Beyond the Silk Mills


An immigrant saga of family discord, obsessive ambition, and regret.


As a Jewish immigrant to New Jersey in 1898, Emma dreams of the wealth that will usher her family into high society. Despite the odds, she single-mindedly finagles her way to success and prosperity to attain her desired status, but at a terrible price.

Disinterested in money, Emma’s husband Meyer has a passion for workers’ rights that stems from his days as a weaver in the Jewish ghetto of Lodz, Poland, where he was an activist in the socialist Labor Bund. When he unionizes his comrades for the historic Paterson Silk Strike of 1913, their lives change forever.

Their daughter, Sophie, is forced to choose between her parents, and this choice leads her to the tenements of New York’s Lower East Side, unlikely friendships, pregnancy, and newfound love.

Beyond the Silk Mills, is a compelling saga of family discord, obsessive ambition, romance, and regret.

The Epstein family’s struggle during the early twentieth century in New York City and Paterson, New Jersey, illuminates the roots of modern feminism and contemporary labor issues.

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Praise for Beyond the Silk Mills

“…a beautifully written novel that puts a human face on history… Ms. Rupley does a wonderful job crafting the historical setting and creates a saga that is rich in detail.”
– Evelyn M. Hershey, Education Director American Labor Museum/Botto House National Landmark

“…Rupley has carefully researched and imaginatively captured the dynamic of the Paterson strike. This is what historical fiction should look like.”
– Steve Golin, author of The Fragile Bridge: Paterson Silk Strike 1913, Professor of History, Bloomfield College, Bloomfield, New Jersey

“Rupley’s debut novel is rich in warmth, characterization and historical detail… The tension of the silk workers’ strike is masterfully demonstrated in Emma’s conflicts with her husband and daughter who desire and demand better working conditions. Rupley depicts each period with well-selected detail and creates characters about whom you promptly care.”
– Joanna H. Kraus, Correspondent, Bay Area News Group; Author, “Remember My Name (Samuel French,) “The Ice Wolf” (Dramatic Publishing) and “A Night of Tamales and Roses” (Shenanigan Books).

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