“Remember the Ladies” by Gina L. Mulligan was quite an interesting novel. I was not prepared to be as interested as I was. I thought that this would be just another story of an orphan who wanted to be successful. Instead, I got an education about Washington, D.C. life – the members of Congress, lobbyists, and women’s suffrage.
This novel is set in the late 1800’s and follows a young girl as she tries to make something of herself after living in an orphanage for fourteen years. She decides that she wants to follow in a famous lobbyist’s footsteps and convinces him to teach her the tricks of the trade. She is very successful and is eventually hired by the women’s suffrage movement to lobby for votes in the House and Senate. Although women did not get the vote until 1920, plans were underway for many years for the passage of that bill.
I was intrigued by the machinations of the lobbyists and senators and congressmen and their aides in order to get a bill passed. It is much the same today. There are many deals made and broken trying to pass laws pertinent to one group or another. I found that this author obviously did a lot of background research to write so authoritatively about this time in history. The ending was a surprise. The only comment I have about the writing style is that the end came too quickly and was a little too contrived.
Growing up in an orphanage prepared Amelia Cooke for the high-stakes role of a female lobbyist surrounded by the egos of the 1887 Congress, a time before women had the right to vote. Her success in the isolating male arena comes from using the tactics she’s learned from those who oppressed her. So when she’s hired by the National Women’s Suffrage Association to help pass a proposed constitutional amendment granting women’s voting rights, Amelia feels empowered to at last win a place for herself and give all women a voice in the world. What she doesn’t foresee is the charismatic and calculating Senator Edward Stillman who threatens to ruin her hard-earned reputation and end her career.
Edward Stillman is desperate for status and power among Washington’s Old Guard. To gain control of the most dominant committee in the Senate, Stillman must crush the women’s amendment and anyone else in his way, including Amelia. He’s driven, clever, and willing to exploit any advantage. But in a political game where bribery, threats, extortion, and seduction prevail, each player must decide just how low they are willing to let the fight go. Who will win? And at what cost?