Historical Fiction, Memoir
One man’s utopia is a young woman’s worst nightmare.
For seventeen-year-old Millie Langston, one hundred husbands are ninety-nine too many. But since she lives at Oneida Community in 1877, when she marries, all the men of the commune will be her husbands, and she’ll be just one of many wives to them. Perhaps because she’s read so many novels, she dreams of romance with just one man—someone like the handsome Outsider she met on the train.
But that’s not Millie’s only dream. At the commune, she has the chance to work as a writer full time—something unheard of in the outside world. Unexpectedly, she finds herself positioned as a rising star, thanks to her mentor, Tirzah Miller, editress of the Community newspaper. But Tirzah, who expects Millie to submit to marriage like all the other girls have, issues the invitation for her to meet with Theodore Noyes to become a communal wife. Now Millie must decide what she values most. How important is it to belong? Is it worth her freedom? Can she escape going to bed with Theodore, the commune’s leader; the aging prophet, Father Noyes; and the sinister, eye-patched Judge Towner without being expelled from the only home she’s ever known?
Although most people have heard of Oneida silverware, few know the story of the Christian socialist experiment that launched the famous silverware company. The ideas of the Oneida Bible Communists were a hundred years ahead of their time: They practiced birth control, casual sex, communal childrearing, eugenics, and socialism. Despite these progressive ideas, by 1877 the younger generation at Oneida had become disillusioned with their parents’ ideals and longed for monogamous marriage and traditional families. Meticulously researched for historical accuracy, Silken Strands weaves the real-life experiences of several Oneida Community members into the fictional tale of seventeen-year-old Millie Langston. It is the first published novel to accurately portray life in John Humphrey Noyes’s Perfectionist utopia.
Rebecca May Hope delights in reading and writing the well-crafted phrase. While wordsmithing is its own reward, her weekly writers’ group provides the impetus to keep writing and polishing—so she has something to share with her fellow authors. Rebecca couldn’t imagine a life without teaching; her middle school, high school, and college students give her a chance to share her passion for words with a new crop of young people each year.
When she feels the need to follow Wordsworth’s advice (“Up, up, my friend, and quit your books!”), you’ll find her playing with or rocking her grandbabies; walking her rambunctious ninety-pound Labradoodle on the nature trails near her home in Champlin, Minnesota; or pampering her softer-than-air Ragdoll cat.
Learn more about Rebecca’s writing at www.RebeccaMayHope.com.