Friday, August 21, 2020

Blog Tour: Donna Russo Morin on Why I Love American Suffragettes

I am super excited to welcome Donna Russo Morin today as part of the blog tour for her latest book Gilded Dreams. Part of the reason I am so excited is that this is also the launch of the Why I Love series here at my blog. Previously we used to run this series at Historical Tapestry, a group historical fiction blog I was part of for many years. Donna Russo Morin had previously contributed to the series with a post about Venice, so it seemed fitting to have her be the person to do the first post for the relaunch.


To understand my love of American Suffragettes, we need to take quick look at how it all started.

One of the most admirable aspects of American Suffragettes is that they were born out of the Anti-Slavery and Abolitionist movements of the mid-1800s. When Elizabeth Cady Stanton, a founding member of the American Suffrage Movement, and Lucretia Mott were barred from attending the World Anti-Slavery Convention by male abolitionists who deemed it was not their (women’s) place to participate, they turned around, came back to the States, and began plans for a convention in America.

In today’s climate, I think it highly important to note that the suffrage movement was born in the anti-slavery movement. These (Caucasian) women were not just about equality for women, they were dedicated to equality for all.

It took them only eight years to organize the first Women’s Right Convention, held in Seneca Falls, NY. At this convention, much like at the Continental Congress during the Revolution, Ms. Cady Stanton (whose father often told her he wished she had been born a boy) wrote “The Declaration of Sentiments”, a document that, in its familiarity with “The Declaration of Independence”, set the purpose and mission of the suffrage movement.

At the 1850 and 1851 National Women’s Rights conventions held in Worcester, Massachusetts, not only were many abolitionists on hand, such as the likes of Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth, but many men as well…William Lloyd Garrison (journalist), Reverend Harry Ward Beecher (one of the nation’s most popular preachers), and Horace Mann (columnist for the New York Tribune). Such alliance firmly establishes that the women’s suffrage movement was a very inclusive crusade, further evidenced when, in1866, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony form the American Equal Rights Association, whose purpose was suffrage for all, regardless of gender or race.

Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, of New York and Newport (featured in both GILDED SUMMERS and GILDED DREAMS) not only funded the national suffrage party to a great extent as well as local parties in New York and Newport, she made it a priority to recruit women to the cause from all ranks of society, from servant girl to socialite.

While not as violent or as extreme as their UK counterparts, US suffragettes suffered just as many hardships and traumas, though their fight always remained non-violent; one of their longest and most impactful activities (and ultimately physically harmful and traumatic for the women), was their works as Silent Sentinels, wherein they stood for hours, days, weeks, months, and years in front of government buildings in DC and around the country, never speaking a word, holding placards calling President Woodrow Wilson to task for his lack of support. As a pacifist as well as a feminist, this only endeared them to me more.

Despite imprisonment, torture (in a few cases leading to death), ostracism, divorce and abandonment, and more, these women carried on. Despite the fact that the “Susan B. Anthony Amendment” as the 19th Amendment was nicknamed, was officially defeated four times, despite that it took seventy-two years, years in which many of the founding members of the movement passed away without seeing their efforts come to fruition, for it to become a law of our land, these women kept fighting the good fight.

The story of the American Suffragettes is not only a story of equality and inclusion, it is one of steely determination and never backing down in the face of extreme opposition and hatred. It is a cautionary tale not that we should but that we must always fight for what is right and just.

Thank you so much Donna for a fascinating post! To visit more stops on the blog tour check out the details below.



Publication Date: June 16, 2020
Magnum Opus
Paperback & eBook; 495 pages
Series: Newport’s Gilded Age, Book 2
Genre: Historical Fiction

From the bestselling author of GILDED SUMMERS comes a powerful novel of the last eight years of the American Women’s fight for suffrage.
The battle for the vote is on fire in America. The powerful and rich women of Newport, Rhode Island, are not only some of the most involved suffragettes, their wealth – especially that of the indomitable Alva Vanderbilt Belmont – nearly single-handedly funded the major suffrage parties. Yet they have been left out of history, tossed aside as mere socialites. In GILDED DREAMS, they reclaim their rightful place in history.
Pearl and Ginevra (GILDED SUMMERS) are two of its most ardent warriors. College graduates, professional women, wives, and mothers, these progressive women have fought their way through some of life’s harshest challenges, yet they survived, yet they thrive. Now they set their sights on the vote, the epitome of all they have struggled for, the embodiment of their dreams.
From the sinking of the Titanic, through World War 1, Pearl and Ginevra are once more put to the test as they fight against politics, outdated beliefs, and the most cutting opponent of all… other women. Yet they will not rest until their voices are heard, until they – and all the women of America – are allowed to cast their vote. But to gain it, they must overcome yet more obstacles, some that put their very lives in danger.
An emotional and empowering journey, GILDED DREAMS is a historical, action-packed love letter to the women who fought so hard for all women who stand on the shoulders of their triumph.


About the Author

Donna Russo Morin is an award-winning historical fiction author. Donna has dabbled as a model and actor, working on Showtime’s Brotherhood and Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. Branching out with her storytelling skills, Donna is now a screenwriter. A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, Donna lives on the south shore of Rhode Island close to the ocean she loves so very much. She is the proud mother of two sons, Devon and Dylan, her greatest works in progress.


Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 10
Review at Books, Cooks, and Looks
Wednesday, August 12
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Friday, August 14
Review at Books, Writings, and More
Saturday, August 15
Review at Reading is My Remedy
Monday, August 17
Review at Amy’s Booket List
Wednesday, August 19
Review at Book Bustle
Friday, August 21
Guest Post at The Intrepid Reader
Monday, August 24
Review at Books and Zebras
Tuesday, August 25
Feature at What Is That Book About
Wednesday, August 26
Review at The Love of Books
Friday, August 28
Interview at Passages to the Past
Monday, August 31
Review at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, September 2
Excerpt at Bookworlder
Friday, September 4
Review at A Darn Good Read


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away a copy of the book + a painting of a scene from the book painted by the author! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
Gilded Dreams
Giveaway is open to US residents only and on September 4th. You must be 18 or older to enter.


  1. I love this post! Thank you so much for hosting Donna & her tour today, Marg!

    HF Virtual Book Tours

  2. I really love the Gilded Age, so I have to check this book out, especially since it deals with suffragettes. Thanks for putting it on my radar!

    1. I hope you do get to read it Christina!

  3. i always think of the British suffragettes when i think about this topic - the Pankhursts etc. They were amazing women, literally dying for the cause at times.

    1. The British suffragettes are certainly the more well known ones for sure Sherry!

  4. oh and of course the aussie Muriel Matters!