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Publisher's Summary

Reliance, Illinois tells the story of a young woman faced with choices that will alter the course of her own future, and offers a brilliant window into American life during a period of tumultuous change.

Illinois, 1874: With a birthmark covering half her face, 13-year-old Madelyn Branch is accustomed to cold and awkward greetings, and expects no less in the struggling town of Reliance. After all, her mother, Rebecca, was careful not to mention a daughter in the Matrimonial Times ad that brought them there. When Rebecca weds, Madelyn poses as her mother's younger sister and earns a grudging berth in her new house.

Deeply injured by her mother's deceptions, Madelyn soon leaves to enter the service of Miss Rose Werner, prodigal daughter of the town's founder. Miss Rose is a suffragette and purveyor of black market birth control who sees in Madelyn a project and potential acolyte. Madelyn, though, wants to feel beautiful and loved, and she pins her hopes on William Stark, a young photographer and haunted Civil War veteran.

Reliance, Illinois tells the story of a young woman faced with choices that will alter the course of her own future, and offers a brilliant window into American life during a period of tumultuous change.

©2016 Mary Volmer (P)2016 Recorded Books

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Engaging journey into another world and time.

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I never lacked the right to vote. I never had my body controlled or owned by a husband or father. And, I’ve never experienced being separated from others by a shocking physical difference.

Until, that is, I spent several hours in Reliance, Illinois, in the 1870s, experiencing life as a fatherless, indeed motherless, young girl with a face-to-torso port-wine birthmark. The audible version, brilliantly read by Sandy Rustin, was an amazing journey into another world and time.

An Interesting, and interestingly flawed, cast of characters weave their way through a gossamer web of secrets in a time often glossed over as not as dramatic as some others, while sewing the seeds of changes to come. For the eleven listening hours, Maddy, Miss. Rose, Rebecca, William, Handley … all were family and will stay with me for a long time.