The Accidental Suffragist
“The Accidental Suffragist is the so-timely story of the sacrifices one mother makes – to her
family, her safety, and her previous identity – when called by a cause and stirred to act.
Through the telling of this factory worker’s experience, Gichon reminds us of the grave
sacrifices so many women made more than a century ago and the debt of gratitude we owe
them today as we see Kamala Harris's ascent to Vice President. My teenage daughters
snatched this book from my hands before I could even finish.”
Alisyn Camerota, CNN Anchor and Author of “Amanda Wakes Up”
"The Accidental Suffragist is a poignant and memorable story sweeping the reader through an
early 20th-century labor tragedy to the ache of a son going off to war. All told through the eyes
of a wife and mother who wants no more than to do all she can for her family. When the
suffrage movement pulls her into the cause, she, at last, realizes that voting will be her only hope
of having her voice heard. Written with heart and relatability, the modern-day reader will not
be able to help feeling a profound sense of gratitude for all that was endured by our sisters
before us." Camille Di Maio - Bestselling author of The First Emma.
“The Accidental Suffragette is a compelling exploration of the early twentieth-century
movement to provide women the right to vote, with an endearing protagonist and plenty of
fascinating historical detail.” Kimmery Martin, author of “The Antidote for Everything”
“With its captivating heroine and rich historical details, The Accidental Suffragist is a novel that
both enlightens and enthralls. A must-read for those interested (and we all should be!) in the
fight waged by brave American women determined to secure their right to vote." Nina
Sankovitch, Author and Historian.
“Through the eyes of an unlikely activist, novelist Galia Gichon masterfully takes readers inside
the inner circle of the brave women fighting for the right to vote at the turn of the 20th
Century. The unforgettable journey of Helen Fox, a garment worker toiling away in a Lower East
Side factory, propels the fast-paced historical narrative as Helen learns about the Suffragist
movement by chance and eventually, becomes an evangelist willing to risk her marriage and
her even her own life for the cause. Inspirational and enlightening, this work of historical fiction
pulls the reader in from the first page. A perfect read for mothers and daughters to discuss and
enjoy together.” Heather Cabot, Author of The New Chardonnay
"The Accidental Suffragist is an entertaining, meticulously researched novel about the struggles
and eventual triumphs of the Suffragist cause in the early twentieth century. Within this
fascinating historical context, Gichon also explores the challenge and compromise inherent to
working motherhood, a topic equally relevant today as it was then." Heather Frimmer, Author
of “Better to Trust” and “Bedside Manners”
“Many women wish the world was a kinder, fairer place for them, some women make it so.
Gichon, like her heroines, moves through the world fueled by love and a sense of justice, the
result is a richly detailed and studiously researched novel that will bring hope to your heart.”
Lorea Canales, Author of “Becoming Marta”
Midwest Book Review
The Accidental Suffragist
The Accidental Suffragist is set in 1911 and follows New York factory worker Helen Fox, whose
life trajectory is consumed by the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. This event brings with it a
newfound political awareness and participation in the blossoming Suffragist movement. This, in
turn, results in estrangement from her husband, prejudice from former friends and existing
neighbors, and tough decisions surrounding putting politics ahead of family.
Throughout World War One, as the story progresses, Helen finds her activism and revised
purpose in life receives steady opposition, bringing with it many dangers beyond that of
confronting the authorities and status quo.
Galia Gichon does more than recap well-known historical events. Her novel delves into Helen's
quandaries and mind as she steadily moves into the Suffragist world that brings with it an
acknowledgement of her role in past suffering and events to come: “Did we let her go to work
too easily? Remember when she came to us and told us about the job?” Helen asked. “Helen, we
barely had enough for food,” Albert reminded her. “Besides, other girls in the building were
going to the factories, too.” “We didn’t even put up a fight. Not every family sent their twelve-
year-old daughter to the factories.”
Helen's personal calling is to gain women the freedom to vote, for reasons of her own. When
she faces a pregnancy in the midst of her efforts, life threatens to change and come crashing
down around her once again.
For many, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire opened the door to not just new ideas about
labor and women's rights, but personal conundrums over how their roles and lives were
changing not just for themselves, but for their daughters and generations to follow.
As her activism moves from personal environment to trips to Washington and associations with
high-level Suffragists, Helen discovers new ways of decision-making and thinking that hold
opportunities for revised freedoms not only for her and fellow women, but for the men around
Readers interested in a story that does more than recap the sad events surrounding this era's
labor and women's movement relationships will find The Accidental Suffragist brings to life the
impact and changes on families and marriages that were sparked by the Triangle Shirtwaist
More so than most fictionalized accounts, The Accidental Suffragist holds a compelling and
intriguing approach that readers will find enlightening and involving. It's highly recommended
even for those well aware of the changing politics of the times, early women's rights
movements, and the factory fire's lasting impact.