My great grandparents, James and Josephine Arnone, were married on December 4, 1915. My New York historical romance, FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET, has been released with The Wild Rose Press, and my heroine Vita is based on her--a woman way ahead of her time. She left grade school to become a successful real estate investor as she married and raised 4 children.
FROM HERE TO FOURTEENTH STREET is Book One of the New York Saga.
It's 1894 on New York's Lower East Side. Irish cop Tom McGlory and Italian immigrant Vita Caputo fall in love despite their different upbringings. Vita goes from sweatshop laborer to respected bank clerk to reformer, helping elect a mayor to beat the Tammany machine. While Tom works undercover to help Ted Roosevelt purge police corruption, Vita's father arranges a marriage between her and a man she despises. When Tom’s cousin is murdered, Vita’s father and brother languish in jail, charged with the crime. Can Vita and Tom’s love survive poverty, hatred, and corruption?
On her way up the stairs, she glanced down the hall and noticed the closed parlor door. Maybe one of the other boarders was in there with a beau. She smiled in the dark. Let them enjoy themselves. All the girls here had beaux, and they needed privacy without chaperones breathing down their necks during every stage of courting.
As she gathered her soap and towel, Madame Branchard tapped on her door. “You have a gentleman caller, Vita. A policeman.”
“Tom?” His name lingered on her lips as she repeated it. She dropped her things and crossed the room.
“No, hon, not him. Another policeman. Theodore something, I think he said.”
No. There can’t be anything wrong. “Thanks,” she whispered, gently nudging Madame Branchard aside. She descended the steps, gripping the banister to support her wobbly legs. Stay calm! she warned herself. But of course it was no use; staying calm just wasn’t her nature.
“Theodore something” stood before the closed parlor door. He’s a policeman? Curious, she looked him up and down. Tall and hefty, a bold pink shirt peeking out of a buttoned waistcoat and fitted jacket, he looked way out of place against the dainty patterned wallpaper.
He removed his hat. “Miss Caputo.” He strained to keep his voice soft as he held out a piece of paper.
“Yes?” Her voice shook.
“I’m Theodore Roosevelt. I have a summons for you, Miss Caputo.” He held it out to her. But she stood rooted to that spot.
He stepped closer, and she took it from him, unfolding it with icy fingers. Why would she be served with a summons? Was someone arresting her now for something she didn’t do?
A shot of anger tore through her at this system, at everything she wanted to change. It eclipsed her fear, made her blood boil. She flipped it open and saw the word “Summons” in fancy script at the top. Her eyes widened with each sentence as she read. “I can’t believe what I’m seeing.”