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Wax Paperback – August 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 323 pages
  • Publisher: Blue Star Books (August 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984400079
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984400072
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,000,019 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

A combination coming-of-age story and mystery, following Matilda Tilly Bettencourt as she struggles against traditional expectations of women in the 1940s. Smith follows young, beautiful Tilly Bettencourt from the moment she makes the life-changing decision to leave her family and join the war effort as a metal welder. Settled across the country, Tilly begins a lifelong friendship with her roommate, Doris, and their neighbor, Sylvia. Doris soon discovers that she is an heir to a piece of property close to Tilly s hometown. After the war is over, the roommates reunite to start a candle-making business on Doris inherited property. Unknown to Tilly and Doris, however, is a secret past that binds the girls families and threatens their dreams. An act of arson that destroys the girls business finally forces the secret to light. Together, Tilly, Doris and Sylvia struggle to realize a life outside mainstream expectations for women in the 40s. While the author touches on important sociopolitical issues of the times racism, women s rights and homophobia history is incidental to the story. Smith works in broad strokes, skimming over the secrecy of gay life during the 40s and the dramatic fallout of family betrayal. The author focuses instead on character-driven plot points: the assistance of a handsome carpenter in remodeling a cottage, the challenges of first-time entrepreneurship and the heartache that characters experience searching for romantic love. Smith draws on strong, clearly defined characters to deliver a mostly linear story about family betrayal and personal integrity. Smith s richly imagined characters breathe life into this look at female friendship in a time of limited social opportunity for women, as well as the enduring power of friendship to transcend almost any challenge. --Kirkus

WAX, by Therese Ambrosi Smith, is a story inspired by Rosie the Riveter and the women who stepped up, and into the industrial void that was left when practically an entire generation of American men went away to war. They became silent partners in the war effort, the cogs and the gears of the American war machine, and without their efforts the solid foundation, upon which the war was being fought, would have crumbled. Waitresses, sales girls, and homemakers, these women braved the unknown to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and end up learning that they were never small to begin with. By setting the novel during a time in American history when women were encouraged to step out of the kitchen, literally and metaphorically, and into roles that they would never have been allowed to pursue during peacetime, Smith challenges her characters, and readers, to question the very nature of gender limitations, and expectation. The war effort itself could easily have become a major character in this novel but, instead, Smith does a magnificent job of simply placing the story, and its characters, in an historically, and emotionally, relevant context. She recognizes how much potential there is for character growth in her chosen setting and uses that as a vehicle to take her characters places they normally wouldn't have gone; making them see things in themselves that would have otherwise stayed hidden beneath their mother's hand-me-down aprons. And then, just as the characters adjust to their new realities as welders, painters, and dozens of other normally male-dominated professions, with financial and emotional independence, the war ends and these women are expected to somehow fit themselves back into their old lives and expectations. That is where the novel really spreads its wings and starts to fly. The relationships these characters have with each other, and with themselves, are so real and honest that they jump from the page, and make you care about them as though they were long-cherished friends. I found myself in every character in this book, their fears and their joys, their ambitions and their self-doubt these characters cry and breathe and laugh, and hold a mirror up to our own era, with its lingering biases and judgements. While this time in American history is, undoubtedly, significant in a thousand ways, I probably would not pick up a textbook to read about it. I want to read about people. The stories and characters within historical fiction often seem provided simply as a pretext for teaching people about the chosen historical era. What delighted me about WAX is that Therese Ambrosi Smith uses the era to the teach the characters and the reader about themselves. Touching and funny, with good pacing, and amazing characters, WAX is a novel that only disappoints in that it ends too soon, and doesn't have a sequel waiting in the wings. Reviewer: J.P. Layberry Allbooks --All Books Review

More About the Author

I'd be happy to sign a copy of Wax and send it to you -- see my $10 listing under "new copies". After you've purchased the book, email me at kittywake@sbclobal.net and let me know who you'd like me to acknowledge. Thank you for your support.

Customer Reviews

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This was a great story that combines both history and fiction.
Dad of Divas
I thought the story was about the actual war time female support...that was very little of the story and I felt the lesbian aspect lent little to the story.
Judith A. Nielsen
This is a very realistic story about three women who left their homes in 1941 to work in the shipbuilding business while the men went to war.
M. Lignor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Lignor on October 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a very realistic story about three women who left their homes in 1941 to work in the shipbuilding business while the men went to war. When Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941 by the Empire of Japan, many women joined the work force in the United States to help build ships and do their part for the war effort.This book is about three such women.

Matilda "Tilly" Bettencourt, was a young woman working as a waitress in her Uncle's restaurant in Monetera, California. She was a restless young girl who was looking for more in life and took a job with the Kaiser Company in Richmond, CA as a welder in a factory building Liberty Ships for the US Navy; Doris Jura lived in Pittsburgh, PA working as a retail saleslady who was also looking for a little adventure and set her sights on the Kaiser Company too. Sylvia, a little older than the first two, from the Midwest, and not at all happy with her life, moved into the employee housing (Airstream Trailers) at Kaiser also. These women got to know each other and spent a lot of time together. Before the war ended Sylvia lost her nephew to combat in the Pacific, Doris received an inheritance she wasn't expecting from an Uncle that she had never met and Tilly refused a marriage proposal from a man who will turn out to be very important in her life regardless of his feelings for her. They forge a very lasting friendship and discover that their respective pasts will come together in a very unusual way.

When the war is over they really do not want to go back to their day to day jobs and decide to open up a candle making business, only to lose it by fire. There is an extremely good mystery to this tale that readers will be enthralled with and will keep readers busy until the last pages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alice Berger on April 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
Pearl Harbor changed everything. As men left factory jobs to fight in World War II, women were offered the opportunity to replace them. Former waitresses and store clerks suddenly became welders as ships needed to be built quickly. Rosie the Riveter was born.

In Wax, three young women take on their new responsibilities at the Kaiser shipyard in Richmond, California. Away from their own families, they bond as a new family unit, becoming good friends. After the war, their relationships continue to grow as new opportunities come their way.

This wonderful 1940s historical novel explores topics of women's roles in society, sexuality, and long-buried family secrets. Wax is a real page-turner, hooking the reader from the very beginning. If you've always admired the courage of World War II women who ventured out into the work force, you will enjoy this interesting and enjoyable story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Charles Jacobs on November 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
AN EASY, ENJOYABLE READ
Reviewed by Charles Jacobs author of the Best Book of the Year "The Writer Within You"
Read my other reviews on my Profile Page
Therese Ambrosi Smith has produced a most interesting story that begins in the Kaiser Shipyards during World War II. It was a time when men from every walk of life were forced to abandon civilian life and serve in the armed forces. At the same time, there was a major push to increase productivity of essential goods, but manufacturers were losing their male employees to the draft. Women were recruited to replace the men at jobs that were very different from what they were accustomed to. Collectively the women who volunteered to fill the gaps were labeled Rosie the Riveters.
The three young women who serve as the principal characters of Wax meet for the first time at the shipyards. Tilly and Doris were assigned joint living quarters, while. Sylvia, a shade older and more sophisticated lived alone. Tilly, the protagonist of the book, left a job as a waitress in her family's eatery. Doris, who shared the room at the shipyard with her had been a cosmetician. Sylvia, a bit older and more sophisticated, lived alone.
Reading the earlier chapters of the book will give you insight into this movement that played a critical role in the victory over the Axis forces. The reader will be able to understand the motivations that led so many women to "join up." The book gains pace and interest once the war ends and the girls are dismissed to return reluctantly to civilian life. For the first time in their lives, they had felt a sense of importance. They were proud to be contributors to victory in this frightening war. However, the thought of returning to their former status was upsetting for all three.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent character development that provided realistic events of those "at home" during WWII. I recommend the book for those who love historical fiction.
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I thought the story was about the actual war time female support...that was very little of the story and I felt the lesbian aspect lent little to the story.
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