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The Tobacco Wives  By  cover art

The Tobacco Wives

By: Adele Myers
Narrated by: Shannon McManus,Janet Metzger
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Publisher's Summary

Most anticipated by USA Today, W Magazine, New York Post, Bustle, Buzzfeed, Reader's Digest, PopSugar and more!

North Carolina, 1946. One woman. A discovery that could rewrite history.

"A beautifully rendered portrait of a young woman finding her courage and her voice."—Lisa Wingate, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Maddie Sykes is a burgeoning seamstress who’s just arrived in Bright Leaf, North Carolina—the tobacco capital of the South—where her aunt has a thriving sewing business. After years of war rations and shortages, Bright Leaf is a prosperous wonderland in full technicolor bloom, and Maddie is dazzled by the bustle of the crisply uniformed female factory workers, the palatial homes, and, most of all, her aunt’s glossiest clientele: the wives of the powerful tobacco executives.

But she soon learns that Bright Leaf isn’t quite the carefree paradise that it seems. A trail of misfortune follows many of the women, including substantial health problems, and although Maddie is quick to believe that this is a coincidence, she inadvertently uncovers evidence that suggests otherwise.

Maddie wants to report what she knows, but in a town where everyone depends on Big Tobacco to survive, she doesn’t know who she can trust—and fears that exposing the truth may destroy the lives of the proud, strong women with whom she has forged strong bonds.

Shedding light on the hidden history of women’s activism during the post-war period, at its heart, The Tobacco Wives is a deeply human, emotionally satisfying, and dramatic novel about the power of female connection and the importance of seeking truth.

“This is a story of courage, of women willing to take a stand in the face of corporate greed, and most definitely a tale for our times.”—Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author

©2022 Adele Myers (P)2022 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Tobacco Wives

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Historical fiction at its best!


Maddie, a mere teenager, is woken in the middle of the night by her frenzied mother.
Her mother is manic and having another episode, sadly these seem to occur more and more these days. She is plucked her from the warmth of her bed, driven out of the beloved home she shared with her deceased father and into a car, destination unknown.
At the journey’s end she is relieved yet confused as to why they have arrived at her aunts home in Bright Leaf, North Carolina. Maddie has always adored her Aunt Etta and truly admired the talented designer and seamstress that she was. Aunt Etta had taught Maddie the art of needlecraft but Maddie was young and still learning. It was the busy season for Aunt Etta and much work was to be done to please the affluent women in town known as “the tobacco wives”. Green Leaf, being the tobacco capital of the south, was home to several notable tobacco tycoons. Aunt Etta was in high demand as a dressmaker and Maddie was more then pleased to assist her aunt with the tasks ahead. Unexpectedly Aunt Etta faces an affliction and must rely on Maddie to take the reins. Maddie is thrust into this new world where she will uncover shocking truths. She will be tested and transformed. Entire foundations will be rocked and life will never be the same.


To say I adored this book is an understatement. Myers threads this beautiful coming of age story with pivotal moments in history. I found myself captured by the cast of characters and could almost hear the smooth Southern drawl in their voices. Put this at the top of your “to be read” pile!

23 people found this helpful

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Terrible

The story line is weak and gets weaker as it goes along. The southern voices are hard to listen to...and I am a southerner.

19 people found this helpful

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Captivating read

I really enjoyed all aspects of this book. I’m a sucker for historical fiction and this book gave me what I was looking for. Set in post WWII NC tobacco country, the storyline focuses on social class, pride in work and community, the dirty secrets of the tobacco industry, and the lives of the haves and have nots. The characters in the book are faced with varied challenges, and those with privilege and power are ultimately forced to ask themselves what they would do if they had information that would benefit others, but hurt themselves? The author really painted a vivid picture using historical context of women’s rights, the post war era, and the turning point in the tumultuous history of the tobacco industry. I’d highly recommend this one-I couldn’t put it down!

15 people found this helpful

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Loved it

The performance in the story were perfect for this book. My mother grew up on a tobacco farm in North Carolina, and having heard her stories of harvesting tobacco and working in a wartime factory there, I felt like I was listening to part of her life. The reader’s voice was very close to a North Carolina accent, and the descriptions of the tobacco wives and the cover-up were absolutely believable.. It was beautifully written and a wonderful story of a girl growing up in that era, but it was also a very believable tale of that time and place. I highly recommend this book.

13 people found this helpful

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A Good "Summer Listen"

Really enjoyed this story. Easy & light, with familial undertones that give it some complexity. Clever, brought in current topics, definitely a bit predictable, but so what. The narration reminded me of "Nothing to See Here," which is a compliment (in my opinion). I was looking forward to how it ended.

8 people found this helpful

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If you enjoy reading you will enjoy Tobacco Wives!

It holds your interest, and has the perfect amount of humor and intrigue. Highly recommend this novel!

6 people found this helpful

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We’ll rounded!

Good story. I enjoyed the descriptions of the characters; felt like I really knew them. I felt very satisfied with how everything was pulled together in the end even though everything & everybody wasn’t left “happily ever after”.

4 people found this helpful

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wish it had been better

Loved the insight into a distinctive subculture. But the story was ultimately unsatisfying because the ending seemed both rushed and disappointing.

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Performance was good story was predictable

Just like everything these days let’s throw in all the political talking points for the left in one book.

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Highly recommend this book.

I enjoyed everything in this book, The descriptions of the fashions, the young romance, the fight for right against big industry. My Mother smoked throughout her pregnancies and lost four babies to premature birth before she suspected a connection and quit. Wonderful first book by Adele Myers, hope to see more.

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  • DeCee
  • 08-08-22

Love this book

This was a well written book, Maddie was such a great character, so brave. How awful that the damage that cigarettes posed for everyone was known so early on and yet was kept hidden, even by health professionals.

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  • Cagriff
  • 04-27-22

Brilliant

This was such a great book with an equally as good narration which had legit southern accents. Nothing annoys me more than fake southern accents and the narration was fabulous plus a strong and tenacious leading female character! Definitely recommend!