Open Hearts…and Closed Minds~ Tanya Hanson

 How can a woman living a lie open her heart to an honest
Women in the 19th century faced obstacles we can’t imagine. Once
married, a woman’s rights almost ceased to exist. Adult women were usually
lumped along with children as needing a man to take care of them.
And women who
sought professional careers outside the home faced derision as well as tremendous
challenges. Female physicians at least had a chance; women founded their own
all-women medical schools and hospitals.
But if she wanted to be a lawyer, well. Courts, bar
associations, law schools and firms were composed entirely of men.
The first woman to graduate from an American law school was
Ada Kepley, in 1869, from Union College of Law in Chicago. (It merged into Northwestern
University in 1891). But other colleges admitted women only by court order.
After admitting its first woman in 1885, Yale Law went right back to excluding women.
Harvard Law decreed it wasn’t proper or women to use the Law Library at the
same time as men.
But women fought to enter the legal profession as hard as suffragettes
demanded the vote. The challenge didn’t end there. Once admitted to a law
school, a woman agonized over speaking out in the lecture hall, something men
did freely…or sitting quietly as befit a proper lady.After achieving her degree, she had almost the same choice: an “undignified” public courtroom
or a calm private office practice, out of sight and behind the scenes.
Prevailing attitudes–among both genders–debated whether a
woman lawyer was physically and mentally equal to her male counterpart. What if
she–gasp–wanted marriage and kids, too?
In the 19th century, women were almost completely sealed off
from the legal profession. Even into the 1920’s, women accounted for only 1.4
per cent of all lawyers.
It was this ready-made conflict that sparked my story, Open Hearts,
for the brand-new Valentine anthology, Hearts and Spurs, from Prairie Rose
Publications, which also features stories from Tracy, Linda, Cheryl, and Phyliss.
Since I had to condense my usual babbling into about 10,000
words, I have heroine and Union College alumna Barbara Audiss in disguise as a man,
a judge, therefore making it difficult for her to give her heart to handsome sheriff
Keith Rakestraw
And when Keith does find out…what to do? “Badge” Audiss is
a good judge. Should he reveal her true identity and therefore invalidate all
her verdicts? Besides, he’s eager to give her his heart…but he is first and
foremost a lawman, and she’s broken it. Colorado says no female lawyers or
I hope you fall in love with Keith and Barbara as they “open
their hearts” to all the possibilities, as well as our entire collection of
Valentine romances!
To honor her brother
Badge’s last request, Barbara Audiss takes on his identity, and letting loose her
secret will get her arrested. But keeping it prevents her from giving her heart
to handsome sheriff Keith Rakestraw.
Furious at “Judge Audiss’”
latest verdict, Keith discovers she’s a fake and consequences seem easy: toss
her in jail. But he finds himself eager to give her his heart.

(Thanks to Women in the
Criminal Justice System, by Clarice Feinman.)

+ posts

18 thoughts on “Open Hearts…and Closed Minds~ Tanya Hanson”

  1. Tanya, this is such an unusual premise for a story, and the story is so much fun. Keith and Barbara are perfect together.

    It’s difficult to imagine that in the past, women were barred — by law — from some of the careers, social activities, and other aspects of daily life we take for granted today, isn’t it? Thank goodness for the rebels among us. 🙂

  2. Very interesting, Tanya! It seems women have always had to fight so hard to follow their dreams. It’s never been easy. I’m really glad we live in a modern age where women pretty much get to do whatever they wish.

    Loved your story in Hearts and Spurs! I was tickled to death to be included in this anthology with you.

  3. Tanya, what a fascinating look into women and the law! We’ve come a long way baby. Now, you can’t turn on a cable news channel without coming across a former female attorney turned politcal analyst. YAY, us!!!! Will definitely take the time to read your story!

  4. Crazy how far we have come in the world of letting women do what men were only allowed to do. Love the story of the book!

  5. Thanks for the very interesting info on women throughout the years! Great title for a book! I love anthologies!

  6. Sorry to be so late getting here, friends and filly sisters. I caught a gnarly bug from my two year old grandson….oh, that kiss was worth it, but I’m pretty much hanging out in bed today. I so appreciate all y’all.

    I’ll do some catching up right now. Melanie, it was such fun to write the story. I’m a real babbler, so keeping things to 10,000 words, or thereabouts, was challenging and enjoyable! Thanks for your good wishes today.

    Hi Kathleen, thanks…gave me a built in conflict pretty quick LOL.
    I named Sheriff Keith Rakestraw after a former student. He loved the idea.

    I’m on my iPad right now because the thought of sitting at the computer is nauseating. Maybe I’ll get some reading done when I go back to bed…if the headache eases. Sheesh, sorry to sound so whiney.

  7. Hi Janine and Sherri, women have come a long way even in my lifetime. When I attended a very conservative Lutheran college, the admin got into trouble via Title Nine for forcing a dress code and “hours” on the female students while guys got to roam free and wear anything they wanted. Grrrrrr. Thanks for posting today,

  8. Thanks so much, Linda H. and Linda B. Your good wishes mean the world. Linda Broday and Kathleen are also contributors to the antho. I am in sanctified company,

    Hi Renee, I always wonder if I’d lived back then, if I would have sat complacently…or been a babblerrowser for change. Hope the latter, xo

  9. Hi Susan. Hubs and I watched Apollo 13 again the other night…not one woman in command control. I wonder how long it took for them to hire on physicists etc. who happened to be women.

    Hi Maria, I love anthologies too…just long enough to sit down and read n one sitting. Insure hope you like ours.

    Thanks to everybody stopped in today. Back to bed….xoxoxo

  10. Tanya I LOVE THIS.
    My mother in law was born in 1919. And she was the first secretary in our small town school district, back when high school used to offer FOUR CLASSES. Total.

    She said back then, and she said even when she was an adult so 1939…if a woman got married, she got fired. That was it. No other option. It wasn’t even like they were nasty and said, “WHAT? Tou got married? YOU’RE FIRED!”
    Nope, a woman knew she had that choice to make. Because a married woman was considered to be ‘stealing’ a job from someone who needed it. Her husband would support her, how dare she take a job a man or a single woman might need?!
    Marybelle, my Mother in law, said she knew people who’d get married secretly and the woman would stay living with her parents and keep working, but she and her husband would ‘get together’ (you might say—) and they’d continue to live apart like this–so the woman could keep her job–until a baby came along at which point, the woman would have to admit she was married and quit her job.
    It was a very different world back then.

  11. Wow, Mary! There’s a story in your mom-in-law’s tale, my friend! So get going LOL. It’s galling enough that men historically make so much more $$, too. Sheesh. Thanks for the great info!

  12. Funny how women were considered delicate and unable to manage on their own, unless or until men needed them to. Men rarely had trouble leaving their wives alone to raise the family,and run the farm/ranch/business while they went off to do things they needed or wanted to do. I think men were aware just what women were capable of and were afraid of us. They knew if we ever got the opportunities, we would prove their equals – or better.

Comments are closed.