Maine Women: Finding Our Strength

A Series of Book Discussions

Join educators Pat Olsen and Alison Beedy for a series of book discussions called “Maine Women: Finding Our Strength.” We‘ll discuss how we meet personal and societal challenges while reading Maine-centric books about women who have navigated difficulties in a variety of settings and eras.

A series of three facilitated discussions over a month will be held for each book. Participants can register for one or more of the six books, and will receive copies of the book upon registration. 

These discussions will be held in-person at WHRL’s office in Milbridge, but may be adapted to a virtual format as needed. The groups will be small, with no more than ten people. Every participant must be fully vaccinated (including a booster shot) and wear a mask during the discussion.

The book groups are free and open to all, although registration is required. Space is limited!

"Finding Freedom: A Cook's Story" by Erin French

February 9th, 16th, and 23rd

6:00 – 7:30pm.

Facilitated by Alison Beedy

Registration closed — thank you!

 Long before The Lost Kitchen became a world dining destination, Erin French was a girl roaming barefoot on a 25-acre farm, a teenager falling in love with food while working the line at her dad’s diner, and a young woman finding her calling as a professional chef at her tiny restaurant tucked into a 19th century mill.

This singular memoir―a classic American story―invites readers to Erin’s corner of her beloved Maine to share the real person behind the “girl from Freedom” fairytale, and the not-so-picture-perfect struggles that have taken every ounce of her strength to overcome, and that make Erin’s life triumphant.


"When You Find My Body" by D. Dauphinee

March 1st, 8th, and 15th

6:00 – 7:30 pm

Facilitated by Pat Olsen

When Geraldine Largay first went missing on the Appalachian Trail in remote western Maine in 2013, the people of Maine were wrought with concern. When she was not found, the family, the wardens, and the Navy personnel who searched for her were devastated. Gerry’s story is one of heartbreak, most assuredly, but is also one of perseverance, determination, and faith. For her family and the searchers, especially the Maine Warden Service, it is also a story of grave sorrow.

Marrying the joys and hardship of life in the outdoors, as well as exploring the search & rescue community, When You Find My Body examines dying with grace and dignity.


Upcoming Books

Home Now by Cynthia Anderson

Planned for April

Over the course of fifteen years, Lewiston became home to thousands of African immigrants and, along the way, turned into one of the most Muslim towns in the US.

Cynthia Anderson tells the story of this fractious yet resilient city near where she grew up, offering the unfolding drama of a community’s reinvention–and humanizing some of the defining political issues in America today.

A Midwive's Tale: A Life of Martha Ballard by Laura Thatcher Ulrich

Planned for May

Drawing on the diaries of one woman in eighteenth-century Maine, this intimate history illuminates the medical practices, household economies, religious rivalries, and sexual mores of the New England frontier.

Spoonhandle by Ruth Moore

Planned for September

Spoonhandle, Ruth Moore’s second novel, spent 14 weeks on The New York Times Bestseller List and was made into the movie Deep Waters. Spoonhandle is about Maine, brilliantly authentic, but the story told is universal, as old as time as it deals with the struggle between love and meanness of spirit, between human dignity and greed.

Women of the Dawn by Bunny McBride

Planned for October

Women of the Dawn tells the stories of four remarkable Wabanaki Indian women who lived in northeast America during the four centuries that devastated their traditional world. Their courageous responses to tragedies brought on by European contact make up the heart of the book.