“I found a picture.”
Okay, so I should point out that I can’t remember who I said this to. Was it my friend? My launch team? In my Reader Group? Whoever I said it to wasn’t surprised. But I couldn’t stop talking about it.
“Can’t you see it? She could be Madeline’s daughter—a reporter. But with a mother like Madeline… she couldn’t help but be curious. And observant. Not only that, she’d be just about the right age in the 1920s…”
And just like that, I had a new series planned.
Is it any wonder that when I found out about a new book about a female wannabe reporter in 1920s Pittsburgh, I immediately decided to review it? Although I requested and received a free review copy of Above the Fold, I read it on Kindle Unlimited #becauselostbook.
Okay, so my Reading Challenge just happened to have a need for a “Book set in the 1920s.” How convenient was it that this just happened to fit that? Woot! But… would I like it?
Note: links are likely affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Additionally, I was provided with a free copy of the book and chose to review it.
Is Above the Fold Really the Best Place to Be?
Well, if you’re a newspaper reporter, definitely. It’s such a big deal, that website designers still call the first full screen when you land on a website “above the fold.” So, what about the book? Um… I’d say behind Above the Fold is where you want to be… those words right in front of your eyes so you don’t miss a single one.
Why? So many reasons, but one of the biggest is that Rachel Scott McDaniel tackled a bunch of things that I usually groan to see and did them well. I can’t tell you all of them without giving some spoilers, but I’ll say this.
In novels, sometimes girls’ attitudes about why they won’t trust a guy grow old and tedious—predictable. You’ve seen that same thing, over and over again. It bores the brain. Ms. McDaniel seems to have walked in and said, “Someone has to do something decent with this idea, and if no one else will, then I’ll have to.”
Abandoned years ago, Elissa Tillman still smarts. Her childhood “traumas” still fester and affect her decisions. Everything she said and did had been tainted and influenced by her past, but in a way so believable it didn’t annoy. Thank goodness!
Okay, so I tend to figure out mysteries pretty quickly.
It comes from inhaling them from age about eight. Or so I assume. Did I know who did it and why pretty early? Most of it. But not all. And a surprising twist at the end really did catch me by surprise. It shouldn’t have. It wasn’t a cheap trick like some authors have done. There were plenty of clues. I just was so wrapped up in the story that I missed it.
Just as Rachel Scott McDaniel intended. Well done.
For some foolish reason, I thought I’d remembered it being a Thomas Nelson book and was thrilled at the depth of spiritual truths layered into the story. Then I saw that I’d been wrong. Thank you, Smitten Historical Romance, for publishing rich Christian fiction. I’m grateful for the free review copy I was provided with, but I read the book on Kinde Unlimited. Maybe now I’ll find that copy… *whistles*
There’s more to Above the Fold than immersion into the 1920s newspaper and Prohibition scene. Amid speakeasies and the seedier side of Pittsburgh, a solid mystery, a beautiful tale of faith, and a troubled but tender romance flourish on the pages.
My first book to make my favorites of 2020 list. Impressive.
Recommended for lovers of Christian fiction, historical fiction, 20s fiction, and words. In the words of Publisher Tillman: “I work with words every day, but in the end, only His Word matters.”
Oh, and don’t’ let the lackluster synopsis/description dissuade you. The book is a million times better.
Above the Fold is on tour with Celebrate Lit
Book: Above the Fold
Author: Rachel Scott McDaniel
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: December 3, 2019
Confined behind a secretarial desk at her father’s struggling newspaper, Elissa Tillman longs for her father and the world to take her seriously—not just as a suffragette, but also as a full-fledged journalist.
Cole Parker regrets the day he’d abandoned Pittsburgh to chase a high-profile journalism job in New York, but now he’s returned to the steel city to amend his mistakes and win back the woman he once spurned.
The murder of a millionaire offers the perfect chance for Elissa to nab the headline and prove her skills. But there’s a catch. To get her story above the fold, she must compete for it. Her rival is none other than Cole Parker, the very man who shattered her heart.
About the Author
Rachel Scott McDaniel is an award-winning author of historical romance. Winner of the ACFW Genesis Award and the RWA Touched By Love award, Rachel infuses faith and heart into each story. She currently enjoys life in Ohio with her husband and two kids. Rachel can be found online at www.RachelScottMcDaniel.com and on all social media platforms.
More from Rachel
What does the classic movie His Girl Friday, famous mystery writer Agatha Christie, and my husband’s grandfather all have in common? They were all used as inspiration for my debut novel Above the Fold.
His Girl Friday is one of my favorite stories. This movie captures the thrill of the newspaper world—that drive within the reporter’s heart to get the scoop, that hum of activity from the newsroom to the firing of the presses, and that inescapable pursuit to beat out the opposing paper. But what I loved most about this movie was the chemistry between the two main characters. They share a romantic history.
In turn, there is major tension, but man oh man is there spark! So this triggered my creative mind. What would happen if I switched the roles and had the heroine be the one that gets jilted? Hmm? What if I set this story in the 1920s when the profession of journalism was male-dominated? What if I add some more mystery?
Cue Agatha Christie.
My husband and I love Christie’s Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple series. Did you know that she wrote over 74 books? That’s staggering to me. My mind reels at how intricate and varied all her plots are. My husband and I would try to guess who the murderer was at the beginning of a story and more often than not, we were wrong!
On one particular night, we were watching a PBS version of Miss Marple and an idea struck me. What if I changed my story to go this route? What if I made this person the villain instead of that one?
The idea that came to me had nothing to do with the story we’d been watching, but one thing that’d been said flickered a light in me. I love it when that happens! And I also love it when I can incorporate pieces of my personal life into the book. This brings me to the biggest inspiration of the story—my husband’s grandpa.
Grandpa Jay Lewis had two loves in his life—his wife and the newspaper press.
He’d started working for the local newspaper during his early teens and made his way up the ranks until he became the press foreman. Here’s a picture of Jay when he was in his early 20s. The hat shown was made of folded newsprint paper and worn to keep the ink from dripping on his head. But the expression in this picture says it all—the press was his happy place.
He’d worked with the presses for over five decades until he no longer had the strength. In 2004, he passed away, but his legacy lives on in the hearts of many. So, in tribute to Jay and his great passion for the newspaper world, I included him in the cast of characters. I only hope I was able to capture his zeal.
So there you have it. Inspiration came to me in a myriad of ways, but they all worked together to bring you a story that I pray delights your heart.
April Hayman, Author , January 14
Robin’s Nest, January 14
Godly Book Reviews, January 15
Where Faith and Books Meet, January 15
Just the Write Escape, January 16
Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections, January 16
Through the Fire Blogs, January 17
mypreciousbitsandmusings, January 17
Betti Mace, January 18
All-of-a-kind Mom, January 18
Texas Book-aholic, January 19
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 19
janicesbookreviews, January 20
Emily Yager, January 20
She Lives to Read, January 21
For the Love of Literature, January 21
Inklings and notions, January 22
Life of Literature, January 22
Daysong Reflections, January 23
For Him and My Family, January 23
Stories By Gina, January 24
Jacquelyn Lynn, January 24
Hallie Reads, January 25
Beauty in the Binding, January 25
Back Porch Reads, January 26
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 26
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 27
Batya’s Bits, January 27
To celebrate her giveaway, Rachel is giving away the grand prize package of an autographed paperback copy of Above the Fold , a Custom Newspaper-Themed Book Cozy, an Above the Fold vintage-style bookmark!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.