Everyone was on guard, especially Eleanor. She understood their wrath and their willingness to get personal. The moment the call had come in from the hospital, she knew it would be a race to the bedside. Already the infiltration had begun in the form of Miss Ethel du Pont. . .


In What The Women Do, three trailblazing women face private decisions that redirect their lives—and also shape history. In these powerful novellas, Adam Braver imagines life-changing encounters away from the spotlight, hidden inflection points that capture how these remarkable groundbreakers engaged the world around them.

When Eleanor Roosevelt rushes to her son's hospital bedside, she's stopped short by Miss Ethel duPont, his fiancée and the embodiment of everything she’s always resisted. In the crush of World War II, Kay Summersby lives and works alongside General Eisenhower, building a loving domestic sanctuary that’s dismantled in victory and that shadows the life she later builds for and by herself. And in a small shop in Reykjavik, Bobbie Gentry, the reclusive 70’s pop star, fights to preserve her anonymity. Or maybe it's her doppelgänger: her refusal to engage with an ambitious reporter recasts the entire prospect of knowing these women’s lives at all.


Advance praise

"Adam Braver conjures historical experience with rare precision and lyrical intensity. Fierce and true, his fiction is unforgettable."
- Claire Messud, author of The Emperor's Children

"Adam Braver blends history and fiction in striking portraits of three resilient women. Along with offering fascinating accounts of what the women actually do, these dramatic novellas give readers the chance to reflect on what these women choose not to do, and fail to do, and want to do but are discouraged from doing. The result is a moving, illuminating, relevant book."
Joanna Scott, author of Careers for Women

"I've loved Adam Braver's work for many years. What The Women Do is one of his finest books yet. These novellas offer radically different takes on the lives of three women about whom we know much less than we sometimes like to think. Braver's bravura narration--stealthy and startling--confirms my long-held opinion that he's one of the best fiction writers in the country. One of the best artists, period."
Steven Yarbrough, author of The Unmade World


early-bird orders available now:

What The Women Do - $16

About Adam Braver


Adam Braver is the author of six novels (The Disappeared; Misfit; November 22, 1963; Crows Over The Wheatfield; Divine Sarah; and Mr. Lincoln’s Wars). His books have been translated into multiple languages, and earned many distinctions. Braver is on faculty and University Library Program Director at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI. He also teaches at the New York State Summer Writers Institute.



Adam Braver
What The Women Do: Three Novellas
216 pages
$16.00 paperback ISBN 9781944853624
$9.99 ebook

July 2019


So you want to know what the women do. Here’s what her mother does: at sixty years old, a former office worker, Vera MacCarthy Morrogh, born in Wales, lived, married, and bore her four children in County Cork, left her lieutenant colonel husband to live in London, walks the streets, scouring the sidewalks as an “incendiary bomb spotter”. . . [read an excerpt at Harvard Review Online








early-bird orders available now:

What The Women Do - $16







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