BY JAMES L. MERRINER
Roxy Stinson, a small-town beauty and brainiac, reaches the highest levels of Prohibition-era corruption—but when her lover is murdered, she takes her revenge on a national stage. Jess Smith, Roxy’s ex-husband and a make-believe tough guy, is the best friend (and lover?) of the crooked attorney general. President Warren G. Harding has advanced views on civil rights and world disarmament. How can he not know that the cronies he put in his Cabinet are such crooks? First Lady Florence Harding and a morphine-addicted friend lord it over Washington Society. Yet Mrs. Harding, “the Duchess,” lives in fear that her husband will die in office as her favorite astrologer foretold.
Stumbling in the Public Square is free of clichés about the “Roaring Twenties.” Instead, this startling and witty novel, based on historical figures and real events, is a revelation of how people caught up in public corruption think, feel, and act. It explores the competing ambitions of two early feminists, Roxy Stinson and Mrs. Harding. And it shows what happens to a nation when “truth stumbles in the public square” and “honesty can’t enter.”—Isaiah 59:14.
Published on January 10, 2023