Friday, November 30, 2012


Whirlpool:  A novel of Niagara Falls


Eileen Enwright Hodgetts

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (January 15, 2012)  
  • ISBN-10: 147510359X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1475103595

About the book . . . 

The year is 1923 and the jazz age is in full swing. Evangeline Murray, a young widow from Ohio, is recruited by the Women’s Freedom Movement to represent the spirit of modern womanhood by going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Evangeline eagerly embraces her opportunity to achieve fame and fortune, until she sees the power of the River and begins to understand the risk she is taking. Joshua McClaren, an enigmatic battle-scarred veteran of World War I, and the best boatman on the river, reluctantly agrees to launch the headstrong Evangeline. Joshua has seen hundreds of bodies surface in the Whirlpool below the Falls, and has faced death on the battlefields of Flanders and has no respect for the charming, impetuous Mrs. Murray, and her desire for fame. Before the barrel can be launched, each of them will have to face their own demons, painful secrets will be revealed and the Niagara Rivers will claim two more lives. Inspired by true stories of the Falls, Whirlpool is a romance, an adventure, and the closest that most of us will ever come to taking the fateful plunge over the Falls.Whirlpool is a fiction that is based on reality. Seven people have tried to ride over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Four have succeeded and three have died. The first person to make the attempt was Annie Taylor, a middle aged school teacher from Michigan who made a successful journey in 1901. Barrel riding at Niagara Falls is now forbidden by law, but at the beginning of the 20th century Niagara was a haven for daredevils of all types, and many of their exploits are included in the novel.

WHIRLPOOL by Eileen Enwright Hodgetts 

Book Trailer


About the author . . .          

Eileen Enwright Hodgetts is the author of Whirlpool.  She is a much traveled writer. Brought up in England and Wales, she has also lived and worked in South Africa and Uganda and now makes her home in Pittsburgh, PA. Her life experiences allow her to use exotic backgrounds for her novels and to understand how an adventure can begin with just one small incident. For ten years she directed a humanitarian mission in East Africa and is also involved in a Ugandan Coffee Farm. Much of her writing reveals not only her great fondness for the British Isles, but also her British sense of humor which still sees the funny side of most situations.

In addition to writing novels, Eileen Enwright Hodgetts is also an accomplished playwright with a number of national awards to her credit. Her novel, Whirlpool, began life as a stage musical playing at the Niagara Falls Convention Center in Niagara Falls, New York. In 1993 the Mayor of Niagara Falls, NY, proclaimed the summer of 1993 as Whirlpool Theater Days in honor of the production.

The author’s award-winning courtroom drama Titanic to All Ships will open at the Comtra Theater on April 13 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. The drama, created under a Fellowship Grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a dramatic re-telling of the Senate Hearings into the tragedy. The play has won several national awards.

Reader Review . . . 

After Evangeline Murray's husband left her an indebted young widow, she agreed to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel to represent the Women's Freedom Movement.  Cornelia Braithwaite, head of the Movement, and Iris De Vere, financial backer of the Movement, are on hand to make sure that Evangeline carries through with the plan.  Nell McClaren is feeling stifled in her life as the "old maid sister" who cares for her brother Joshua and nephew Danny, so she is quietly planning to ride the fame and fortune away from her home town when the spectacle is over.  But when Evangeline sees the power of the Falls, she begins to question the wisdom of her decision; and as she comes to know Nell's brother Joshua, she questions her plans for her future.  

This is a fresh, new historical novel set in a time and place not commonly found in fiction today.  Although Niagara Falls has been the  setting of movies in the past, rarely is it used in novels.  Combined with the early Women's Liberation Movement, it makes for fascinating reading.  The characters are not merely one-dimensional, and the dialogue is not stilted.  Although the overall theme is dramatic, there are humorous interludes to lighten the tension.  I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and hated to see it end.

5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Pump Up Your Book book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  


It's Niagara Falls. It's one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world. Who wouldn't want to walk across it?  - Nik Wallenda




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