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Becoming Madam Secretary

A novel by

She took on titans, battled generals, and changed the world as we know it…

New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Dray returns with a captivating and dramatic new novel about an American heroine Frances Perkins.

Raised on tales of her revolutionary ancestors, Frances Perkins arrives in New York City at the turn of the century, armed with her trusty parasol and an unyielding determination to make a difference.

When she’s not working with children in the crowded tenements in Hell’s Kitchen, Frances throws herself into the social scene in Greenwich Village, befriending an eclectic group of politicians, artists, and activists, including the millionaire socialite Mary Harriman Rumsey, the flirtatious budding author Sinclair Lewis, and the brilliant but troubled reformer Paul Wilson, with whom she falls deeply in love.

But when Frances meets a young lawyer named Franklin Delano Roosevelt at a tea dance, sparks fly in all the wrong directions. She thinks he’s a rich, arrogant dilettante who gets by on a handsome face and a famous name. He thinks she’s a priggish bluestocking and insufferable do-gooder. Neither knows it yet, but over the next twenty years, they will form a historic partnership that will carry them both to the White House.

Frances is destined to rise in a political world dominated by men, facing down the Great Depression as FDR’s most trusted lieutenant—even as she struggles to balance the demands of a public career with marriage and motherhood. And when vicious political attacks mount and personal tragedies threaten to derail her ambitions, she must decide what she’s willing to do—and what she’s willing to sacrifice—to save a nation.

Genre: Historical

Praise for this book

"What a compelling, important story about a trailblazing woman! In Becoming Madam Secretary, Stephanie Dray takes readers on an enthralling journey as Frances Perkins rises to become the country's most important cabinet member during a crossroads in American history, one with lasting ramifications. Hers is a name we should all know, and this is a novel we should all read." - Marie Benedict

"An inspiring tribute to an audacious, brilliant woman who fought ferociously against the mistreatment of the poor and working class in the last century and in doing so transformed American democracy. Dray's three-dimensional portrayal of Perkins's life and times is both astonishing and infuriating in the best of ways, a gripping tale of a woman who refused to back down. Powerful and timely." - Fiona Davis

"A page-turning tribute to a woman who refused to give up, a woman who inspires us even now, and a woman who saved a nation. In FDR's presidential cabinet, Frances Perkins wasn't immune to the problems of her time while she struggled with family, marriage, and motherhood. Her perseverance changed our nation. Stephanie Dray brings Frances Perkins, and everyone around her, so alive you feel she will walk off the page. With an indomitable heroine for our times, Becoming Madam Secretary is destined to be a classic of historical fiction." - Patti Callahan Henry

"A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at one of America's most courageous trailblazers for women. Thank you, Stephanie Dray for shedding light on the indomitable Frances Perkins!" - Martha Hall Kelly

"There is no finer writer of women in American history than Stephanie Dray. In Becoming Madam Secretary, her prose is so vivid that the modern world completely fades away and for a time, you feel you are actually standing with Frances Perkins, battling your way alongside FDR through the Great Depression. This is a novel for every viewer who watched The West Wing and wished it had once been a book. Simply outstanding." - Michelle Moran

"In her latest novel, Stephanie Dray brings the trailblazing and towering figure of Frances Perkins to life, delivering a read that includes more than half a century of stunning American history and a colorful cast of larger-than-life historical characters. With the tenderly poignant writing and impeccable research that her readers have come to expect and love, Dray has delivered a fresh and sweeping work of biographical fiction that readers will surely devour. This is an inspiring, illuminating and important book by Dray - I was blown away. Thank goodness Frances Perkins lived when she did; and thank goodness she said 'yes' to FDR's challenge of Becoming Madam Secretary." - Allison Pataki

"Becoming Madam Secretary is a proud anthem to a forgotten founding mother. Frances Perkins starts out a bright young thing with an economics degree and an iron determination to make the world a better place, and ends up a shining star: first woman appointed to a presidential cabinet, architect of the New Deal, mother of Social Security, and FDR's much-relied-upon work wife throughout his entire presidency. Stephanie Dray's love and respect for this American heroine shines from every page, as does her impeccable research. Unputdownable!" - Kate Quinn

"Stephanie Dray is one of my absolute favorite authors of historical fiction, and her new novel Becoming Madam Secretary shows why. In the novel, Dray tells the story of the indomitable Frances Perkins....Dray's unique skill is telling the big picture of Frances's life, while at the same time making her a completely relatable wife in a difficult marriage and a working mother when that phrase was unheard of. I couldn't stop turning the pages in this novel, which is both an inspiration and a triumph!" - Lisa Scottoline

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