From the mountains to Manhattan, from London to San Juan to Paris, Hopeless Wade finds love and adventure while moving inevitably back to her true love in New York.
Author Biography: Frankie Holbrook was born and raised in the mountains of Southwestern Virginia. Majoring in theatre, she pursued an acting career before turning to writing. In New York, she studied writing at the New School with novelist Marguerite Young and Alice S. Morris, former literary editor of Harper's Bazaar. Author of four novels and numerous short stories, she is currently working on her first play.
Ms. Holbrook lives in Manhattan.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)|
Read an Excerpt
New York City
When the train pulled into Penn Station in New York City, the beautiful young woman jumped up hastily to lift the heavy suitcase down from the rack above her head. In it was everything she owned in the world, including her birth certificate and a brand new Social Security card, which had just arrived in the mail.
I have come to seek my fortune, she thought, and smiled through her tears at the line from fairy tales she had loved as a child. Her tears were from three things: grief from her mother's death only three days ago, fear from coming to this huge, terrifying city after a lifetime in the Southern mountains, and loneliness at being totally alone in the world. There had been times on the 14-hour journey when she had felt her heart was breaking and that she could not breathe from the enormity of it all and even now, although excitement was setting in from all the things she'd read about in New York and was now going to see, she was having a hard time controlling her tears.
But she waited until everyone around her had left the car, and then she tossed her head, and put her shoulders back in the way that people had always taken for snootiness, and picking up her suitcase, she left the car, her head up and her eyes flashing as she ignored the many stares that she had gotten used to since she was a young girl. People's stares did not even make her self-conscious anymore, for she knew that she was beautiful. Even when they turned away, they always turned again to the slender 5'l0, black-haired beauty, whose complexion bordered on olive and whose incredibly long eyelashes framed eyes as black as the coal that was dug from her beloved mountains. At eighteen years old, Hopeless Wade was stunning, and she had an open, wide-eyed innocence that seemed to complement her air of poise and sophistication. A stranger would have thought she was as worldly and sophisticated as a girl born and raised in a large city, for she had read all her life and knew how to pretend in almost any situation. Now she was going to put it all to the real test.
So certain was she that no one could tell where she was from, she was taken aback when upon checking into the modest hotel, the desk clerk said, "Why hi, y'all, where y'all from?"
She had never thought that her accent would give her away. She looked down at the card she was filling out for him, weak at her oversight. How many more would she discover? But she looked up at him and gave him a smile that made him swallow and look down himself, before he looked at her again in admiration.
After she had paid him and turned him down politely, when he wanted to leave the desk and carry her bag to her room, she waited for the first elevator ride of her life. When she closed the door to her room on the 3rd floor, she sank onto the bed and raised her arms and placed them over her eyes. Please Mama, help me to know what to do...
It was true that Hopeless gave into fear and grief and loneliness that night, but with the resiliency of youth, she was up the next morning and out of her room and in a coffee shop with the New York Times by 8:00. She ordered only coffee and toast, because she had to be very careful with the little money she had until she got a job and a place to live. She had $300 she had been saving over the past two years and she had had to give the hotel $100. She hugged the little purse to her, which was her only buffer against sleeping on a bench, and looked at the want ads. She knew from inquiries she had made through her business teacher at school what temporary agencies were and thought they were her best bet. She had been the best typist and stenographer to come from the Banner High School and had even competed in county and statewide competitions. She had decided on New York City years ago as the place where she wanted to lose the Hopeless Wade identity and had turned down offers from two Washington, D. C. firms which recruited in the Banner area.
She closed her eyes and put her finger down, vowing to go to the agency on which it landed. Luck was with her. When she opened her eyes, her finger was on an agency called "Hope Temps." People had always told her she should shorten her name to Hope from the unfortunate Hopeless, but it had become a matter of pride to her to say she liked the name Hopeless. Besides, how could she change her name from the one her mother had given her without hurting her? She took this as a good omen.
Her mother had never kept the story of their background from Hopeless. She said that she had gotten pregnant at sixteen and that her parents, who were both "religious nuts" had thrown her out of the house and told her never to come back. She had had to stay with an elderly maiden aunt who had died about the time Hopeless was born. With the aunt's death, at least she had had a home, but she had been so sick during the pregnancy, and had felt so alone with no one to love her, that she had felt hopeless. At the hospital, when the nurse had repeatedly asked for a name for the female infant, Nora Wade had pulled the sheet up over her head and cried out, "It's hopeless! It's hopeless!"
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This writer seems to know the ups and downs and sometimes unscrupulous business practices of 'big business'. She also is sensitive to poverty and how hard it is for a nobody to rise above his/her rearing. Great insight into human nature from Ms. Holbrook. I am looking for more from her.
A young woman from the Virginia mountains faces a struggle between her love for a man and his finding out about her past. She runs to many places to escape her past, but her beauty and compassion for living prevent her from hiding. This should be on the Ophrah list. It is extremely refreshing.