Angels At Sunset

Angels At Sunset

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by Tom Mach

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The novel begins in 1920 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where Jessica Radford listens to the very first radio broadcast on KDKA, which broadcasts the presidential election returns. Because of the passage of the 19th Amendment, this is the first time she has ever voted. Many years earlier, she advocated against slavery and pushed for equal rights of the freed slaves.


The novel begins in 1920 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where Jessica Radford listens to the very first radio broadcast on KDKA, which broadcasts the presidential election returns. Because of the passage of the 19th Amendment, this is the first time she has ever voted. Many years earlier, she advocated against slavery and pushed for equal rights of the freed slaves. Later, she joined Elizabeth Cad Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and other suffragists-not only for the right to vote but for other rights women ought to have, such as the right to speak in public, the right to have a profession, the right to have property and their right to her own children if she got divorced, as well as many, many other rights denied to them simply because they were women. It was a hard-fought struggle and Jessica relives it as she reads her biography that her daughter had written about her. AND-all the while, unknown to her, a man is planning to kill her. How will it end?

The foreword to this novel was written by Coline Jenkins, a direct descendant of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Krikus Reviews calls Angels at Sunset “a compelling…fictional primer on the suffragette movement, revealed through the eyes of a fierce campaigner in her sunset years.”

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Hillsong Press
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Meet the Author

Tom Mach wrote two successful historical novels, Sissy! and All Parts Together, both of which have won rave reviews and were listed among the 150 best Kansas books in 2011.Sissy! won the J. Donald Coffin Memorial Book Award while All Parts Together was a viable entrant for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Award. He also wrote a collection of short stories entitled Stories To Enjoy which received positive reviews. Tom has two other novels which appear as E-books: An Innocent Murdered and Advent.

His poetry collection, The Uni Verse, won the 2008 Nelson Poetry Book Award. In addition to winning poetry awards from Kansas Authors Club, Tom was a finalist in a nationwide Writer’s Digest Awards competition.

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Angels at Sunset 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
LonnieH More than 1 year ago
The story of Jessica Radford began with “Sissy,” which extends from 1857 to 1863. “All Parts Together,” the second book in Jessica Radford’s story, extends from August 1863 to May 1865. This final book is told principally from the period November 2, 1920 to December 18, 1920, but the story flashes back through various means to key events in Jessica’s life between 1865 and 1920. Jessica is ready for one final journey, travelling from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to Lawrence, Kansas. As Jessica travels, her daughter Emma urges her to read her manuscript, “Song of My Mother.” The manuscript takes Jessica back to events that are hard to remember and some she does not want to remember. We tend to forget the bad things that happen in our lives. Emma’s manuscript brings back some of the worst days in Jessica’s life. We also learn that someone seems to be following Jessica, her daughter Emma, and Emma’s husband Francesco Bonelli as they travel from Pennsylvania to Kansas. That someone, Michael Alcott, seems intent on murdering Jessica. As Jessica, Emma and Francesco travel to Kansas, we relive key events in Jessica’s life, with the past and the present converging on Lawrence, Kansas, which Jessica had last visited more than 50 years earlier. The events are often horrific, such as a scary first person perspective on what the Great Chicago Fire in October 1871 must have been like. Other events are disturbing, such as Jessica’s incarceration in the Occaquan Workhouse. Every one of Tom Mach’s background events are true and accurate historical events, with enough detail so that you feel as though you could have been right with Jessica Radford. Certainly, you have to think about the injustice that Jessica saw and hope we have become a better nation with time. The point of this third novel is resolution. Jessica needs to come to resolution with the facts of her daughter Mitzi’s death. Michael Alcott, who is intent on exacting what he thinks is justice on Jessica, needs to come to terms with the death of his father. Perhaps more broadly, we need to remember the things our society has done in the past with the intent that we not repeat the same mistakes. As with Tom Mach’s previous two novels in this trilogy, angels make appearances once again. The appearances are initially subtle, which I liked the best, but later are much more direct. The appearances are necessary for the flow of the story and are needed to help at least one of the characters to come to terms with the past. Another aspect of this novel that I loved is the visits to Chicago, Columbia, Missouri, and Kansas City, Missouri, all places where I either lived or grew up. I kept looking to see if Mach got his facts correct (he did), and it was fun remembering those places that even for me are fading. According to my database, I have now read four books by Tom Mach, including two of the Jessica Radford trilogy. I liked “All Parts Together” and thought it was his best book prior to reading this book. In this book, Mach has written his best book yet and has matured into an excellent author. He was able to make use of various historical events to tell the stories of several principal characters in a wonderfully consistent and coherent way. I always knew where I was in history and location. The purpose of the flashbacks was always apparent. I was most captured by the story involving the Great Chicago Fire and I read as quickly as possible to the next portion of the novel because the events during the fire were a defining moment in Jessica’s life. I could only wish that all the books I read were as good as this book. If you enjoy historical fiction, particularly the history of the United States between 1865 and 1920, and most particularly the history of Women’s suffrage, you will likely find this book a fascinating read. This book incorporates much more than Women’s suffrage, incorporating references to the Ku Klux Klan, racism in the period after the Civil War, and many other aspects of American history. If you enjoy historical fiction and have an open mind, then you will absolutely enjoy this book. Do you need to read “Sissy!” and “All Parts Together”? It is not necessary, but this novel will have much more depth if you read all three. You will also have the opportunity to see how much Tom Mach has grown as an author by reading all three. If Tom Mach continues to write as well as he did in “Angels at Sunset,” he will be a must-read author for me. Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is about a woman, Jessica Chandler, of notable interest from the late 1800s, early 1900s. During some of the times of this story woman were anything but honored. The battles for their rights were being fought, and won, but not without true hardships. As you read this work, you truly understand how it felt for a woman to live in this time and experience taking part, for the first time, in issues that mattered, like voting. Jessica was a strong woman who faced much adversary, as she struggled for women's rights As I read this story so many emotions flooded my soul, and I was thankful to be living in my times. Although Jessica never looked at herself as accomplished, her family does. Her daughter writes a biography about her, shared in this book, and as Jessica reads it, she relives the torment and the accomplishments of her life. The author has woven a lot of historical facts and details within the pages of this read. I found those to be interesting and definitely brought light to the story, that fact makes this book a must read for historians who like fiction. I also feel this is a story that our youth would benefit from reading. To that end, it is somewhat like Titanic - the movie was to the real Titanic, this novel is to the real struggles faced by women in that day. And you are treated to a bit of mystery. Unknown to our lady, there is a man following her who is trying to kill her and her family. Will he succeed? All in all, an exceptional read, great story and history all wrapped up in one. Review submitted by Shirley Johnson, Senior Reviewer for Midwest Book Review
J-M-ANTON More than 1 year ago
This is a must read for today's young women, and the men who care about them. It is frightening that in the twenty first century there are those who would take away the rights of women to make their own decisions. The following is a quote, in the forward of this timely novel, by Elizabeth Cady Stanton"s great-great-granddaughter. "Outside the home it was a man's world. For instance, it was considered promiscuous for a woman to speak in public, thus stifling her 'public voice." (1848)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think it is beautiful how the author has taken what my generation (I am 28) would call a "history lesson", and truly bring it to life! All three stories are wonderful!
mara13JC More than 1 year ago
As with all Tom Mach books this book was totally spellbounding. "Angels at Sunset" is about the age of women sufferage, the fight to give equal rights to the newly freed slaves, and the right to vote for all. Jessica's daughter has written a biography about her mother. The book is Jessica reliving her life reading the book. While reading and among the chapters you read about a mysterious man out to kill her. As with all his books there is always a surprise ending. This book is a novel but you get so wrapped up in the story the pages just fly by.The in depth storyline makes it a perfect book for any book club.