Monica’s Musings : The Tobacco Wives

The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myers

“Knowledge is power, she had argued. And conversely, the withholding of knowledge is an act of oppression.”
― Adele Myers, The Tobacco Wives


Maddie is an amateur seamstress who just arrived in Bright Leaf, North Carolina—the tobacco capital of the South—where her aunt has a thriving sewing business. Maddie is dazzled by the bustle of her aunt’s clientele: the wives of the powerful tobacco executives. 

However, she soon learns that Bright Leaf isn’t quite the carefree paradise that it seems. Tobacco is marketed to women in 1946, especially moms, and many women began to experience substantial health problems. Although Maddie is quick to believe this is a coincidence, she uncovers evidence that suggests otherwise.

Maddie wants to report what she knows, but in a town where everyone depends on Big Tobacco to survive, she doesn’t know who she can trust—and fears that exposing the truth may destroy the lives of the proud women with whom she has forged strong bonds. Shedding light on the hidden history of women’s activism during the post-war period, at its heart, The Tobacco Wives is an emotionally satisfying and dramatic novel about the importance of seeking truth.

My thoughts:

It is nearly impossible to imagine the world the way it was before people knew the dangers of smoking. It only seems logical to us now that filling your lungs with smoke, nicotine, and chemicals is not good for you, and it’s terrible for pregnant women and babies. It’s so hard to imagine the doctors actually recommended that women smoke to “calm their nerves”!

This book takes us back to the time when that was totally and completely acceptable. It is also almost shocking the way women were treated; the way men condescended to them and treated them as if they were fragile little beings who could not do much. We have come such a long way. I love the way the book highlighted all of the social differences between that time and the present.

The plot itself was well done. I love a book with an epilogue that tied things up in the end and this book delivered on that.

*FYI, this is the current read for the book club, Bemused Bibliophiles, who meet September 7, 2022 at 1:00 pm!

What’s Ashley Reading?: The Wives

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

First line: He comes over on Thursday every week.

Summary: One husband. Three wives. Sounds strange right? Well it is my life. I am Thursday. They are Monday and Tuesday. One is the wife before me. The other came after. But we have worked out a schedule. Until one day I see that he has the receipt from a doctor’s office with a woman’s name on it. Could this be one of them? I must find out.

My Thoughts: This book. Such a roller coaster! First off, I cannot even imagine living this woman’s life and being okay with the family situation. I would definitely be her trying to find out everything I could about these other women. How would it not eat at you and drive a person crazy?! When I got to the half way point it seemed like the book had hit its climax but I was wrong. Everything just got crazier from there.

I jumped back and forth between reading and listening but when it got to the last 50 pages I had to read it because I NEEDED to know how it was going to end. It was a book that I had to set down and breathe a little bit after. It took me on a crazy ride. I highly recommend this!

FYI: Perfect for fans of psychological thrillers like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.

Book Review: Believe Me

Believe Me by J.P. Delaney

First line: On the day of departure, guests are requested to vacate their rooms by noon.

Summary: When British acting student, Claire, is struggling for money to pay rent she starts work at a decoy for a law firm in order to entrap straying husbands. However, on her last job the wife ended up dead the next day. In order to find out who the killer is they ask Claire to try to get a confession out of the husband. As she immerses herself into her character, the lines between the act and reality begin to blur.

Highlights: In the second novel by J.P. Delaney we get a twisty psychological thriller. I was certain I had the story figured out. I was wrong. There were so many decoys and little tidbits that make the reader believe one thing when it can mean something completely different. The story was FAST! I could not believe how quickly I read this and how hard it was to put down. I loved being inside Claire’s head even though it got a little troublesome at times. The way she viewed everything as a production was a fun styling choice for the author.

Lowlights: I do not believe there were many lowlights other than the fact that it is not something new or astounding. It is a great read but it is not groundbreaking. Enjoy it but do not look for the next Gone Girl.

FYI: Try Delaney’s first book, The Girl Before.