The Hat, The Red Scarf and The Necklace were published a month apart by Post Hill Press in the spring of 2015. The novels' series take Kate Brady from the ages of 18 to 80 and the drama of The Jazz Age and Prohibition to today's stunning happenings. Searching for Vivian, separate from the series, followed in March 2016.
97 Speaks is a walk through almost 100 years of an extraordinary life with all of the lessons and observations that only a writer and keen observer can offer. Babette Hughes draws directly from the wisdom and experience and drama of her long life.
It's all there -- the murder of her father when she was two years old, Prohibition, The Great Depression, World War Two, the struggles and great victories of a feminist during the fifties and tumultuous sixties, and the love, loss, and resiliency of a mother and wife.
Throughout Babette's story we learn from her inspiring example and her "secret" of how, at the age of 97, she lives agelessly.
The Secret of Happiness
The Blogs in The Secret of Happiness range from life as an orphan to life as a model; from psychotherapy to bootlegging and the Great Depression and murders and loss. Originally published in the Huffington Post, the collection reflects the author's wisdom acquired from her long and unique life that began with her father's and uncle's murder by the Mafia. Written with economy and lucidity, this slim jewel of a book reveals intimate slices of the author's life.
Searching for Vivian
In 1966, seventeen year old Vivian Russell disappeared like smoke. The seemingly senseless murder of her parents in their home in Cleveland, Ohio was as inexplicable as her vanishing act in its aftermath. Her younger sister, Emma—traumatized by the horrific event—grows into a capable and relentless investigator who decides to do whatever it takes to find her. Her search takes her through the turbulent sixties—Viet Nam, The Black Panthers, dead ends, and bank jobs. Along the way, she finds herself and, whether she is prepared for it or not, the truth.
Optioned for a movie from Red Mars Films, and first prize winner in Historical Fiction from Texas Authors’ Association, The Hat begins with the brief, chilling murder of the godfather of the Jewish bootlegging world. The killer disappears and in flashback we meet Kate Brady who has just been fired from her job at Shapiro’s Bakery. With an alcoholic mother and the joblessness of The Great Depression, Kate has little hope for a future until she meets the magnetic bootlegger, Ben Gold. After an intense courtship they marry. Ben’s hit man, Sam Bernstein and his handsome and decent bookkeeper, Bobby Keane witness their wedding. The charged love affair between Bobby and Kate and their struggle to escape Ben, leads to a startling denouement and an ending in suspense, surprise and revelation.
The Red Scarf
The Red Scarf opens with Kate Brady, aka Mrs. Ben Gold, trying to find a normal life as the widow of the godfather of the Jewish mafia, Ben Gold. He is dead and the file is closed as far as law enforcement is concerned. The remaining Sarsini is the killer in revenge for his brothers’ murders at Gold’s hand, or at least that is what the FBI believes. Good riddance is what they and everyone who knew Ben Gold thinks, and Kate agrees wholeheartedly. Ben had treated her badly, was not a good man, and frankly deserved what he got. And so as The Red Scarf picks up her story she is attending college, living on the millions of dollars of ill-gotten gain that Ben had left her, and trying to put the life of a moll behind her. But once again, even from the grave, Ben Gold drags her back into the dangerous world of gangsters and guns. When handsome FBI agent, Adam Fairfield is introduced as a guest lecturer, she feels immediately drawn to him and he to her. A torrid love affair ensues and soon, she is risking her life by revealing her darkest secret to him trusting that he won’t put her away for life or worse. Meanwhile, Kate finds herself working undercover in subterfuge and danger, at last on the right side of the law.
The Necklace tells the stories of three women, each with a dangerous secret. There is Kate Brady, now 80 years old, living quietly in Cleveland, Ohio, determined that her secret will die with her; Andrea Pryor, 42, the famous television anchor who is being blackmailed for hers; and 18-year-old Marianne Woodsman, her secret taking her on the run through a homeless shelter and a brothel.
Fearing for the discovery of her secret, Kate refuses Andrea Pryor’s proposal for a documentary about her life with the notorious Ben Gold. But with Andrea’s perseverance, along with her lonely life she finally agrees, and they play a cat and mouse game, Andrea determined to get the secret out of her and Kate just as determined to keep it.
Marianne Woodman’s secret is hidden in her family’s Park Avenue penthouse, social position, positions on important Boards and generous contributions to several charities. Marianne runs for her life from her dysfunctional family as her story becomes intertwined with Kate’s and Andrea’s, giving birth to a three-generation family bound by love.
Lost and Found
When Babette Rosen Hughes was two years old her father disappeared suddenly and mysteriously from her life. Although he had been murdered in a turf war with the mafia, and although her uncle- an innocent bystander was murdered along with him, her mother told her that he died of pneumonia, never acknowledged her uncle's existence, and then remained willfully mute about the murders, about her childhood in a Dickensian orphanage, about her marriage and the secrets of her long widowhood.
So Babette embarked on a search not only for a father she never knew, but for her brilliant elusive mother who turned out to be even more of a mystery. Her memoir describes that quest amid the drama of the times: Prohibition, the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression.