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Katelyn's Choice

By Susan G Mathis


The Gilded Age comes to life in this first installment of the Thousand Islands Series!

Katelyn Kavanagh’s mother dreamed her daughter would one day escape the oppressive environment of their Upstate New York farm for service in the enchanting Thousand Islands, home to Gilded Age millionaires. But when her wish comes true, Katelyn finds herself in the service of none other than the famous George Pullman, and the transition proves anything but easy.

Thomas O’Neill, brother of her best friend, is all grown up and also working on Pullman Island. Despite Thomas’ efforts to help the irresistible Katelyn adjust to the intricacies of her new world, she just can’t seem to tame her gossiping tongue—even when the information she’s privy to could endanger her job, the 1872 re-election of Pullman guest President Ulysses S. Grant, and the love of the man of her dreams.

Book Takeaway:

So many of us struggle with gossip, frivolous chatter, and unwholesome talk. James 3:5 says that it’s just “a small part of the body but it makes great boasts.” Then he compares the tongue to a spark that creates a forest fire. Proverbs 18:21 says that the tongue has “the power of life and death.” With this in mind, my novel, Katelyn’s Choice, explores this principle.


Year Title Description
2019 Illumination Book Awards Bronze Medal Winner for historical fiction
2019 American Fiction Award Finalist for historical fiction

Why the author wrote this book:

I fell in love with the Thousand Islands as a young girl, but it
wasn’t until the summer of 2016 that I felt inspired to write The
Thousand Islands Gilded Age series. By then I had completed my
debut novel, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, a story set
partially on the largest island, Wolfe Island, Canada.
That summer, my husband and I visited Wolfe Island, Pullman
Island, and Singer Castle on Dark Island. We met some wonderful
people who kept the intriguing Thousand Island history deep in
their hearts, and I gleaned all kinds of valuable information and
made special friends in the process.
Though Katelyn, Thomas, and other characters are fictional,
I purposely included some fascinating historical information in
Katelyn’s Choice. Yes, the Pullmans were one of the first families to
summer on the islands; they did invite President Grant and others
to their island; and they did host a reception for the journalists’
convention. Indeed, the events of the summer of 1872 successfully
sparked the buying and building frenzy of the Thousand Islands
Gilded Age.


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