Some time ago, our Writing Something Romantic sisterhood decided to publish an anthology of Christmas stories. While other things, including life, intruded on our original schedule, we have accomplished our goal at last!
Each of us contributing to the anthology wrote a story in our own genre. So as you might expect, my story, A VOTE FOR LOVE, is a historical romance. It didn’t take me long to decide the setting.
Montana Territory in the 1880’s is a favorite of mine. I’ve visited the state on several occasions and its history has always fascinated me. I love the time and place and find it easy to recreate in my imagination.
The story of the suffragettes in the West has always intrigued me. Women earned the right to vote in Wyoming and Montana before suffrage was gained nationwide around 1917. The suffragettes didn’t have it easy. Speaking out on street corners and passing out thousands of leaflets was considered quite shocking at the time. They actively campaigned against politicians who opposed the vote for women. And they campaigned for pay equity and improved working conditions. Sound familiar?
My story is about spinster suffragette, Paulette Winslow. I was inspired by a photo of a real-life suffragette who lived in Great Falls, Montana, during that time period. She was shown standing by her bicycle, which she rode to the library where she worked as the city’s librarian. Something about her—the way she stood so straight and proud—caught my attention and my imagination took over.
Did I mention this was a romance? Enter my hero, Brent McFarland. Tall, broad-shouldered and drop-dead handsome, he’s newly arrived in Helena to take over the Gazette from its former owner. Brent wants the territory to become a state and make Helena the capital. He’s not completely opposed to women’s suffrage—he just believes it’s the wrong time to write about it in his newspaper. He wants to keep the horse before the cart.
The moment Paulette and Brent meet, sparks fly! The feisty redhead nearly whacks the wealthy newspaper owner over the head with her suffragette posters. But a sleigh ride into the woods to find the perfect Christmas tree, ending in a snowball fight with friends brings the two adversaries together. Their attraction outweighs their differences, and in the end, they find their happily-ever-after.