Maid of Steel
by Kate Baker
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Pub Date 28 Feb 2023 | Archive Date 09 Jul 2023
The Book Guild, Book Guild Publishing
It’s 1911 and, against her mother’s wishes, quiet New Yorker Emma dreams of winning the right to vote. She is sent away by her parents in the hope distance will curb her desire to be involved with the growing suffrage movement and told to spend time learning about where her grandparents came from.
Across the Atlantic – Queenstown, southern Ireland – hotelier Thomas dreams of being loved, even noticed, by his actress wife, Alice. On their wedding day, Alice’s father had assured him that adoration comes with time. It’s been eight years. But Alice has plans of her own and they certainly don’t include the fight for equality or her dull husband.
Emma’s arrival in Ireland leads her to discover family secrets and become involved in the Irish Women’s Suffrage Society in Cork. However, Emma’s path to suffrage was never meant to lead to a forbidden love affair…
A Note From the Publisher
"Maid of Steel is a delight. A debut full of passion and surprises. Let yourself be swept away. "
- Mark Stay, author of the Witches of Woodville series and presenter of The Bestseller Experiment podcast.
- A forbidden love story set against the backdrop of the fight for women's suffrage in Ireland in the early twentieth century.
- Breaks through taboos of the time such as women's rights and mental health, which will be sure to resonate with readers of today.
- 'Maid of Steel is a delight. A debut full of passion and surprises. Let yourself be swept away.' Mark Stay, author of the Witches of Woodville series and presenter of The Bestseller Experiment podcast.
Average rating from 47 members
this was a beautifully done historical romance, I enjoyed the concept from the description and it was what I was looking for in this type of book. The characters felt like they belonged in the time-period and thought they worked well in the story. I enjoyed how good the concept was and it worked well overall. It was a joy to read and I enjoyed the way Kate Baker wrote this.
"A shriek came from somewhere in the building, dragging Emma’s thoughts back inside. The sound of raised voices was unmistakable: those of an hysterical woman and the deeper hum of a man’s reply. Emma reached for a newspaper from the next table and decided it was what she and Martina would have assumed was an argument. Flicking through the pages, she spotted a headline and a name she recognised. Emmeline Pankhurst has hit back at Census Officials."
This book draws together a number of fascinating events on both sides of the Atlantic. Well researched with an engaging plot
Maid of Steel, by Kate Baker is a phenomenal historical fiction that genuinely reflects the life of a young woman in the early 1900’s. Starting with the battle for women’s rights, finding true love and monumental historical events, all details were on point. This book was kept me wanting more. Kate delivered a heart warming story. It was the perfect amount of tragedy and love, all in one.
wow! this is a real page turner from the get go. I loved the historical facts woven throughout the story. Obviously really well researched but also well written. Sometimes with multiple characters you enjoy one story more than the other, but not in this book. Enjoyed it enormously.
The beautiful cover drew me instantly to this book, and I wasn't disappointed. Emma is a New Yorker, desperate for women to have equality with the vote. When circumstances leave her needing recuperation, her parents send her to Queenstown in Ireland - they hope she will forget her dreams of suffrage and discover more about her Irish grandmother. Here Emma meets hotelier Thomas and his wife Alice, and their lives become entwined. Can all three have the happy ending they desire?
A truly lovely book, fabulously researched with a lot of detail. I felt the last section was a bit rushed, hence my 4 star review, but I really enjoyed the read.
I enjoyed this book so very much!
I loved the events that took place in this story except for one scene that made me very sad.
Tragedy is such a hard thing. I held my breath through the whole entire scene
I read this novel through the entire evening and lost some sleep but it was oh so worth it!
To be honest, this beautiful cover is what made me want to read it. I wasn't disappointed at all!
I couldn't put the book down because I was having an awesome adventure!
Emma is the coolest character of all! She proved time and again that she is strong and has gumption to get through anything that is thrown her way. I love her spirit and determination to work for what she wants too.
The cover is beautiful and honestly that is why I chose to read and I'm glad I did!
5 stars for an amazing read! I highly recommend!
My thanks to for a copy of this book. I was NOT required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
I fell in love with the cover and loved the well plotted story. The characters are fleshed out and the historical background is vivid and well researched.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine
1911 for a working girl was tough. For girls wanting something more than the drudgery
and back breaking work in the factories was even harder. Women were old before their
time, broken by the relentless hours working. When a factory fire destroyed many women's
lives and the life of Martina, Emma's best friend, Emma knew tge time had come to make
Arriving in New York for abrecuperative spell, Emma sets about settling in and sees tgat the suffragette movement needs support. This forms the next part of Emma's story. The movement
was gathering momentum, despite opposition but needed organisatiin and support whichEmma was eager to contribute to. The other part was the attraction that was building between Emma
and Thomas the manager of the hotel where Emma stayed and Alice his wife who wanted to
control Thomas though she had no interest in him.
Swinging between the events of 1911 and 1912 both personal to the characters as well as
those that actually occurred like the suffragette movement getting momentum, as well as
the disaster of the Titanic the book was a good read on history at the time.
A book that could be described as Womens Fiction with a good bit of history in the setting.
Maid of Steel is by a new-to-me author, Kate Baker, and I was very surprised to learn that this is her debut novel. The story drew me in right away with its many likeable characters and much of the story line taking place in Ireland. Emma, a young American who is injured in a factory fire where she works, is sent to by her parents to spend some time in recuperating in Ireland. While in Ireland, Emma works on not only healing herself but also on being useful by volunteering at the local Soldier's Home and starting a local chapter for women's suffrage, growing as a woman. My only complaint is that it felt like the very end, the last chapter or two, were rushed and the various story lines ended just a little too neatly. Other than that, a very enjoyable read.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
We meet Emma Quinn and her friend Martina who are both supporters of the American Women’s Suffrage Association. They work at the Joseph Cobb factory, making clothes. Joseph Cobb is an unpleasant man and Emma hates her job. But then there’s a tragedy which changes things forever.
In another story, in Southern Ireland Alice Murphy is an actress, married to Thomas who runs a hotel on the coast. The marriage was arranged by her father ten years ago and isn’t a very happy one, so she has found lovers over the years and her life is full of secrets. Emma leaves America and travels to Queenstown in Ireland, where her grandparents were from. She has booked The Admiral hotel, which is run by Thomas.
Emma has faced a lot of really hard times and you hope she gets the happy ending she deserves. But Alice treats everyone badly, unless she’s trying to win an acting part she wants and then she is incredibly selfish, ruthless and rude. She treats Thomas very badly. Thomas however is a really sweet and kind man who deserves a much better life than being with Alice.
The book starts in a very exciting way, drawing the readers into the story immediately. we also meet other people in Queenstown and there are many interesting ones here. I really enjoyed the historical setting and The theme of women’s suffrage is also interesting to me.The combination of history and romance is beautifully done, everything felt very authentic and the characters are just wonderful.
This is such a good book, I really enjoy Historical Fiction and this is based around two huge parts of history which are brilliantly detailed.
The storyline is so good, I love Emma and actually I love Alice too despite their situations, they are both likeable characters in their own way and I loved getting to know them. Emma and Alice are forces to be reckoned with.
I feel for Thomas as he doesn't know if his wife has survived, he is completely in the dark.
I enjoyed the drama and anticipation of the story and the details of tragic historical events was both brilliant and emotionally charged.
This book was so well-written. I loved reading about this time period because I feel like it is rarely written about. I loved the authors descriptions and dialogue!
Historical Fiction is a genre I don’t read much of, but when I do, I find I really enjoy them.
I’m going to find it hard to review this book as I don’t want to give any spoilers so apologies if I sound vague in certain parts.
This book started really well for me and I found that I couldn’t put it down and was really interested in how the story was developing and where it was going.
For some reason, at around 35%, I just totally lost my focus on it and felt the pace of it really slowed. I’m not sure why, whether it was where the story was going, or whether it was ”just me”, but I felt I had to really refocus to get back into it. I obviously did keep going with it and got back into it and started to enjoy it again.
There is a part roughly around 70% that made me feel the ending was very predictable due to what was upcoming in the story, which again made me have to really focus to keep going (this is only because in my mind, it appeared obvious what would happen). Thankfully I was wrong! And I have to say, the last 20% of the book kept me completely engrossed on how this would end. It was also at this point that one of the characters completely took me by surprise which I loved!
Overall, even though I had a few little niggles throughout the book, I am giving this book 4 stars as I really enjoyed how this book was all tied up at the end with the main characters.
I adore historical fiction AND intertwining storylines, so this was a fantastic read for me. I've found the 1910s to be a time period that's relatively neglected compared to the 1920s, Tudors, War of the Roses, WW2 etc. so really appreciated that this was well written and clearly well researched.
I loved the writing style, and the pacing was overall well done - although I did find that there was an element of predictability in certain areas, and it did feel slightly rushed towards the end.
I was super engrossed throughout, and felt invested in the characters and their stories.
This is definitely going to be a re-read for me!
Firstly, thank you, Negalley for this advanced copy
Historical fiction at its best page turner, I loved the story line and the every day life in the era
I loved the cover which is what caught my eye and drew me in - I wasn't disappointed with this historical fiction debut novel.
The story has some major historical events cleverly woven in with the character's stories, these were clearly well researched and used to good effect throughout. Emma is a New Yorker keen to get involved in the women's suffrage movement, but after suffering an accident at work is sent to Ireland to recuperate by her family while exploring her Irish grandmother's history there.
She stays in a hotel in Queenstown where she meets the owner Thomas and his wife Alice, and their lives become irrevocably intertwined.
I really enjoyed this story, I think the author has created a really heartwarming tale and has put all the researched details to very good use. Emma's story is strong and clear and we learn more about Thomas and his wife Alice as the story progresses, although there is a strand in Alice's relating to her personal life which felt a bit tacked on and didnt really add much to the story overall. I also thought the last few chapters felt a bit rushed, but these small niggles did not stop me thoroughly enjoying this story.
I was drawn to the cover design, so thought I'd give this a try.
This was an enjoyable piece of historical fiction. Something about it felt comforting for me. I liked the characters and was interested in them. I would also be interested to know if there is going to be a sequel.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a free copy to review.
A great concept told through some interesting historical facts and fiction. Loved the elements of romance and the characters. Great debut with promise for future publications.
I love reading stories about women who become independent and Maid of Steel was really good! I love the aspects of the suffrage movement and I learned so much about women getting the right to vote. Overall, I thought this was a really well done and researched book and I highly recommend it!
Thanks to The Book Guild for the ARC!
Maid Of Steele is a book that instantly draws you in, hooks you and makes you forget the world outside.
This book is about growth, female empowerment, strong friendships, and an even stronger love.
Not only did I thoroughly enjoy the book for what it was - a quite feel-goody romance with some twists and turns - but I absolutely adored how well researched this book was, and how well the author weaved in actual historical events throughout!
Truly a solid piece of historical fiction.
A fabulous debut historical novel
In 1911 against her mother’s wishes, New Yorker Emma, dreams of winning the right to vote.
She is sent away by her parents to Queenstown in Ireland to learn about her family heritage and grandparents, in the hope that distance will wane her desire to join the suffragette movement
Beautifully written, very engaging with fascinating historical facts.
Emma was such a strong charismatic character
Can imagine it been made into a film for the big screen.
Thanks @katefbaker @bookguild & @netgalley for the eARC
I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. For a debut novel by a new author, the book is absolutely brilliant.
We got our main character Emma that’s fighting for women’s rights, plagued by a traumatic event, and she’s hopelessly in love with a man that cannot be hers. She falls pregnant, and during a historical time like this, it’s considered a disgrace especially since the father is a married man.
In order to escape her problems, she boards the Titanic, and worst of all she’s on the ship with the baby daddy’s wife Alice.
Alice is an aspiring actress and frankly she’s also a bit of a brat. But in the end she makes the ultimate sacrifice by saving Emma and Emma’s unborn bastard child.
Surprisingly under duress, Emma and Alice become friends when Emma somehow convinces the crew to let them both on a life boat. I absolutely adore seeing women supporting other women. It comes to show that there are more important things in life than to be petty.
Also honestly I didn’t care for Thomas, especially when it came down to two women fighting over him, and heaven only knows what they see in him.
I’m all in favor of the small kinship that Emma and Alice had formed on the Titanic.
If you love historical fiction, I highly recommend this book to my fellow readers.
such a nice and pleasant read! (except for the anxiety it briefly gave me) I love novels taking place in Ireland, even more so with fantastic romances in them.
for the first half of the book I came back more for the characters than the plot and then things took a turn and I was HOOKED.
it's amazing how much tension one can create without any type of smut, the love story was so endearing I'm obsessed. I need a Thomas in my life
Emma is a feminist legend and I loved how she took an interest in soldiers and their mental health, she was such a layered character!
this achieved to interest me in the titanic's story, I'll be watching documentaries on it very soon
Everything about this was wonderful. from the gorgeous cover to the perfect story inside. I really enjoyed Kate Baker's historic novel debut -the early 20th century is a period of relatively recent history that fascinates me with the implications for women's rights and democracy. Throw in a beautifully scripted romance with star-crossed lovers and I am there.
I know from reading posts that the author has spent years researching the historic background to do her story justice, and it worked brilliantly. The details were deftly sewn in and I felt a real sense of place and time. The tone is perfectly pitched, the pace of the book is ideal, the characters are all real - I wouldn't change a thing.
What a lovely bit of historical fiction! The author does such a good job making sure you immediately feel attached to Emma. Alice is the classic mean girl, only nice to get her way, and very unkind to our Emma! While the Romance between Thomas and Emma/Alice was intriguing, my favorite part was the inclusion of the women’s suffrage movement in the book, and that made this book way more special to me! I’m excited to read more by this author in the future
Maid of Steel, by Katie Baker, is a wonderfully written historical novel. I enjoyed this book from the first page. While I wouldn't say it was a page turner, it was one that I couldn't wait to read until I finished it. It was well researched information about the suffrage movement and the Titanic. The characters were all fascinating, and there really wasn't one that I liked more than the others. Overall, it was a well written book and I can't wait to read others by this author!
Kate Baker crafts a love story amid the societal upheaval of the early 20th Century, when women were fighting (sometimes literally) for the right to vote. "Maid of Steel" is a compelling blend of fact and fiction. This is true historical fiction, with actual events and people making appearances. The tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire is vividly described, although for some reason it's called something different. This opening event propels heroine Emma Quinn to travel to Ireland, where she meets the married Thomas Murphy.
For the most part, the characters here are well-drawn, but I remained unclear as to what Thomas and Emma actually looked like. Aoife is a sweet secondary character; her name is pronounced EE-fa, not EE-fee. I digress. The beautiful and haughty Alice Murphy is a detestable character, yet she undergoes a shocking transformation near the end. An unexpected twist definitely surprised me. A character's one exclamation alludes to this, but it definitely eluded ME. The Titanic serves as a backdrop near the end, yet the reader is spared much of the grisly detail.
I really enjoyed this book. Kate Baker's prose is evocative. Some violence is described, and the factory fire is grimly detailed. This book can perhaps be classified as clean. However, there is adultery, and it is central to the plot. "Maid of Steel" is a strong debut novel. I look forward to reading more of Kate Baker's works.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this intriguing tale.
After experiencing the devastating loss of her brother, and then her best friend in a workplace tragedy, Emma is sent from America to Ireland to recover. Already an advocate for the suffrage movement that’s been gaining ground in her home country, she hopes to start a similar fight for the vote in the small town she’s landed in. This draws the interest, and ire, of some townsfolk.
One interested person is Thomas, the man who runs the inn Emma is staying in. Given the run of it in exchange for a love-less marriage to the previous owner’s daughter, Thomas is content making the most of his lot in life. That is until Emma walks into it.
The true heart of this book is the relationship between Emma and Thomas, and it kept me turning pages to see how things would start and end for them. Thomas’ wife Alice, a selfish actress who uses him and anyone else to get ahead in her career, is also an interesting character. Certainly, one you love to hate. She takes a surprising turn in both character and arc, which for me, felt like it came out of left field, but it did work by the closing pages. If you’re a fan of historical romance fiction, this book is worth a read.
The courage and convictions of women in history is evident in this book . Emma who believed in equal rights and woman being able to vote ,Alice who was an entrepreneur, actress and a progressive woman in so many ways. Aiofe, the humble servant who knew what she needed to do to rise above her position. So many other women in this book through their volunteering and commitment to causes were contributors to making society more accessible and fair to women. This book shows that life often is complicated ,unfair and tragic events occur but moving forward is the right thing to do.
They say not to judge a book by its cover, but I mean look how beautiful it is! The story really kept me hooked and made me want to do more research on the subject. I thought the romance was beautiful.
Thank you #NetGalley and The Book Guild for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. All above opinions are my own.
This wss a 5 star book for me. I was lucky enough to recieve it as an ARC from Netgalley for my honest review. I have read a lot of books this year and this one stands out for me. I absolutely loved the artwork on the front of the cover and how it kept the style through the pages. It kept me deep into the story and I really enjoy the little touches in a book like the title fonts etc.
This was a quick enjoyable read with two central enticing characters. I loved the historical touchstones weaves into this story.
Two of my go-to genres are historical fiction and romance so this was a match made in heaven for me. I also went through my Titanic phase like I think many millennials did (thanks James Cameron) except I never outgrew that and I teach a course today on the Titanic so I am always on the lookout for mentions of the Titanic in any sort of media; whether it's a documentary or a fictionalized version. I was very pleased with how well-researched this novel was and how well-characterized Emma, Alice, and Thomas were. I find that usually there is a trade-off between well-researched books that read like dry textbooks and novels that are paced and have well-written dialogue but are lacking in the fact department but that was not the case here.
Thank you to The Book Guild and NetGalley for the ARC.
I have always been fascinated with the Titanic and the stories of the passengers. This book has so much. Tragedy, grief, love, perseverance and strength. I enjoyed the characters and the storyline. A great historical romance.
I loved everything about this book, from the writing which was engaging, to the compelling story and the well developed characters. A pure triumph
I really enjoyed this book and read it in a couple of days - its set in 1911 and is about a girl called Emma who has ideas of working in the new suffragette movement . In a turn of events that she wasn't expecting she ends up going to Southern Ireland where her grandparents came from to rest and heal. Here she meets hotelier Thomas and discover they have feelings for each other. This is an emotional book about friendships and love .
I was pleasantly surprised about this book; the story was wonderfully written. The story was set in the time of the women's suffrage movement around the world. What happens when you lose everything in one quick moment, and you become the only survivor among your friends in a factory warehouse fire in New York. How do you move on from the nightmares? This is a story of one women's courage to heal and discover her family history in Ireland. But what she does not realize she will find so much more in her time in Ireland including love.
You have to add this book to your fall reading list, it will not disappoint, I am looking forward to more from this author.
Thank you to NetGalley and The Book Guild for copy of this book for my honest review.
I’m a sucker for a beautiful book cover and this was with it’s art deco design with the shiny gold on the blue grabs the attention. It calls to you to pick it up from the bookshelf and read.
Once inside it’s the words that captured me. Within pages, I was thrown into Emma’s life, her grief for her twin and hatred of injustice. Highly visual, I could easily imagine the initial dramatic scenes unfolding hooking me into the story. From New York to Ireland, this novel’s sense of place is as strong as the women living there. I’ve never been to any of these places, but I was there walking instep with Emma, Alice and Thomas whether it was across Brooklyn Bridge, celebrating the King’s coronation or protesting for women’s rights.
With a forbidden love story, there are characters to love and hate but all well formed and relatable. While both women entangled in the relationship with Thomas are strong and determined to fulfil their dreams, each sees the same person through different lens adding to the dynamic. This is more than a romance, it is a story of self-discovery, finding the past and the future.
The side characters, such as the inspiring Mrs Walsh hold as much intrigue as the protagonists. Moments and personalities from history are blended into fiction effortlessly so I learnt things I never knew about suffrage, Ireland and this important time period without realising which is how I love my historical fiction. It left me feeling great respect for Mrs Walsh, those involved in the suffrage movement and living during the Irish famine when tough decisions had to be made.
All in all, this is a memorable read which reminds me of Lucinda Riley’s the Seven Sisters series with its heart, emotion and accessible historical depth and I can’t wait to read more of Kate’s work in the future.
"Maid of Steel" by Kate Baker is a beautifully crafted historical fiction novel that skillfully blends the suffrage movement, personal discovery, and forbidden love into a captivating and emotionally resonant narrative. This book is a must-read for those who enjoy historical fiction with strong, relatable characters and a richly detailed backdrop of a bygone era. Baker's storytelling prowess shines in this tale of love and empowerment.