Thursday, February 20, 2020

Friday Focus: The Friday 56 and Book Beginnings


It's Friday . . . time to share book excerpts with:
  • Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.  
  • The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an eBook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.

Today I'm featuring a current read, Never Ruled by Man by Phyllis Barone Ameduri.  It's an historical novel selected by one of my book clubs.

Never Ruled by Man 

Beginning:  Chapter One: The Female Lawyer
It was Ladies' Day in court.

Page 56:   Mary Ann was never one to hesitate backing up her words with actions.

My thoughts:  This book is a fascinating retelling of the life and times of Mary Ann Bascombe, a thrice-married mother of eight and self-made business woman who was ahead of her time.  It's also a snapshot of the bustling city of Stapleton, Staten Island in the 1800's, before the area was incorporated into the City of New York.

From Goodreads:  Stapleton, New York was in its heyday in the late 19th century. There was a busy waterfront, world renowned breweries, and a vibrant downtown business center. There were churches, jails, dance halls, and saloons. In Stapleton, anything could and did happen as honest, hard-working, and at times rough-edged citizens of the community shared the same streets with young thugs, hardened criminals, and corrupt politicians. Mary Ann Bascombe was a real-life anomaly who played a part in the drama of Stapleton’s golden age. Born in 1840, she started and ended life on the same street corner in the working class section of Stapleton called Rocky Hollow. Orphaned at the age of twelve, Mary Ann was forced into work as a housemaid. Yet, from this humble and unfortunately common circumstance of the times, she went on to become a savvy businesswoman, lay lawyer, neighborhood activist, and local politician, independent of a man. Mary Ann also became a humorous and eccentric local personality known for being outspoken and carrying around a club. Mary Ann Bascombe lived a rich and fascinating life, then died and tumbled through the cracks of history. This story resurrects her life and times during the free spirited independent days of Staten Island prior to joining the City of Greater New York.


This Friday Focus: The Friday 56 & Book Beginnings post was originally composed and/or compiled and published by Catherine for the blog,  It cannot be republished without attribution. Sharing this original post on Twitter with appropriate recognition is appreciated.


Bea said...

She sounds fascinating. I would read, see if I get pulled in.

Happy Friday!

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I'm intrigued! Love that cover, too. Here's mine: “DEAD TO HER”

Literary Feline said...

This sounds like a book I would like as well. I already like Mary Ann. Thank you for bringing this one to my attention, Catherine. Have a great weekend.

Anne@HeadFullofBooks said...

Sounds like a kick-ass woman. Glad you found this book. My Friday Quotes

Lisa Ks Book Reviews said...

Totally eye catching cover. Check out my featured book at

fredamans said...

I can relate to the 56. :-) Happy weekend!

Greg said...

Sounds like a good one. I like that Beginning and 56.

Lauren Stoolfire said...

She sounds like a fascinating woman. Thanks for sahring!

Lauren @ Always Me

Sammie @ The Bookwyrm's Den said...

I'd never heard of Mary, but she sounds fascinating, as does this book! Happy reading.

Here's my Friday post.

Gilion at Rose City Reader said...

This sounds great! Of course, I love the sound of a book about a tough lady lawyer. Maybe I should start carrying a club to court. :)

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