Among the “Plain People” in the US–the Mennonites, Shakers, Amana, Hutterites, and Quakers–I am fascinated by and write about this last sect, just as old as the Amish. If you’re unacquainted with the Quakers, rent the old Gary Cooper film, “Friendly Persuasion,” which portrays the Quakers, or the Society of Friends. Remembered for their use of Plain Speech: “thee” and “thy,” they were also pacifists and at the forefront of social reform in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Their desire to follow the Inner Light, to seek God’s will even if it ran counter to what others thought branded Quakers as rebels. An example: Recently on my “Strong Women, Brave Stories” blog, I featured videos on Mrs. Elizabeth Fry, an early English reformer, concerned with the plight of women in English prison. Here’s a link if you’re interested in what she managed to do. (Quite a lot actually!)

My latest novel, Blessing, features the daughter of my first heroine,Honor, in my Quaker Brides series. In 1820 Ohio, Honor became involved at the very beginning of the Underground Railroad. And in the late 1840‘s, her daughter Blessing continues this work; however, after suffering an abusive marriage, Blessing also works to help women who have become outcasts from respectable society.

In the 19th century, while a young man was expected to sow his wild oats, any indiscretion could banish a young woman for life from respectable society, “ruin” her. Blessing sees that the majority of women who work in the brothels and walk the streets at the Cincinnati riverfront did not go there from a desire to sin but after being abused or abandoned by men—or because of a lack of opportunity for education or meaningful work that paid enough to live on.

Because of this, Blessing attends the first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, NY, in July 1848. There she meets a man totally different from herself, Gerard Ramsay, a wealthy man from Boston. Blessing Brightman leads Mr. Ramsay down paths he never knew before and challenges him to examine his life. She’s a woman he intends to best but in the end, he discovers that she brings out the best in him.

Head over to to enter to win a copy of Blessing and Honor!

Congratulations to the winner of last week’s Author Spotlight giveaway, Mari Ridgway! Please email your mailing address to info {at} suzannewoodsfisher {dot} com to claim your prize.

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