When the Day Comes
by Gabrielle Meyer
“With rich historical details and a riveting conundrum, When the Day Comes had me glued to the pages, the story tugging at my heart and lingering with me long after the last page. A triumph of a story!” —Susan May Warren, USA Today best-selling author of Sunrise
In the novel, When the Day Comes, Elizabeth Conant-Wells is born with a unique gift: to live two lives simultaneously. When she goes to sleep in one, she wakes up in the other, without any time passing. In 1774, she’s Libby Conant, one of the first female public printers in Virginia. She’s helping the Patriots and providing for her family. The man she loves, Henry Montgomery, has secrets of his own.
In 1914, she is Anna Elizabeth Wells, the daughter of a successful shipping magnate. Her family is “new money,” and her mother wants to marry her off to an English marquess to gain a title and prestige on the eve of WWI—but Libby would rather continue her work for women’s suffrage in America. On her twenty-first birthday, she must choose which life to keep and which to give up. But how does one choose to forfeit a life?
An Interview with Gabrielle
Your main character, Libby, lives in two separate eras, Colonial Williamsburg and 1914 New York. Which would you rather live in?
I love both time periods, so it would be difficult to choose. Several of my ancestors arrived in America between 1607 and 1640, so I feel firmly planted in that era. I also love Colonial Williamsburg. Each time I visit, I feel at home walking the streets, visiting the shops, and interacting with the interpreters. With that said, the modern conveniences and advancements in 1914 might win me over in the end. Telephones, automobiles, movies, and indoor plumbing sound a lot more pleasant than colonial life.
How did you choose the two time periods Libby travels between?
From the moment the idea came to me, I knew Libby would live in Colonial Williamsburg in 1774. I had recently visited there, and it captivated my imagination. As I considered other time periods for her second life, I wanted one that contrasted in a unique way. I had watched a documentary on the American Dollar Princesses, hosted by Elizabeth McGovern, who played Lady Grantham in Downton Abbey. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, English lords needed to save their crumbling estates, and “new money” Americans were looking to break into the upper echelons of society. They did this by marrying their daughters off to aristocrats to gain titles. It’s estimated that over two hundred American heiresses married into the British aristocracy, bringing with them over twenty-five billion dollars in dowry. As Libby is fighting to gain independence from England in 1774, her mother is trying to force her back into the English aristocracy in 1914. I love how these periods contrast.
How does each time period impact Libby?
The irony of Libby’s existence is that in 1774, she works hard as a public printer. She is trying to keep her mother out of debtor’s prison and her sister from becoming an indentured servant. Every day is a struggle. In 1914, her family is wealthy, and she leads a tedious existence, with little purpose beyond her work as a suffragette. There are aspects of both time periods that she identifies with, and aspects of both that frustrate her. Her biggest frustration is that in both eras, women are forced to fight for the freedom to choose their own paths.
What do you hope audiences take away from When the Day Comes?
As I wrote When the Day Comes, the theme that continued to play through my mind was the sovereignty of God. When events happen that are out of Libby’s control and she does not understand how anything good can come from them, she is reminded that God is sovereign. His plan is far better than anything she can imagine. We don’t always get to know why things happen, but sometimes God allows us to see His purpose behind our pain. I finished the last couple of chapters of When the Day Comes while I was waiting for the pathology report of a tumor I had removed. While I wrote, God’s sovereignty permeated the pages of the story as well as my own life. He whispered His promises to me through Libby. He is in control, and no matter the report, His plan is perfect. That is what I hope my readers take away from this story. Thankfully, the tumor was benign.
Gabrielle Meyer has worked for state and local historical societies and loves writing fiction inspired by real people, places, and events. She resides along the banks of the Mississippi River in central Minnesota with her husband and four children. By day, she's a busy homeschool mom, and by night she pens fiction and nonfiction filled with hope.
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