Pins and Needles: A Novel of Minnesota's Main Street Women


Maude Porter’s narrative takes place in the Mississippi River town of Clearwater, Minnesota. Daughter of village founders Tom Porter and Abigail Camp Porter, she owns a millinery store upstairs of Boutwell’s Hardware Store. From here, she can keep her eye on the comings and goings of the village. What she sees causes quite a commotion, but what she hears over her newly installed telephone could spell trouble.

In this sequel to Scruples & Drams, readers see what life is like in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century for the “new women” who were educated, strong-minded, and holding down careers. Women like Maude have concerns about the health and well-being of many women who are over-worked, under-educated about their bodies, and become pregnant way too often. While Maude understands that suffrage and equal rights are important, she also sees how the consumption of alcohol ruins families and communities and causes some men to be brutal.

At first, Maude believes education is the key to ridding the town of the many drunks and their brawls outside Quinn’s Saloon. Ultimately, though, she and others, men and women, come to realize that prohibition is the only answer to setting their world in order. For Clearwater, the answer is clear: shut down Pat Quinn’s Saloon.

Cynthia Frank-Stupnik

2018, 5½x8½, paper, 226 pp. 

ISBN: 9780788458361