Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spotlight on To the Stars Through Difficulties by Romalyn Tilghman

Publisher: She Writes Press
Pub. Date: April 4th, 2017
Pages: 303

Andrew Carnegie funded fifty-nine public libraries in Kansas in the early 20th century―but it was frontier women who organized waffle suppers, minstrel shows, and women's baseball games to buy books to fill them. Now, a century later, Angelina returns to her father's hometown of New Hope to complete her dissertation on the Carnegie libraries, just as Traci and Gayle arrive in town―Traci as an artist-in-residence at the renovated Carnegie Arts Center and Gayle as a refugee whose neighboring town, Prairie Hill, has just been destroyed by a tornado.

The discovery of an old journal inspires the women to create a library and arts center as the first act of rebuilding Prairie Hill after the tornado. As they work together to raise money for the center, Traci reveals her enormous heart, Angelina discovers that problem-solving is more valuable than her PhD, and Gayle demonstrates that courage is not about waiting out a storm but building a future. Full of Kansas history―from pioneer homesteaders to Carrie Nation to orphan trains―To the Stars through Difficulties is a contemporary story of women changing their world, and finding their own voices, powers, and self-esteem in the process.

Praise for To the Stars Through Difficulties

“…this warmhearted first novel celebrates the value of community (and libraries!); the inspirational story of women past and present is a must-buy for Kansas libraries and recommended for general adult readers.”—Library Journal

"... this charming debut will appeal to women’s-fiction fans of gentle reads."—Booklist

"To the Stars Through Difficulties is a deeply charming, wildly inspiring love letter to libraries, to art, to Kansas, to community. Romalyn Tilghman has crafted a glorious quilt of voices here, a beautiful chorus of resilience. Anyone who loves books will find sustenance in these pages.”—Gayle Brandeis, author of the Bellwether Prize winner The Book of Dead Birds

"What a joy! We learn about the importance of the Carnegie libraries, the orphan trains, and the state of Kansas; all subjects the author knows a great deal about and loves deeply.”—Goody Cable, owner of the Sylvia Beach Hotel, a hotel for book lovers

"To the Stars Through Difficulties is a gem; an endearing story about redemption and transformation. Tilghman succeeds in capturing the condition of an entire community—as well as the heart of this reader.”—Heidi W. Durrow, author of the New York Times bestseller The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

“Anybody can set a novel amid New York’s arts and literary ferment. But it takes a special eye to create engrossing fiction around the tension of cultural currents in a presumed backwater – such as the Carnegie libraries of the Kansas Plains….Readers will find themselves rooting for this star-bound cast of characters.”—Carol B. Chittenden, founder (retired), Eight Cousins Books, Falmouth, MA

“…an uplifting story about the strength of collectivity, especially the collective power of women.”—Centered on Books

“The details sprinkled throughout the novel about the Carnegie Libraries are fascinating ….The ending reveals a surprise twist that I didn’t see coming. I highly recommend this novel …”—StoryCircle Book Reviews

Buy the Book


About the Author

Photo credit: Rachael Warecki
Romalyn Tilghman is a freelance writer and consultant in arts management. She earned BA and MS degrees from the University of Kansas and has studied writing through UCLA’s Writers Program. To the Stars through Difficulties is her first novel, inspired by her work as Executive Director of the Association of Community Arts Councils of Kansas, and then as Regional Representative for the National Endowment for the Arts. Since then, she has consulted with private foundations, government agencies, and performing arts groups, and served on national boards and panels.

Find her online on her website or FaceBook.

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