Leesburg, VA, November 1, 2011
Virgin Hall Published by Janet M. Taliaferro: Novelist, Poet & Activist
Women’s lives are continually bettered by access to healthcare and threatened by anti-abortion extremism. Before Roe v. Wade protected access to safe and legal abortion services, women of all social positions lived in fear of unwanted pregnancy. In Virgin Hall, the author remembers that fear and gives voice to the stories of women grappling with life-altering decisions.
Virgin Hall is a woman’s coming of age story set in the 1950s and offers a window into social and sexual mores of the times. Sheila, the heroine, a sheltered girl from Brooklyn, is lost at first in the flamboyant college culture of the Southwest. Clothes, sorority rush, boys, and a great date were all priorities for “co-eds” of the day. As her three suitemates help Shelia adjust to life in a new social world, lifelong friendships are established along the way.
Readers will learn that growing up then wasn’t all fun and games, even for sheltered young women of privilege. Sexual violence, racist norms, and limited access to healthcare and abortion took their toll, and the consequences reappear when the friends reunite 30 years later. If you appreciate finely wrought prose and an honest look at times gone by, Virgin Halloffers both a cautionary tale and a tribute to women’s empowerment.
About the Author
Janet M. Taliaferro writes novels, poetry, and short stories. In broad-brush terms, her chosen subjects include abortion, incest, rape, alcohol and drug addiction, and more importantly, recovery and the influence of twelve-step programs, racial and religious tolerance, and war.
In previous lives she was a political activist and business owner and remains an avid Planned Parenthood supporter. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she holds a Master’s Degree in Creative Studies from the University of Central Oklahoma, where she received the Geoffrey Bocca Memorial Award for Graduate Writing.