Author JF Collen launches history-packed trilogy set in 1850’s Westchester. The first book is available for release this Fall.

Flirtation on the Hudson

Before Ossining changed its name from Sing Sing, the town was a proud port along the Hudson with daily ships to New York City and beds of oysters along its shore. JF Collen’s new novel explores the banks of the river through the eyes of her young heroine. With Westchester as a backdrop, Cornelia Rose challenges the limits of what a woman can be in the 1850s.

Even in a decade of great progress, Cornelia’s interests in education and midwifery are not what her parents consider ideal match-making qualities. Her wit and charm attract the right kind of attention, but courtships are a public endeavor as much as a personal one. Cornelia visits West Point well aware of the balance she must strike. Making a good impression on a cadet can go long way.

Collen’s trilogy begins with her young heroine witnessing the grand opening of the Croton Aqueduct. Like other recognizable landmarks, the aqueduct was an engineering marvel and another step toward modern day luxuries for New York residents. Local readers will also recognize neighborhoods like Campwoods and the now-destroyed Brandreth Pill Factory. Armed with local relevance and historical context, Collen’s work reminds the reader of how far our Hudson hamlets have come.

Cornelia watches the passing of the 1850s as only a true resident can. She watches the waterfront ports give way to a new railroad even as ice cutting ships attempt to clear the river for travel. She’ll see the day circuses become acceptable outings for young couples instead of scandalous excursions. Though religion and status are strong factors for an acceptable marriage, Cornelia’s will and voice allow her to explore her own potential.

Flirtation on the Hudson follows Cornelia’s journey through her world. Working at Hart’s Apothecary, dazzling West Point cadets, and daring to have her own opinions Cornelia Rose is unforgettable. Peppered with local history and legends of the time, Collen’s debut novel offers a glimpse into familiar landscape.