I’m happy to welcome award-winning author, editor and teacher Gini Grossenbacher. Today, Gini shares her latest release, Madam in Silk.
San Francisco, 1849. Despite her objections, twenty-year-old Ah Toy and her servant Chen voyage from China to San Francisco with her husband who dies on board ship. With little cash and bound feet, how is she to find employment in the Gold Rush town? Since she is the only Chinese woman there, she opens a “Lookee Shop,” catering to miners who pay in gold dust to see her exotic beauty. As her notoriety grows, so does her attraction to the devoted policeman, John Clark. Yet should she put her faith in one man? Will their love survive despite her frightening encounter with Sydney Ducks, threats from rival madam Li Fan, and a tempting offer from Henry Conrad who promises her wealth and security? Armed with her mystical beliefs of the inner dragon and Goddess Mazu, Ah Toy faces much more than the journey from the ancient ways in China to the new world in America. In fact, she must find the true source of courage in a life or death struggle for her own fate, justice, and dignity. Based on page-turning accounts about the life of Ah Toy, one of San Francisco’s most legendary madams.
After she swallowed what seemed like a rock, she found her voice. “If you knew this Mr. Painter, why did you not contact us in Guangdong?” If only her dragon would reach out its fangs to bite him.
“I tried, but even when I sent your husband the letter, I knew you would not receive it by the time you sailed. News came too late.” He twisted the brim of his cap.
“Now what do I do?” Those dragon fangs would tear off that hair on his face. Then she would feed it to the chickens.
He reached into his inner coat pocket, drew out an envelope, and held it out to her. “Here is money to get by for a month. Lodging, room and board.”
“Only a month?” She took the envelope, her hands trembling.
Painter’s patient tone grew curt. “I got you a room in Little Canton until you can get another ship’s passage home. You better leave on the next sail. Believe me, without a job you are a gone circumstance amidst all these varmints.”
“What are varmints?” she asked.
He tapped the badge clinging to his lapel. “Men with no good intent. You’ll see men who call themselves Hounds from New York who parade around town with fife and drum. Stay away from that lot. They prey on immigrants, such as your fellow Celestials and Mexicans. . .
She took a half-step toward him. “I am strong. Willing to work.” Maybe if she said the words, they would come true. Was her dragon listening?
Author Bio and Links
MADAM IN SILK is California teacher and editor Gini Grossenbacher’s second historical fiction novel. Her debut novel MADAM OF MY HEART garnered the 2018 IPPY silver medal for Historical Fiction; finalist in the 2018 American Fiction Awards for Historical Fiction; honorable mention at the 2018 San Francisco Book Festival for General Fiction; and runner-up in the 2017 Hollywood Book Festival for Genre Fiction. She is also a copyeditor and leads an aspiring writers group called Elk Grove Writers and Artists, providing lessons in novel writing, memoir, poetry, and flash fiction. When she’s not writing, Gini can be found taking long walks, tending the roses in her garden, and barbecuing with her husband and beloved dog, Murphy Brown.
Ms. Grossenbacher has produced a beautifully crafted novel filled with fresh insights into the plight of Chinese immigrants during the Gold Rush. Captivated from the start, I couldn’t read fast enough to discover how a 20-year-old widow with bound feet and limited financial resources survived and thrived in rowdy and dangerous 1800s San Francisco. Despite the many obstacles she faced, among them threats from a rival madam and encounters with local vigilantes and street thugs, Ah Toy listened to her inner dragon and capitalized on her extraordinary beauty.
Gini Grossenbacher will be awarding a $10 Amazon/Barnes and Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Find out more here.
Follow Gini on the rest of her Goddess Fish tour here.