In this sequel to Hattie’s Place, the year is 1913. Hattie Robinson is married to the widowed Charles Barton and has left her teaching position at Calhoun School to raise Charles’s sons and manage the Barton estate. Now she must reconcile her role as mother and wife with her work for woman’s suffrage, a cause that ignited her passion when attending the Woman’s Suffrage Procession in Washington, on the eve of Woodrow Wilson’s first inauguration.
As a young bride, twenty-three years her husband’s junior, Hattie struggles for acceptance in the community and Barton family. And then, Will Kendrick, her first love, appears, causing old feelings to resurface. When Julia Martin, the widow of Charles’s best friend Percy, reaches out to Charles for legal advice in settling her husband’s estate, Hattie discovers clues casting doubt on Charles’s fidelity, and begins to question her marriage.
As Hattie throws herself into her work to gain the vote for women, South Carolina’s reactionary politicians Ben Tillman and “Cotton Ed” Smith thwart suffrage efforts in the state at every turn. Even the progressive president Wilson drags his feet, invoking states rights as the only pathway to an amendment. Equally discouraging is the anti-suffragist sentiment among those of Hattie’s own gender.
When Hattie’s sister-in-law Alice learns to drive and purchases a 1916 Saxon touring car, Hattie agrees to go on a road trip to join the peaceful protests in Washington on the eve of President Wilson’s second inauguration. Alice also invites Julia Martin to go along, and to Hattie’s chagrin, Julia is sitting in the passenger seat when the two arrive from Columbia to pick her up. The journey brings new insight and fresh perspective, enabling Hattie to resolve misunderstandings with Charles and convincing her to continue her work for suffrage, with her husband’s blessings.
But the road Hattie has chosen becomes even more fraught with disappointing setbacks and delays. In 1917, the US declares war on Germany and the president mobilizes the country in the fight for freedom in Europe, ignoring the oppression of the rights of women at home. Public opinion shifts, casting the women’s movement as unpatriotic and subversive.
Hattie does her part for the war and agonizes when Charles Jr. and the boys from Calhoun are drafted and sent to the front. She continues to support the suffrage cause, but must cancel a second road trip due to gas rationing.
When the war ends, she travels with Alice and Julia and Charles Jr.’s fiancée Pauline, to Washington to join the peaceful protests at the White House, organized by Alice Paul and the Woman’s Party. The women become inspired to drive on to New York to join the demonstration against president Wilson, who is speaking at the New York Opera House on the eve of his return to the Paris peace negotiations. The peaceful demonstration turns violent when the police and soldiers, who have flooded the ports on their return from war, begin shoving the suffragists and breaking and burning their banners.
Amidst the uproar, Pauline becomes convinced that she has spotted Charles Jr. in the crowd and is determined to go and look for him. Hattie persuades her that they must first go to police headquarters to find Alice and Julia, who have been arrested and detained there.
The Susan B. Anthony Amendment finally passes the Senate in 1919. But Hattie and the South Carolina suffragists endure their greatest disappointment yet when the South Carolina legislature refuses to ratify the amendment by an overwhelming majority. They must now depend on the men of other states to ensure their enfranchisement.
In August, the Tennessee legislature becomes the thirty-fourth state to ratify, ending the long struggle for suffrage, and making the 19th Amendment the law of the land, just in time for Hattie to cast her first vote in the 1920 presidential election.
In the Fullness of Time by Katherine P. Stillerman is a historical detailing the very life of one woman, Hattie Robinson. She lives during the time period of the women’s suffrage movement. A very important and trying time for women everywhere. Not every woman wanted to get involved due to the consequences men tossed their way. But others like the protagonist kept going. Luckily, she had a husband, who understood and gave her his blessings to continue work for the movement. An exciting adventure awaits readers. I was fascinated, hooked, and lured deep in the South. Women fighting to have the right to vote. I loved the female protagonist. Hattie is an incredible woman that all women can easily like and relate to…overall, I highly recommend this book to all.