Act One of my novel, The Life Fantastic, takes place in Brattleboro, Vermont, in 1913. I’m excited to share this story, and its background, with folks at the Brattleboro Literary Festival on October 14. Some of the settings in the novel will be familiar to those who live in or near Brattleboro now—including the Estey Organworks, which manufactured parlor organs that were popular all over the country. (Estey’s buildings have been preserved as National Historic Landmarks.) The organ business thrived during the years before the Victrola was invented. Many families could read music and enjoyed singing popular songs around an organ at home.
Estey’s eight long buildings hummed with activity and the company was Brattleboro’s biggest employer. But if you come to my talk, you’ll find out why Teresa, my narrator, is appalled when her father—who works at Estey—demands that she accept a job in the tuning rooms. To Teresa, a singer with “a voice like a nightingale” who longs for the lights of Broadway, working at Estey would feel like going to prison. What should she do?
Come to my talk to find out. Hope to see you there!