“Based on a true story, McFadden’s research is meticulous as she weaves the murder of Tillie Smith with the blistering fictional story of Rachel, a newlywed who is determined to solve the crime which echoes the denial and secrets that surround her marriage to the cemetery keeper. This is an original novel, one readers will savor.”
ADRIANA TRIGIANI, New York Times bestselling author of Big Stone Gap and Brava Valentine
“A riveting emotional ride of 2 women a century apart, coming together finding peace, one in death, one in life. This is historical fiction at its best.”
STEPHANIE SUPINSKI, Branch Manager, Palmer Library, Easton PA
“A heartbreaking story of shame, secrets, and the quest for love and redemption. McFadden relays a forgotten tragedy, which once held Victorian America in thrall, through the eyes of Rachel Miller, the cemetery keeper’s wife. With passion and a keen sense of detail, McFadden, whose real life coincidences mirror Rachel’s, is the perfect person to tell this story.”
MARY ALICE MONROE, New York Times bestselling author of The Beach House and The Butterfly’s Daughter
“Book clubs will savor the rich details of life in the 1800’s and the ripped from the headlines current story of Rachel.
J. FRANK BURLESON, Park Road Books
Maryann was interviewed by Joyce Estey on WRNJ Radio, Hackettstown, NJ.
Here is the entire interview:
Maryann McFadden, author of THE CEMETERY KEEPER’S WIFE, honors Tillie Smith at Union Cemetery, Hackettstown, NJ, on the anniversary of her death.
This Sunday April 8th, at around 7 pm, I will be filming live from Union Cemetery in Hackettstown at the monument to Tillie Smith. This is the anniversary of her murder on the night of April 8th, 1886. I will speak about my life long obsession and journey into discovering who Tillie Smith really was and why I was compelled to bring her to life in THE CEMETERY KEEPER’S WIFE. I hope you’ll tune in.
Like my Facebook Author’s Page and join us at 7 pm, Sunday, April 8, for our Facebook Live broadcast.
My Dear Readers,
The Cemetery Keeper’s Wife is coming May 2018!
This has been my longest and most challenging work to date, but I hope you will feel it’s been worth the wait. It’s an historical novel, one which I believe I was meant to write.
The Cemetery Keeper’s Wife tells two parallel stories going back and forth in time. When Rachel Miller moves into Union Cemetery in Hackettstown, New Jersey, with her new husband, Adam, she discovers a stunning monument to a girl named Tillie Smith, who died in 1886. The beautiful marble monument is unlike any other, and the inscription makes her pause: She died in defence (sic) of her honor; Erected by an appreciative public.
Rachel’s curiosity turns into an obsession. But she has no idea that her quest to discover the truth about Tillie’s life, and brutal death, will open the door to secrets she herself has been hiding. And that it will bring her face to face with the man responsible for them. But worst of all, she may lose Adam in the process, and the normal life she’s always yearned for.
Tillie Smith really lived, right here in my own hometown. She died in 1886, brutally murdered and raped on the campus of Centenary Collegiate Institute, a Methodist Seminary that is now Centenary University. The case and the trial were akin to the OJ Simpson trial in our modern era. It ignited a tide of outrage and sympathy across our nation for this poor working girl who “chose death over dishonor.” But sadly, Tillie Smith became little more than a footnote in the story of her death.
I discovered Tillie’s monument as a little girl. I was not sure what those words meant, but I was captivated by them, and her. And then, years later during my real estate career, I happened to sell the house of the man who was convicted for the crime and sentenced to hang. Yet there in the dining room was a picture of him looking like a sweet old man in his nineties. Over the years, the coincidences continued, fueling my desire to tell Tillie’s story, one I’ll be soon sharing with you.
Please check my Facebook Author’s Page for updates about my new book and events. Hope to see you soon!
All my best wishes!