Shannon Steele Reviews Heather Stemp’s YA Novel, Under Amelia’s Wing
In celebration of International Women’s Day, March 8, we asked staff members of YWCA Halifax to read a few women-centred Atlantic Books and give us their thoughts on their reading experiences. Here, Director of Operations Shannon Steele talks about Under Amelia’s Wing, a young-adult novel by Heath Stemp that tackles equality in the workplace.
Under Amelia’s Wing
I really enjoyed Under Amelia’s Wing, the young adult novel by Heather Stemp, and although it was part of a series I was able to enjoy it as a stand alone, without having read the previous book.
The story features Ginny Ross, a young girl from Newfoundland in the 1930s, who has endured a challenging upbringing and has left home to study engineering at Perdue University in Indiana, at the suggestion of her mentor and friend Amelia Earhart. Having a cousin that attended Perdue, I found it fascinating how different things are today, compared to what Ginny experienced.
While attending Perdue, Ginny faces gender discrimination and must prove herself in a male-dominated field with male colleagues who are less than welcoming. As a reader, I found this particularly interesting, as my partner is a Professor of Engineering and we often discuss what women face in this field, even today. He has even decided to read this book himself, to better understand the challenge for women back then. Ginny receives news that her friend Amelia’s plane has been lost and this presents her with new challenges as she must overcome her grief and continue her studies.
I thought this book was a lovely, well written story that is relevant to an even broader age group than young adult. I may even read the first one in the series as this has piqued my interest in Ginny’s life in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, and the historical relevance the author ties in.