From the author of The Same Embrace: A “lively and illuminating” novel that explores a little-known chapter of World War I history (The Washington Post Book World).
Frieda Mintz refused her mother’s plan to marry her off to an older, wealthy man. Now she’s determined to make her own way in the world—and find love on her own terms. Earning her keep in a Boston department store, she spends her nights in the dance halls, intoxicated by her newfound freedom and the patriotic fervor of the day. That is, until her soldier beau reports her as his last sexual contact, sweeping her up in the government’s wartime crusade against venereal disease.
Soon, Frieda is quarantined in a detention center, forced into manual labor, and subjected to questionable cures. But she finds comfort among those around her, including an incorrigible woman of the night and a sympathetic social worker, as they all seek to build a new kind of independence.
At once a horrifying exposé of a dark period in US history and an unexpectedly hopeful story of desire, identity, and righteousness, Charity Girl is a stunningly researched and expertly crafted work of literature, guaranteed to enrapture even as it enrages.
“Lively and illuminating . . . marrying the facts of history with the details that make a fictional life come alive.” —Anita Shreve, The Washington Post Book World
“A lively, emotion-laden novel of an irrepressible young woman’s punishment for rebelling against upbringing and society.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Expect to be drawn into this absorbing page-turner.” —USA Today