The Awakening of Helena Richie tells the story of a new resident coming to Old Chester, and discovering the moral double standard to which women are held in rural America. ---Excerpt--- Goliath's selfishness carried them home and landed Dr. Lavendar at his own fireside, rather tired and full of good intentions in regard to calls. He confided these intentions to Dr. William King who looked in after supper to inquire about his cold. "Cold? I haven't any cold! You can't get a job here. Sit down and give me some advice. Hand me a match first; this ragamuffin Danny has gone to sleep with his head on my foot, and I can't budge." The doctor produced the match; "I'll advise you not to go out in such weather. Promise me you won't go out to-morrow." "To-morrow? Right after breakfast, sir! To make calls on the people I've neglected. Willy, how can I find a home for an orphan child? A parson up in the mountains has asked me to see if I can place a little seven-year-old boy. The child's sister who took care of him has just died. Do you know anybody who might take him?"
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Margaret Deland (1857 to 1945) was born in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. Her mother died in childbirth and her father died shortly thereafter. She was raised by an aunt. She wrote John Ward, Preacher, which is both her first book and her most famous work. She also wrote poetry, short stories, and other novels such as The Iron Woman, The Vehement Flame, and many novels and stories about "Old Chester," a fictional town based on the town where she lived in her youth. She and her husband took it upon themselves to take in unwed mothers and support the mothers and their children for a time to help them get on their feet. Overall they supported over 60 mothers and many more children. She was controversial in her time because she supported the unorthodox ideal that striving for happiness and being a good person was more important than striving to achieve religious ideals.
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