A Matter of Happenstance, Catherine Underhill Fitzpatrick's sweeping debut novel, opens in Gaslight-era St. Louis, where George Reinhardt, a desperate dreamer, devotes a surprise inheritance to creating one of the country's first luxury retail emporiums. George's two sons glide through the Jazz Age and even prosper during the Great Depression. George's grandchildren twirl through the Rock ‘N Roll Fifties. For nearly a century, the Reinhardt family seemingly cheats misfortune of its due. But all the while, chance encounters are propelling a series of hardscrabble characters who yearn to better themselves to the fringes of the Reinhardts’ privileged world, and beyond, to their doorstep. On a scorching summer day in 1956, a single, random event sends all of them barreling toward a tragedy one hundred years in the making, a tragedy that proves happenstance is anything but.
In pitting personal integrity against the forces of coincidence, A Matter of Happenstance" explores the question about what – and who -- charts life's course.
About the Author
A veteran journalist, Catherine Underhill Fitzpatrick well knows how something sailing out of the blue can forever affect lives. On September 11, 2001, she was in New York to cover Fashion Week runway shows for Wisconsin's largest newspaper. At first word of the attacks, she rushed to lower Manhattan and filed award-winning eye-witness dispatches for special editions of the paper and its web site.
Catherine and her husband, Dennis, divide their time between Milwaukee and Bonita Springs.
A Matter of Happenstance (2010, Plain View Press, 318 pp, ISBN 9781935514626, glossy soft cover).