About the Book
Above the Fold
Author: Rachel Scott McDaniel
Genre: Historical Romance
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.
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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? 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.
How appropriate that this book is set in 1922, as we now enter the “roaring twenties” of the twenty-first century. Comparisons are inevitable, and to my surprise, as I read “Above the Fold”, I realized that while there has been progress, much remains the same. This story seems timeless in some ways because the conflicts and circumstances translate so well, both on a more superficial human level and on a deeper spiritual level. A mark of noteworthy fiction, this detail goes hand-in-hand with being relevant and applicable to readers. Achieving this with historical fiction further raises the standard.
Rachel Scott McDaniel’s “Above the Fold” triumphs remarkably, no small feat for a debut! I certainly never would have guessed that this was a first novel, as it carries the sophistication of an established writer. From character development to plot execution, this story truly shines, and I am delighted that I had the privilege to read and review it. What initially drew me to the story was the fact that it is set in Pittsburgh, as that is not very far from where I live and I recognized most of the street names, as well as the Duquesne incline. The references to it as a steel industry magnate and the ecological concerns therein continue to be issues of debate today, even after the end of the steel era.
McDaniel’s focus on the newspaper industry offers another facet of the Steel City, bringing attention to journalism and the role of women in post-WWI, Prohibition-era America. Through Elissa Tillman, McDaniel highlights the ongoing women’s suffrage movement in the quest for workplace equality. While not a new theme in and of itself, in this story it dovetails with romance and the human condition to reveal how inextricably linked our identity is with the way in which we approach life and impact those around us. Elissa had been known in school as the “Shadyside Slob” because she was not elegant and graceful, and in adulthood, as she strives to earn a place as a newspaperwoman, she laments that “No man took her seriously. Not Father. Not Adam. And definitely not Cole.” So “[w]hich hurt worse, forgotten or betrayed? The only men she’d ever loved had done both.” Perfectionism results from a desperate need to prove herself. Cole, likewise, battles his own inner torments, able to see himself only through the lens of failure. However, a murder investigation serves as a catalyst for metanoia, demonstrating how the Lord uses even bad situations for good and is truly the God of second chances. She realizes, as we all should, that “Her dreams had been elusive like a breath of wind, but her value wasn’t found in triumphs. Or failures. God’s love defined her…God’s love made her enough.”
Highly recommended for anyone interested in 1920s Pittsburgh, journalism and the news business, women’s suffrage, Prohibition, addictions (handled very gently, without graphic details), second chances, and finding one’s identity in Christ.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.
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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.