Jeanne Shirk Traces the Friendship of Three Pioneer Women in the Late 1800s

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A New Story of Friendship Between an African American Woman and Her Two European Immigrant Friends

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All are determined to become, in their own words, “Who we want to be"

Eighty-five year old grandmother, Jeanne Shirk, publishes an expanded version of her first book, “Unlikely Friends in an Unfriendly Time”. This fast paced story traces the adventures of three pioneer women, living in rural Iowa at the turn of the century who struggle to maintain their friendships despite racial and societal taboos. Sally, whose grandparents were slaves and Frances and Jessica, whose grandparents emigrated from Europe, become friends. When racial violence rocks the small community of Cedar Falls, Iowa, Frances investigates and is labeled a troublemaker. Because of her friendship with Sally, the cousin of the victim in the violence, Frances is in danger. Both women are sent away to the East for their own good. Jessica, a witness to the violence, stays behind, marries and has a family. She is haunted by her memories and does not thrive.

Sally attends the Institute for Colored Youth in Philadelphia and trains to be a teacher. Frances defies her parents who think it’s not proper for young women to be nurses because of intimate contacts with men. She trains to be a nurse at the Chester County Hospital in West Chester Pa even though her parents have her signed up to go to the teachers’ college.

As Sally and Frances mature they are involved in the lives of two interracial couples who are also working to overcome their own inner prejudices as well as the societal taboos of the day. All are determined to become, in their own words, “Who we want to be.”

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About the Author
As a Counselor and mom, Jeanne Shirk, has been telling and listening to stories all her life. She writes this book for young people and people of all ages so that her readers may hear some of the truths about race and gender that are part of our history. These truths are hard to hear and even harder to talk about. Shirk tells her tale to foster discussion with the hope that, having faced the “way things were” we may find the courage to be friends across racial and gender boundaries.

Unlikely Friends in an Unfriendly Time * by Jeanne Shirk
Trade Paperback; $15.99; 189 pages; 978-1-4836-7869-6
Trade Hardback; $22.99; 189 pages; 978-1-4836-7870-2
e-book; $3.99; 978-1-4836-7871-9

To request a complimentary paperback review copy, contact the publisher at (888) 795-4274 x. 7879. To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (812) 355-4079 or call (888) 795-4274 x. 7879.

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