All You Have to Do Is Call (Hardcover)
“[A] powerful, thought-provoking novel… not only important and timely, but deeply humanizing.” —Good Morning America
“Remarkable.” —The Washington Post
“Powerful. Dramatic. Insightful…. It’s not only a timely novel, but storytelling at its finest – a must-read.” —NPR
An NPR Books We Love selection for 2023
An inspiring novel based on the true story of the Jane Collective and the brave women who fought for our right to choose, from the USA Today bestselling author of The Paris Bookseller.
Chicago, early 1970s: Who does a woman call when she needs help? Jane.
The best-known secret in the city, Jane is an underground women’s health organization composed entirely of women helping women, empowering them to live lives free from the expectations of society by offering reproductive counseling and safe, illegal abortions. Veronica, Jane’s founder, prides herself on the services she has provided to thousands of women, yet the price of others’ freedom is that she leads a double life. When she’s not at Jane, Veronica plays the role of a conventional housewife—which becomes even more difficult during her own high-risk pregnancy.
Two more women in Veronica’s neighborhood are grappling with similar disconnects. Margaret, a young professor at the University of Chicago, secretly volunteers at Jane as she falls in love with a man whose attitude toward his ex-wife increasingly disturbs her. Patty, who’s long been content as a devoted wife and mother, has begun to sense that something essential is missing from her life. When her runaway younger sister Eliza shows up unexpectedly, Patty is forced to come to terms with what it really means to love and support a sister.
In this historic moment when the personal was nothing if not political, when television, movies, and commercials told women they’d “come a long way, baby,” Veronica, Margaret, and Patty must make choices that will change the course of their lives forever.
About the Author
Kerri Maher is the USA Today bestselling author of The Paris Bookseller, The Girl in White Gloves, The Kennedy Debutante, and, under the name Kerri Majors, This Is Not a Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and lives with her daughter and dog in a leafy suburb west of Boston, Massachusetts.
“[A] powerful, thought-provoking novel… not only important and timely, but deeply humanizing.”
—Good Morning America
"Powerful. Dramatic. Insightful. Kerri Maher’s All You Have to Do Is Call centers on the Jane Collective, an underground women’s health network in Chicago during the years of 1969 to 1973 – a time when abortion was illegal in most of the United States. Maher writes vividly and compassionately about the complexities and courage of her three main characters as they face a turbulent time, battling the limitations of health care. It’s not only a timely novel, but storytelling at its finest – a must-read."
"For better or worse, history can feel as fresh as today’s headlines, and Maher’s searing portrait of the Chicago women who in the 1970s were known as the Jane Collective is a prime example. ... What Maher achieves is a remarkable rendering of women’s interior lives as they try to balance motherhood, careers and relationships with the need to maintain control of their health care, even if it risks arrest.”
—The Washington Post
“All You Have to Do Is Call honors the heroines of the Jane collective who provided safe, clandestine health services in the pre-Roe v. Wade era. Maher sketches all three women with compassion and sensitivity as they come to rely on each other in the absence of the law, and their journey is profoundly moving. A novel both powerful and timely!”
—Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Diamond Eye
“A captivating tale of women sacrificing everything in order to support other women. Everyone should read and discuss this book. Everyone."
—Dolen Perkins-Valdez, New York Times bestselling author of Take My Hand
“All You Have to Do is Call is about the power of women working together, their friendships, their loves, their lives and how, when united, they really can change the world even in the face of seemingly insurmountable barriers. Inspiring, important but also page-turning, Kerri Maher pulls off a remarkable feat in this novel.”
—Natasha Lester, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Orphan
“Dramatic and emotional!”
“Although the novel captures a provocative, explosive period in the past, it couldn’t be more relevant today. With unflinching courage and fierce characters, Maher not only packs a punch but also gives us all the feels in this inspiring, powerhouse novel—exposing the profound choices women made and the risks they took to help other women.”
—Lisa Barr, New York Times bestselling author of Woman on Fire
"Sheds light on the intrepid women who put everything on the line... Inspiring and timely, and an absolute must-read."
—Madeline Martin, New York Times bestselling author of The Librarian Spy
“Succeeds at shining a spotlight on the women who fought for the right to choose. Published a little over a year after Roe v. Wade was overturned, it’s a poignant and timely look at the highs and lows on the path to bodily autonomy.”
“This powerful story… shows the solidarity and bravery of Jane members in the face of great risk, the immense changes which took place during those troubled times, and the impact of “women’s lib” and Roe V. Wade. An eye-opening, informative book that’s well worth reading.”
—Booklist (starred review)
"Gripping and heart-rending...With beautiful writing and a brisk pace, this is Maher's best book to date!"
—Heather Webb, USA Today bestselling author of Strangers in the Night
"Such a courageous undertaking, Maher handles this delicate subject matter with great wisdom and a self-assured hand. Her meticulous research brings 1970s Chicago to life and reminds us of how far we’ve come and what’s at stake for us now.”
—Renée Rosen, USA Today bestselling author of Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl
"A stunning, propulsive novel of friendship and courage... Kerri Maher shows us that love and friendship are complex, and that no woman takes the decision to end a pregnancy lightly. Told with compassion and a chorus of compelling voices, this novel will keep you turning the pages late into the night."
—Laurie Lico Albanese, author of Hester
“Brilliantly woven together, All You Have to Do to Call is an inspiring opus of courage, sisterhood, friendship and the incredible things women can do when they work together to make change. Kerri Maher has penned a masterpiece that women of all ages should read!”
—Eliza Knight, USA Today bestselling author of Starring Adele Astaire
"Maher evocatively explores what remains a timely topic in American history, showing the strength that women wield in helping each other achieve bodily autonomy."
"A character-rich story of risky, remarkable activism that resonates more strongly than ever."
“A timely and poignant depiction of the precarious position of women in pre-Roe America. Maher delivers a compelling insight of the dangers women of all walks of lives had to face to gain access reproductive health care. The characters are rich and keenly developed; the pacing flawless. A worthy reminder of the progress we’ve made and the progress we stand to lose. A stunning tribute to the strength of women.”
—Aimie K. Runyan, bestselling author of The School for German Brides and A Bakery in Paris
"An important, illuminating story about the dreams, fears, and needs of a group of women grappling with what choice really means in the pre-Roe v. Wade era. Maher provides an intimate view into the complexity of female relationships with each other, with their partners, and with their own bodies."
—Elise Hooper, author of Angels of the Pacific
"A gripping novel that illustrates how ordinary people like mothers, housewives, and students can – and have – put their necks on the line for the greater good. This novel comes at the right time to remind us of the power we have on the individual level to make change, sometimes with our own bare hands."
—Kaia Alderson, author of Sisters in Arms
“This tautly-written novel will keep you turning the pages with its deeply satisfying portrayal of women negotiating the shoals of friendship and family in 1970s Chicago – and then goes further to show them risking all in extraordinary acts of social justice. A timely, thoughtful exploration of liberation and resistance.”
—Janie Chang, bestselling author of Dragon Springs Road, The Library of Legends, and The Porcelain Moon
“Powerful and timely… Maher weaves an absorbing tale of friendship, sisterhood and courage, and illuminates the incredible things that women can accomplish when they band together for a greater good.”
—Jane Healey, bestselling Author of Goodnight From Paris
“Historical fiction at its finest: a riveting story from the past with all the immediacy and urgency of today. Kerri Maher delivers a layered, emotionally resonant novel…. a powerful reminder that in challenging times, the most ordinary among us can step up to do the extraordinary."
—Greer Macallister, author of The Arctic Fury
"Brings to life these courageous women, their complicated relationships, and their efforts with seamless grace, realism, and humor. A bold celebration of female friendship and resilience, All You Have To Do Is Call is immersive, irresistible, and captivating from page one!"
—Weina Dai Randel, author of The Last Rose of Shanghai and Night Angels
“A compelling page-turner.”
—Alix Rickloff, author of The Girls in Navy Blue
“A brave tour de force that captures the tension and drama of a pivotal moment in women’s history. Maher’s novel is a powerful and inspiring tribute, a story of sisterhood, resilience, and courage that will stay with readers long after they finish the book. I loved it.”
—Rachel Barenbaum, author of Atomic Anna
Praise for The Paris Bookseller and the novels of Kerri Maher
“A beautiful ode to Sylvia Beach, the renowned Shakespeare and Company owner, a real-life heroine who has left her mark on us all.”
—Marie Benedict, New York Times bestselling coauthor of The Personal Librarian
“Maher vividly reimagines the indomitable Beach, who struggled for years to get Ulysses published."
—The Washington Post
“Maher’s new historical novel The Paris Bookseller is at once a paean to Beach, and a love letter to bookstores and libraries.”
—The Boston Globe
“Wholly immersive, a literary romp through Left Bank Paris…an enchanting glimpse of the storied lost generation through a female gaze.”
“Kerri Maher’s The Paris Bookseller is a worthy homage to Sylvia Beach and a love letter to all bookstores, libraries, and the passionate and committed women who run them.”
—New York Journal of Books
“If you ever dreamed you could transport yourself to Paris in the twenties, to Sylvia Beach's famous bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, where Joyce, Hemingway, and Pound wandered the aisles, this story’s for you. Maher’s magical touch brings to life a woman whose struggles resonate in today’s world, while also examining the intricacies of friendship, fortitude, and the love of the written word.”
—Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue
“Midnight in Paris meets A Moveable Feast in this intimate, in-depth look at the brave and visionary woman who founded one of the world's most iconic bookstores, Shakespeare and Company, on Paris's Left Bank. Studded with appearances from the likes of James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, and Ernest Hemingway, The Paris Bookseller brings alive not only interwar Paris, but also the complicated friendship that led to the publication of Joyce's epic Ulysses and helped pave the way for Paris's enduring English-language literary legacy. If you've ever fallen in love with a bookstore, you'll love this ode to booksellers and to the power and magic of the written word.”
—Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Vanishing Stars
“The Paris Bookseller is a beautifully written homage to those who keep literature alive and to the quirky inhabitants of the literary community whose work sometimes transcends their personal failings. With an open heart and vivid prose, Maher brings to life a lost age and I can't wait to see what this talented author will tackle next.”
—Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of The Women of Chateau Lafayette
“In her latest, Maher throws open a window to 1920s Paris and the Lost Generation, dropping readers into the fascinating true story of one woman’s fight to save a masterpiece. Maher weaves a tale that is atmospheric, heartfelt, and brimming with life, leaving no doubt a novel is a living, breathing thing.”
—Michelle Gable, New York Times bestselling author of A Paris Apartment and The Bookseller’s Secret
“This compelling biographical novel perfect for lit lovers follows Sylvia Beach and the founding of bookstore Shakespeare and Company in Paris…. Come for the love of books and Sapphic passion and stay for the frequent cameos by the likes of Ezra Pound and Ernest Hemingway.”
“In a novel exuberant, bittersweet, and reflective by turns, Maher explores the life of Sylvia Beach…readers will emerge with sincere appreciation for the artistic spirit and courage of a remarkable woman.”
—Historical Novel Society
“The Paris Bookseller is a beautiful window into the life of a fascinating woman who defied convention in almost every area of her life and succeeded in publishing one of the most controversial novels of the early twentieth century…. The emotional depth that Maher gives to historical figures who have achieved almost mythological status in our cultural ethos is riveting and leaves readers with a lingering sense of familiarity that won’t soon be forgotten.”
—Manhattan Book Review
“Dazzling like Paris, rich and immersive like the work it celebrates, and bursting with heart and passion like every great bookstore, The Paris Bookseller is a dream for book lovers from start to finish.”
—Steven Rowley, Bestselling author of The Editor and The Guncle
“The Paris Bookseller is a compelling portrait of a remarkable woman, who steps from the pages in all her charm, courage and vulnerability. It’s also a colourful snapshot of literary Paris in the 1920s, with its glamour and gossip, ogres and egos. Meticulously researched yet above all a page-turning story, this is historical fiction at its best.”
—Gill Paul, USA Today bestselling author of The Collector's Daughter
“If you've ever gotten lost in the narrow, deliciously overcrowded aisles of Shakespeare and Company, or you just want to imagine you have, this is the novel for you. Kerri Maher brings to life the fascinating history of Shakespeare and Company and its founder, Sylvia Beach, whose vision and drive led her to create not only a world-famous bookstore, but to defy the censors and publish the first edition of Joyce's Ulysses. Intelligent, fierce, and filled with reverence for a fascinating epoch in literary history, The Paris Bookseller is a delight for readers and writers.”
—Whitney Scharer, Author of The Age of Light
“The Paris Bookseller is at once a moving love letter to 1920s Paris, an insight into the Lost Generation, and an ode to a woman's fight for freedom. It brings to life the all-consuming relationship between a bookseller and a work of art in such a compelling way that I couldn't stop turning the pages, and I closed the book yearning for a place like Shakespeare and Company. A sparkling read.”
—Evie Dunmore, USA Today bestselling author of Bringing Down the Duke
“Maher offers an alluring look at the history of Paris’s Shakespeare and Company bookstore…Maher’s portrayal of Sylvia ably capitalizes on the historical figure’s singular life, highlighting how the bookseller and publisher embraced the progressive literature of the time and established a loving partnership with Adrienne that would not have been accepted in the U.S.”
“The Paris Bookseller brings to life this influential woman and her struggles to honor her love of literature following her decision to publish Ulysses and the financial crises that the Great Depression brings.”
“A love letter to the extraordinary people who made interwar Paris the place to be for book lovers. With distinctive prose and honesty, Kerri brings to life the glory days of Paris’s most unforgettable bookstore, illuminating a world where leading literary lights await us on every page — and spotlighting the woman who united them all, Miss Sylvia Beach.”
—Bryn Turnbull, Author The Woman Before Wallis
“Kerri Maher’s The Paris Bookseller tells the captivating story of Sylvia Beach, her famed bookstore Shakespeare and Company, and the tremendous role both played in the artistic landscape of interwar Paris. Here literary giants are brought to vivid life in the aisles of a charming Parisian bookshop, and we see not only their humanity, but also their courage in forging new paths in a changing world. Inspiring, fascinating, and delightful, this story will resonate with readers long after the final page.”
—Kristin Beck, Author of Courage, My Love
“Absorbing, intricate, and beautifully told, The Paris Bookseller is the unforgettable true story of Sylvia Beach, a champion of modern literature who made enormous sacrifices in the struggle to publish James Joyce’s classic novel, Ulysses, while also establishing Shakespeare and Company, a bookstore that became the Parisian home for literary luminaries of her day. With all the color and verve of post WWI Paris and the deep love of literature that pervades every page, The Paris Bookseller is a novel for book lovers to treasure.”
—Christine Wells, author of Sisters of the Resistance
“Amid Shakespeare and Company’s ups and downs…Sylvia and Adrienne create a loving partnership in a time when queer relationships were far less accepted, even in Paris…With its insider’s view of the literary expat world of 1920s Paris, The Paris Bookseller will appeal to fans of Paula McClain’s The Paris Wife.”
“Kerri Maher leads us through Bohemian Paris in the 1920s with all the joie de vivre we could hope for. Through love and books, a fresh Sylvia Beach creates a new life after meeting impressive Parisian bookseller Adrienne Monnier, and by the arrival of Irish writer James Joyce in their circle. A compelling and fascinating look at the world-changing mavericks who bonded, bickered, and triumphed in the realm of literature.”
—Nuala O’Connor, author of Nora: A Love Story of Nora and James Joyce
"A scrupulously-researched, enchanting novel, The Paris Bookseller is a feast of literary pre-war Paris. I was transported by Maher’s portrait of the iconic Sylvia Beach and her magical bookshop."
—Michaela Carter, author of Leonora In the Morning Light
“Kerri Maher’s enchanting historical novel follows American Sylvia Beach, founder of the storied Paris bookshop Shakespeare and Company, as she opens her doors in 1919 and then courageously commits to publishing her friend James Joyce’s Ulysses, which had been banned in the United States.”
—The Christian Science Monitor
“The stunning and very human story of a beloved icon....Full of nuance and poignancy—this novel is gorgeous.”
—Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Queen’s Fortune
“[A] fascinating, deeply researched novel of the extraordinary Grace Kelly...establishes Maher as a true force in biographical fiction.”
—Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author of The Golden Hour
“In The Girl in White Gloves, Kerri Maher beautifully envisions the reality of this fairy-tale life. This deeply researched novel is perfect for fans of Grace Kelly, royal-watchers, and fans of biographical fiction alike.”
“In this charming, picturesque novel, readers are swept away…this story is a glimpse into the dazzling life of a classic and beloved star.”
“Maher's bio-fic feels as if it was written by Kelly herself. The novel spins a fascinating version of the Philly native's life, from princess of Hollywood to Princess of Monaco.”
“A riveting reimagining of a true tale of forbidden love.”
“A vivid and engrossing portrayal of the fascinating life of Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy. Maher offers a dazzling glimpse of London society filled with a rich, nuanced, and infamous cast of characters alongside a poignant depiction of the emotional cost of war. A stunning debut!”
—Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author of Next Year in Havana, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club Pick
“Kerri Maher has crafted a compelling, insightful look into the complexities of the Kennedy era and one of its most fascinating daughters. Expertly researched, this is a remarkable debut.”
—Susan Meissner, Bestselling author of As Bright as Heaven
“You will be swept up, first and foremost, by its vivid, captivating heroine. Kick Kennedy was naive and privileged, to be sure, but in Maher's masterful portrait, she is also a bold young woman living at a precarious moment in history, eager to make her mark on the world as fearlessly as she will follow her heart.”
—Julia Glass, Author of A House Among the Trees and the National Book Award–winning Three Junes