

Kathy: Are you able to share any future plans for Deanna Randolph?

SF: I have a story in the works. Deanna’s friend Herbert brings one of the new motor cars to town to test before the big First American Automobile Race in Chicago, upsetting the horsey set and setting the scene for murder.

Kathy: Will you share any other upcoming books?

SF: I also write women’s fiction beach read as Shelley Noble. Forever Beach is available now. It takes place on the Jersey Shore. Also an idea percolating for another historical mystery series.



A GOLDEN CAGE by Shelley Freydont
The Second Newport Gilded Age Mystery

Deanna Randolph is enjoying her new found freedom spending the summer with Gran Gwen far from her stifling mother. Much to Gwen's delight and Joe's consternation Deanna has joined a bicycle club and is consorting with theatre folk. Amabelle Deeks, a chorus girl who has run away from her upperclass background, literally, turns up at Bonheur apparently seeking refuge. When morning comes a young actor is found murdered in the conservatory and Amabelle is gone. Did Amabelle kill him or is she another victim? With the help of her maid, Elspeth, Deanna sets out to find Amabelle and discover just who killed the actor!

Freydont once again transports us to Newport's Gilded Age when the class system was just starting to get muddled and women were seeking and starting to achieve more rights and privileges. In addition to bicycles, we get a closer look at the theatre of the time. It was a place where a woman had the opportunity to earn as much money as a man; however, it was a career still looked upon as immoral. We learn more about Deanna and watch her grow in this second installment of the series. Deanna wants to be an independent woman in an age when such independence was generally frowned upon. Her clever mind and the support of like minded older women encourage her to be more than society wants her to be, and make her a much more interesting character. Freydont has a gift of creating characters that leap off the page and inhabit a world described with such detail that I feel myself a part of that age.

In A GOLDEN CAGE Freydont takes an intelligent look at societal issues combining it with well developed, complex characters to form a well crafted mystery that encourages readers to think, learn, and become a part of that historical age. I highly recommend this smartly written mystery filled with historical accuracy which includes an intriguing touch of romance.


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  1. This sounds like a great series! Thank you for reviewing it.

  2. A Golden Cage sounds like a great read, and the cover art is lovely.

  3. I really enjoy historical mysteries. Thanks for this opportunity.

  4. The gilded era is fascinating to me and I would enjoy reading "A Golden Cage". Thanks for the chance.

  5. The gilded era is fascinating to me and I would enjoy reading "A Golden Cage". Thanks for the chance.

  6. What a fascinating time - to read about, not live in! Thanks for the great interview and review and giveaway.