Praise for Wax – a novel about women in the 1940s

Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist

Kaiser Permanente: “New novel tracks lives of fictional Kaiser Shipyard Rosies” Read the full article here.

All Books Review, Canada, August 2012: “Touching and funny, with good pacing, and amazing characters, WAX is a novel that only disappoints in that it ends too soon” Read the full article here.
“A combination coming-of-age story and mystery, following Matilda “Tilly” Bettencourt as she struggles against traditional expectations of women in the 1940s.
Smith follows young, beautiful Tilly Bettencourt from the moment she makes the life-changing decision to leave her family and join the war effort as a metal welder. Settled across the country, Tilly begins a lifelong friendship with her roommate, Doris, and their neighbor, Sylvia. Doris soon discovers that she is an heir to a piece of property close to Tilly’s hometown. After the war is over, the roommates reunite to start a candle-making business on Doris’ inherited property. Unknown to Tilly and Doris, however, is a secret past that binds the girls’ families and threatens their dreams. An act of arson that destroys the girls’ business finally forces the secret to light. Together, Tilly, Doris and Sylvia struggle to realize a life outside mainstream expectations for women in the ’40s. While the author touches on important sociopolitical issues of the times—racism, women’s rights and homophobia—history is incidental to the story. Smith works in broad strokes, skimming over the secrecy of gay life during the ’40s and the dramatic fallout of family betrayal. The author focuses instead on character-driven plot points: the assistance of a handsome carpenter in remodeling a cottage, the challenges of first-time entrepreneurship and the heartache that characters experience searching for romantic love. Smith draws on strong, clearly defined characters to deliver a mostly linear story about family betrayal and personal integrity.

Smith’s richly imagined characters breathe life into this look at female friendship in a time of limited social opportunity for women, as well as the enduring power of friendship to transcend almost any challenge.”

– R. Cramer, Kirkus Reviews

“Therese Smith gives an insightful portrait of a lost era — of the sudden sense of obligation and individual freedom that came to the women who worked in the shipyards in World War II. This book is significant historically, but it will also please readers with its likable characters, who find their own alternative America in their newfound responsibility and allegiance — not just to saving democracy, but to saving themselves and each other.”

– James Tipton, bestselling author of Annette Vallon, A Novel of the French Revolution

“With its engaging characters and intriguing secrets, in Wax, a charming WWII coming of age novel, Therese Ambrosi Smith has created a loving valentine to Rosie the Riveter and skillfully whisks the reader away on a journey to a time when everything seemed possible. A promising debut.”

– Kris Neri, Lefty Award-nominated author of Revenge for Old Times’ Sake

“After reading something wonderful, you just feel like you should share it with Everyone. That’s how I felt after reading Therese Ambrosi Smith’s Wax. Smith pens this tale with the greatest finesse and a delicate hand. The story of Tilly Bettencourt, one of the many women who held the U.S. together during World War II, when the country was stripped of its men, is one that will make you laugh, cry and get angry, but by the end, you’ll feel like you’ve won just for having read the story. Wax is a must-read.”

– Susan Wingate, award-winning author of Drowning and the Bobby’s Diner series

6 Responses to Praise for Wax – a novel about women in the 1940s

  1. Gail says:

    I really enjoyed this novel–my only complaint is that it could have been longer! :) I live in El Granada so it was fun to read about local sites. I recommended it to my sister, my husband, and several friends.

    • Therese says:

      Hi Gail-
      Thanks for your kind words; I really appreciate the support.
      The second part of Wax is still two years away; I’m finishing “The Earthen Corral” now. Are you familer with Rancho Corral di Tierra?

  2. Just finished “Wax” … it’s good!

  3. Christopher Rubel says:

    I just finished reading WAX and I didn’t want it to end. What superb writing, characters, research, history, and constantly visualized descriptions of so much familiar territory! The tender and empathic way of handling Tilly’s sexuality came close to some experiences I’ve had with lesbian friends and you were right on, from my experiences with them, especially in those days. Thank you, Therese. I got attached to your characters early on and, remembering the war years well, it took me back to so many industrious women I knew as a boy. My mother’s story could be added to the thousands of others of these great women in a very challenging Zeitgeist, women who helped win WWII. Having spent many hours in the area south of San Francisco and in the Big Sur, along Highway One, you obviously knew in depth the places, the geology, and the ambience of those days and that region. In short, I want to thank my ex-wife for giving me the book and thank you for producing it. My wife is about to read it, next, and I’m sure she’ll find it as captivating as did I.
    Keep up the excellent work. Take good care of yourself. These endeavors aren’t easy—an understatement. Chris Rubel

    • Therese says:

      Hi Chris-
      Thank you for your kind words and for passing “Wax” to another. I may write “Wax II” — I’ve had a number of readers ask what happens next. And no, Doris does Not end up with John. However, I need to finish the book I’m currently working on.

      I can’t tell from your message whether or not your mother has passed. If she is able, she may want to give an oral history. I can get you the forms to fill out if that’s an option.

      Thank you again for reading and for taking the time to contact me.
      Best regards,

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