Stapleton, New York was in its heyday in the late 19th century. There was a busy waterfront, world renowned breweries, and a vibrant downtown business center. There were churches, jails, dance halls, and saloons. In Stapleton, anything could and did happen as honest, hard-working, and at times rough-edged citizens of the community shared the same streets with young thugs, hardened criminals, and corrupt politicians.
Mary Ann Bascombe was a real-life anomaly who played a part in the drama of Stapleton’s golden age. Born in 1840, she started and ended life on the same street corner in the working class section of Stapleton called Rocky Hollow. Orphaned at the age of twelve, Mary Ann was forced into work as a housemaid. Yet, from this humble and unfortunately common circumstance of the times, she went on to become a savvy businesswoman, lay lawyer, neighborhood activist, and local politician, independent of a man. Mary Ann also became a humorous and eccentric local personality known for being outspoken and carrying around a club.
Mary Ann Bascombe lived a rich and fascinating life, then died and tumbled through the cracks of history. This story resurrects her life and times during the free spirited independent days of Staten Island prior to joining the City of Greater New York.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book provided all the things I enjoy most in a biographical fiction/historical novel: an engaging storyline, interesting characters, detailed facts, and historical perspective. The fact that it describes the history of a community that is fairly local to me is a bonus, and I learned many things I never knew! Kudos to the author, who clearly invested a lot of research into not only presenting her ancestor's personal story but also connecting her life into the time and place in which she lived. I enjoyed her easy style of blending colorful personalities, believable conversations, and historical and geographical details, and the personal commentary she offered, as well. If this was the author's first book, I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next.
Bravo !! !! A beautifully written story about the life and times of a powerful and historic Staten Island woman. The author certainly demonstrates her own strength and determination within the character of the books subject, Mary Ann Bascombe. This is a must read book for all to embrace the spirit of a woman focused on not letting any man, no matter how powerful or influential, get in the way of doing whats right for her and those near and dear to the society she lives in. Congratulations to the author for combining countless months of painstakingly difficult research with a superior literary writing style to produce a well documented historic and insightful passage into the life of a fascinating woman. I especially enjoyed chapter 6. Looking forward to the authors next contribution to an avid readers delight.