The forefathers of our country occupy a well defined place in American history. Literature frequently explores the lives and characters of men like Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, but little is written about the women in 18th century colonial America. Surely, these women had aspirations and ideas of their own, and were not the dowdy sheep they've been portrayed in by textbooks and the historical record.
My 5th novel, Becoming Benjamin, is complete at 67k words. Becoming Benjamin is historical fiction in the vein of The Paris Wife that explores the life of Benjamin Franklin through a 1700's feminist first person point of view of his common law wife, Deborah Read.
Deborah paved the way for Benjamin's success by running the affairs of the Gazette printing shop and managing Franklin's affairs while he spent much of their married life in London, apart from her. While industrious young Deborah always seemed to walk a step behind her husband as a condition of society, she was never without the hope that Franklin's contributions would, in turn, open doors for young women in our fledgling nation. Deborah's conflict with Benjamin's on whether or not to immunize their son, Franky, who subsequently died of smallpox, and her strong maternal bond with Franklin's son, William, at a time when an irreparable rift developed between father and son, affected their marriage in a way that changed history. Deborah's shrewd business sense and her sharp mathematical skills led to a mutually exploitive partnership and a sometimes tumultuous life with her husband. Ultimatley though, Deborah Read had a critical impact in American history that allowed women to follow their dreams, becoming scientists, politicians, writers, and inventors as Franklin became so prolifically.