Twenty-year-old Kitty Coakley is a young woman ahead of her time. While her sister Margaret and the other girls in their neighborhood are content to settle into lives as mothers and housewives, spirited Kitty has bigger plans. The youngest of seven children born to Irish-Catholic immigrants, she’s determined to carve out a place for herself in bustling turn-of-the-century Chicago.
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When her music teacher douses her hopes of a career as a professional singer and pianist, Kitty sets her sights on becoming a kindergarten teacher. However, complications arise when she finds herself pursued by not one, but two young beaus—steady, Catholic Brian and ambitious, Protestant Henry. Ultimately, Kitty must choose between living a safe but predictable life or following her heart into the unknown. With its vivid portrayal of early twentieth-century America, Beautiful Dreamer is a heartwarming coming-of-age story about a thoroughly modern woman.
Joan Naper grew up in Chicago, the middle child of seven, the middle daughter of five. She attended St. Gertrude’s grammar school with her six siblings; Marywood Academy with her four sisters; and Trinity College in Washington, DC, with just one sister. Earned graduate degrees from the University of Chicago (English, 1974) and Northwestern University (Advertising, 1988).After years working as a speechwriter and editor, she works today as the research communications director at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.