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Striking Romance (New York Rebel Girls #1) by Lindsey Brooks

Blurb: He sees her leading a labor rally and can’t look away...

Sarah Fischer has never relied on anyone but herself. Her father pulled her out of school at 13 to support her family by working in a shirtwaist factory. More than ten years of exploitation have taught her this: No one is coming to her rescue. If she wants labor reform, she’s going to have to organize it herself. She begins a general shirtwaist strike and is determined to see it through no matter the risks.

She sees a member of the government who has long ignored her plight...

Clifton Stokes is the mayor’s chief of staff and a rising political star. As long as he stays on Tammany Hall's good side, he may have a shot at being mayor himself. Getting involved with a Jewish labor organizer is the worst thing Cliff could do for his career but the magnetic attraction between them is impossible to resist.

No good can come from their association...

When Tammany Hall learns of Cliff's infatuation, they give him a choice: convince Sarah to end the strike or watch her suffer the consequences. Cliff sets out to protect her, but first he will have to earn her trust. Can he seduce her to distraction, or will she reform his heart?

Review: I was conflicted about whether to rate this book 4 or 5 stars. In the end, the quality of writing, the intense subject matter, and the delicacy in which the romantic relationship was handled solidified it as a solid 5 stars from me.

If you're looking for a historical romances that isn't 1800s England , look no further. If you want to read a romance where the struggles the couple faces are real and not simply the product of Other Woman Syndrome or Miscommunication, then this is it. If you're looking for a romance that touches on serious societal issues that are still relevant and prevalent today, then The Striking Romance is going to be your favorite read of the year.

This book was difficult to read at times because I was forced to confront the reality of what it was like to be a woman in the early 1900s when they had to fight for the bare minimum amount of respect from society. I'd read about it before, learned about in history classes, seen it mentioned in movies, but I'd never chosen a romance novel with the intention of reading a romantic story and had the suffering of lower-income woman put in my path instead.

But that's what happened here.

And it made me uncomfortable.

A couple of times I had to put the book down and reflect on the tightness in my chest, the sadness swirling in my stomach, and the hopelessness I felt for issues that we well before my time. This book challenged my comfort, my beliefs, and my thoughts about society, then and now. If you're looking for a romance novel to breeze through, this isn't it. This book needs to be read slowly and taken in page by page for the full effect.

When it comes to the rest of the book The Striking Romance is really quite touching, full of strong female relationships and a lovable hero who goes from oblivious to the front lines of the feminist movement. The writing sinks you right down on the street in the early 1900s and you don't come back to the present until you turn that last page. It's not the first book I would have picked up on my own, but it'll stick with me for a long time.


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