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On Account of Conspicuous Women    by Dawn Shamp order for
On Account of Conspicuous Women
by Dawn Shamp
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Life in a small Southern town is never easy, especially in 1920. Roxboro, North Carolina is one of those towns where tobacco and bootleg liquour thrive. The men make the rules and the women are expected to abide by them. However, change is on the horizon when four young women join together to make Roxboro a better place for their sex.

Bertie works for Wheelers Telephone company. She is outspoken, opinionated, and the only woman to own a Model T. She is also a strong supporter of the female suffrage movement. When Bertie's job is threatened because of her beliefs, she must make a decision that will affect her family's future.

Doodle is the quiet one, living on a farm with her father. She loves animals and the land, and works hard to keep the place running smoothly. When her Father becomes ill, he reveals a dark secret to Doodle that leaves her questioning the people she thinks she knows.

Guerine, Bertie's cousin, is engaged to her childhood sweetheart. Her days consist of planning dinner parties and deciding what pretty dress to wear. When Sam's head is turned by another pretty face, Guerine finds her world about to collapse.

Ina is new in town. She became a widow on her honeymoon and decided to leave Virginia and teach school in Roxboro. Always pampered, Ina finds life in Roxboro challenging and is surprised to discover that she has feelings for another man so soon after her husband's death.

Four young women, all different in their ideas and personalities, become fast friends. Though each faces a personal struggle in her life, they always help each other.

On Account of Conspicuous Women is a story told with Southern charm and humour. Each woman helps to bring social change to Roxboro and they all emerge stronger for doing so. This was a very enjoyable read and I am looking forward to Shamp's next book.

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