In the Fullness of Time, One Woman’s Story of Growth and Empowerment ISBN: 9781540718907, is an e-book by Katherine P. Stillerman.
Plot: Hattie Robinson is a nineteen-year-old school teacher who had been hired to care for the sons of wealthy and socially prominent South Carolina lawyer Charles Barton after the death of his equally prominent wife Elizabeth. He proposes marriage and, in spite of the fact that she is of lesser social position and he is twenty-three years her senior, the marriage is consummated. The story evolves as this naïve young woman attempts to fulfill her duties as mother and housewife, and to grow gradually into a woman totally accepted in this highly socially conscious environment and simultaneously be able to satisfy her own need for self-actualization. The story’s setting is the national women’s suffrage movement from 1913 – 1920 that provides an opportunity for Hattie to equate quite completely with her in laws and friends, as well as pursue activities that bring to light and/or explain many family secrets.
Discussion: The author’s dedication states: “This book is dedicated to strong-willed, independent women and to the men who love and understand them.” As she progressed with the manuscript, she further discovered: “The relevance of the theme to modern events grew, as I completed the first draft in the fall of 2016, at the height of the campaign of the first woman to run for president of the United States.” And: “The election’s surprise ending left half of the country stunned and alienated, much as Hattie and Alice must have been when the South Carolina legislature defeated the suffrage amendment in 1920.”
The reactions seemingly experienced by the author no doubt aided her projection of feelings of disappointment as well as other sentiments suffered by some of the characters. Her coverage of the entire suffrage movement during the chronicled period appears to be quite detailed, and she has performed admirably in her stated attempt: “to tell the story from the perspective of the characters and not write a historical interpretation of the woman suffrage movement (or) the Reconstruction Era.” All of the characters, protagonist and supporting, indeed are well done and empathetically portrayed. And, many areas provided I am sure will reach a deeper and more meaningful level for women than is possible for a man to attain.
5* An interestingly and well-written tale, no doubt more compelling for some.