Esteemed architect Julia Morgan was born 150 years ago and grew up in Oakland, California. She battled gender discrimination through most of her life as women were meant to marry and raise a family. Julia pushed forth and became a success in her field, designing over 700 buildings including the famed Hearst Castle.
The story here is about Julia Morgan’s life from birth through college graduation. Julia was the second of five children and wasn’t anything like her siblings. She saw the world in different eyes, always looking at detail and design.
Julia’s story is a fascinating read, especially since the author had little to go on in writing this first person narrative.
DRAWING OUTSIDE THE LINES makes for a great addition to the MG historical shelves. From the first page (as you join Julia on a train trip to Brooklyn), readers are transported back to a different time. It’s a joyous and revealing ride the whole way.
Growing up in horse-and-buggy Oakland, Julia enjoys daring fence walks, climbing the tallest trees, and constantly testing her mother’s patience with her lack of interest in domestic duties and social events. At a time when “brainy” girls are the object of ridicule, Julia excels in school and consistently outsmarts her ornery brothers—but she has an even greater battle ahead. When she enrolls at university to study engineering, the male students taunt her, and the professors belittle her. Through it all, however, Julia holds on to her dream of becoming an architect. She faces each challenge head-on, firmly standing up to those who believe a woman’s place is in the home. Fortunately, the world has yet to meet anyone like the indomitable Miss Morgan.
BOOK BIRTHDAY: October 18, 2022 PAGE COUNT: 256
FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT DRAWING OUTSIDE THE LINES by Susan J. Austin
- How does an author write about individuals from the 1800’s when not much is known about their early lives? The Author’s Note in the final pages reveals the background story of how it was done and it’s not to be missed.
- Even young girls today will be inspired to never give up your dream no matter what anyone else says.
- The mix of real historical events and fiction never makes you stop and wonder if it really did happen this way. A masterful job of research and writing by Susan Austin.
- Thirty-one chapters are each centered around a moment in Julia’s life. They events would be good discussion material for a class reading this novel.
- You will be very aware of the discrimination facing young women of the era. It’s front and center, revealing how tough the road has been for women interested in a science career.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Susan Austin As an educator, Susan J. Austin knows the minds of young readers. Her first novel, The Bamboo Garden, is set in Berkeley, California, 1923, and describes an unlikely friendship between two girls that is tested by a fierce fire that threatens to destroy their town. Currently, she is writing about 12-year-old Goldie, a whiz kid in the kitchen who hopes that her culinary magic can help her family’s delicatessen out of a pickle in 1928 Hollywood. Her characters are always brave, strong-willed, risk-takers. Writing historical fiction offers her a way to educate and excite her readers about the past. She and her husband live in Northern California, surrounded by family, their splendid, but fussy rose bushes, and a lifetime collection of books. Learn more atwww.susanjaustin.com
COMMENTS ARE WELCOME BELOW.
BE SURE TO VISIT ALL THE OTHER MMGM BLOGGERS JOINING ME THIS WEEK.
Julia sounds a remarkable person, I can only imagine how difficult it must have been for her to pursue her dreams, very inspiring!
I agree with Valinora that this sounds like a really inspiring book. Thanks for sharing it this week.
Just added this to my “to read” list — historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and I can’t wait to learn more about Julia.
I would definitely enjoy reading Julia’s story. Love historical fiction and strong women who defy the odds, especially during a time when it wasn’t acceptable. Great share today!
This sounds so interesting! Also great for inspiring young women to follow their dreams!
I’ve heard of Julia Morgan, but I don’t know anything about her. Sounds like this would be a good place to start. Thanks for the review.