Ellen M. Levy
This second book of historical fiction follows Deborah and Miriam from 1913 to 1914, as they learn to negotiate the world as a lesbian couple.
Struggles in a Boston Marriage
Struggle is just what Deborah and Miriam do. They are challenged by both Mother and Bubbie’s decline, Sylvia’s medical needs, the businesses’ exhausting expansion, and being exposed as a couple at their temple. They deal with a dramatic crisis with Deborah’s mother and rejection by her father. And on top of all that, there is serious conflict in their relationship, with temptation and jealousy almost ruining their connection.
But there are good times to balance the difficult ones. Deborah and Miriam explore Boston with Sylvia, their daughter. They make wonderful friends, fortunately tapping into the developing lesbian community. Deborah’s writing is published, and Miriam finds great meaning in her volunteer work.
Their discord may unravel you, yet you will root for them, as they find ways to cope with their struggles.
Romance at Stonegate
Love comes as a surprise to Deborah and Miriam. From the moment they meet, there is a magnetic attraction that pulls them together, despite the social and religious mores which make their connection scandalous and improper. They are, after all, Jews, and both females.
But through correspondence while apart, they fall in love — dramatic, consuming love. They face constant fear that they will be found out, yet they have no choice but to risk everything. Suddenly, at 17 and 18 years of age, they are isolated, unable to connect with anyone other than each other, for fear of rejection. Through their loneliness, they bond closer to one another yet further from everything familiar. Together they discover the suffrage movement. They find meaning in their lives: Deborah in her writing and Miriam in her volunteer work at a settlement house. With each bit of hope comes more challenge, yet love wins.
Available in paperback and eBook at Amazon.com
Books three and four in this series will be published in 2020 and 2021
Struggles in a Boston Marriage
True love knows no bounds . . .
Deborah and Miriam are two young women whose love has survived the many obstacles life has thrown their way in their first years together. Now they find themselves in Boston, raising a young child who’s been diagnosed as a Mongoloid Idiot, in an era where little was known about how to care for such a child at home.
Deborah’s thrilled that her writing is due to become published and she is also pleased to be part of a growing and thriving business. Despite having found the woman of her dreams, she finds herself irritable and distrusting of Miriam’s love.
Miriam has given her heart and soul to Deborah and feels fulfilled now that she has a child and has meaningful volunteer work. She is proud of all their accomplishments at the printing and publishing shop and with her own ability to stand firm in her beliefs, even when Deborah challenges her.
The world around them is changing. The Suffrage movement is trying to give women the freedom to vote and they feel guilty that they do not have enough time to continue their work for this cause. Also, people fear their country may go to war. During this time of uproar, Deborah and Miriam’s relationship is tested by an outsider. Will their love be strong enough to endure?
I inhaled this book!! It is beautifully written with the photographs interspersed as if the story were a biography. Ellen found a photo of a beautiful dress, and there it is, described in the narrative. The historical detail about the Berkshires, Boston, New York City, and the differing observances of Jewish religion and culture in the various families make this book a very interesting read. All of this is set in 1910, in a sensitively-told touching love story.
— Mary B.
We have heard the intersection of the Jewish world and lesbian world before, but Ellen Levy put the pieces together finely. Her attention to historical detail enhances character development. It is fun to travel through the Berkshires with her, because she writes wonderful descriptions.
— Anne Z.
You come to know and understand the characters and their relationship intimately through the author’s beautiful descriptions. The women become even more alive as you share their time in history.
— Allison P.
I have rarely have felt so connected with characters in a book as in the beautifully written love story, Romance at Stonegate. I felt a strong appreciation for the young lovers, Deborah and Miriam. I can hardly wait for the sequel!
— Louise R.
Well done, Ellen. I just finished my journey with Deborah and Miriam and am eagerly waiting to join them as they move forward through life. I feel connected to them and you as my writing sister. Congratulations Ellen. So proud of you. Your persistence. Your passion for your story. Your success. I knew you when you began the Deborah and Miriam story. I feel like their long lost relative. Thank you for including me in the journey.
— Harriet M.
Tune into either one or both of these Zoom presentations to learn what life was like during this era. The first talk, Zoom 1, covers discrimination for being lesbians, the horrors of the eugenic movement, and Henry Ford’s antisemitism. The second talk, Zoom 2, will teach you about a lesbian community in Boston, the settlement movement, immigration, and suffrage. Both books follow the love affair of Deborah and Miriam, a young Jewish lesbian couple who deal with rejection by their families and their temple, and the challenges of raising a child with special needs.
January 20 1:30pm UMass OLLI Zoom 1
Discrimination, Eugenics, Antisemitism:
January 26 2:00pm North Hill Zoom 1
Discrimination, Eugenics, Antisemitism:
March 20 Lesbian Fiction Campfire
Grace Banker and the Hello Girls
April 29 Congregation Mishkan Tefila
Jewish influences in 1910's
March 31 12:00pm UMass OLLI
Discrimination, Eurgenics, Anti-Semitism
Ellen Levy, Author
Ellen Levy lives near Boston with her wife and two adorable cats. She winters in a Florida community that feeds her desire to be with like-minded women.
When Ellen wrote her memoir in 2014, she had no idea writing would be such a powerful part of her life in retirement. She began channeling the story of Deborah and Miriam, young Jewish women who fall love in 1910, and they emerged as her new best friends. As a Jewish lesbian, Ellen relates to her characters as if they were family. They reflect her own tendencies to be impulsive and demanding, like Deborah, and soft and trusting, like Miriam.
As Ellen wrote her tale, she found herself deeply affected by the issues these young women faced. At times she was moved to tears or so excited that she could not sleep. She was fascinated by the history of the era, weaving in stories of the suffrage movement, immigration of Eastern European Jews, and the creation of settlement houses.
When Ellen is not writing, she plays Mah Jongg, attends theater, and assists others in downsizing their homes. Ellen’s career in human service management, and her work with people with disabilities is reflected in her characters with special medical and emotional needs. Her work with low-income families engenders the volunteer work the girls do at settlement houses, and her passion for writing becomes Deborah’s also. Her love of sex, well, let’s just say that it is reflected in the passion between the two girls.
The third book in the series will be published later this year. The fourth book, her very favorite, will be available next year. It is full of historical events from 1917 to 1920, including the Great War, the Spanish Flu, Great Molasses Flood, stories of Margaret Sanger and Emma Goldman, and the influence of vaudeville and jazz. The young women’s world expands, with new friends, a business, children, and many troubles. Ellen hopes you enjoy their saga.