About the Book

Prelude, A Novel
Prelude, a Novel & The 1854 Diary of Adeline Elizabeth Hoe is a hardcover, 6″x9″, 224 page, clothbound volume, smythe sewn casebound, with full color endleaves and full color jacket. The novel is presented first and the diary and endnotes follow. Thirteen illustrations are included within the endnotes to the diary. Publication date is August 1, 2013 and distributor is University Press of New England. Retail price is $24.95 and ISBN13 is 978-1-931807-80-7.

The novel and the diary are suitable for young adult readers, but adults also enjoy this slice of 1850s New York, with its literary history references and themes of social activism, slavery, feminism and the Underground Railroad. Young Adeline was witness to her father’s many visitors, so prominent literary and cultural figures of the day, such as William Sidney Mount, William E. Eigenbrodt and New Jersey Governor George Franklin Fort appear as casual mentions in her diary. Likewise, her take on widely publicized events of the day, such as the case of Elizabeth Jennings, the “Rosa Parks” of 1850s New York, give contemporary readers insights into the mindset of the times. Homeopathic cures, keepsakes made from human hair, the great Philadelphia fire and the nearly-forgotten scandal of the sinking of the USS Arctic are just some of the events packed into the brief window Adeline provides into her life and mind.

Based on both straight-forward and more enigmatic entries into the diary, the novel itself allows readers to step inside Adeline’s daily life, as she and her sister traveled during the summer of her seventeenth year. Adeline’s world view expands as she approaches womanhood, begins to think of marriage, faces the adult realities of slavery and makes choices about her own response to the treatment of the enslaved.