Reverse-Gentrification of the Literary World

Akashic Books

||| |||

Catalog » Browse by Title: T » The Third Mrs. Galway

The Third Mrs. Galway


Antislavery agitation is rocking Utica in 1835 when a young bride discovers an enslaved family hiding in her shed, setting in motion the exhumation of long-buried family secrets.

Buy on Bookshop
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Barnes & Noble

$17.95 $13.46

What people are saying…

“This suspenseful novel vividly breathes life into the early years of the United States, and the burden of slavery the young Republic carries with it . . . This book engrosses the reader and does what historical fiction does best. In bringing the past into sharp focus, it shines a light on our present day. Highly recommended.”
Historical Novels Review, Editor’s Choice Pick

A 2021 Great Group Reads pick, selected by the Women’s National Book Association!

A 2021 Book Shelf Award Nominee!

“Author Sinnott is a Utica native who originated her city’s Abolition History Day Celebration, facilitated ‘Resisting the New Jim Crow’ at the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum, and is a historical consultant for the Fort Stanwix Underground Railroad History Project. She sensitively grounds her first novel in a white woman’s perspective (Sinnott is white) while focusing the action and urgency around the Black Americans whose fate rests in Helen Galway’s hands.”
Literary Hub, one of Bethanne Patrick’s 5 Books You May Have Missed in July 2021 picks

“If you dig into your local history, you may be surprised at what you find. After Utica native Deirdre Sinnott began researching, an interest was ignited, and now she’s an author of a novel.”
Spectrum News 1

“With its impressive attention to historical detail, The Third Mrs. Galway showcases novelist, researcher, and social activist Deirdre Sinnott exceptional flair for an inherently entertaining and narrative driven storytelling style.”
Midwest Book Review

“In this eloquent debut, a diverse cast of characters embodies the political, class, and racial upheavals of its time and milieu, and does it all in living local color . . . [A] powerful look at the prologue to Emancipation.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Potent . . . The book’s descriptions are brutal, urgent, and realistic . . . In the intricate, relationship-based historical novel The Third Mrs. Galway, characters question civil disobedience and abolitionism; they also learn to be compassionate.”
Foreword Reviews

“Utica-area native and local historian Sinnott’s deep knowledge of the abolition movement in upstate New York informs this nuanced portrayal of white ambivalence and anti-slavery activism.”

“Sinnott offers a rich history of the burgeoning abolitionist movement.”
Publishers Weekly

“Never has an author as gifted as Sinnott given us so rich a tapestry of historical context . . . Sinnott is so talented a writer that she makes the reader believe that the Erie Canal is itself an embodiment of the struggle between freedom’s advocates and those who would deny African Americans, both free and enslaved, the right to decide their own destiny.”
—Dr. Milton C. Sernett, Professor Emeritus, African American Studies and History, Syracuse University

“Sinnott’s exciting novel looks at Northern white indifference to America’s original sin. By exposing the painful past she has created a beautiful, timely, and uplifting book with unforgettable characters who kept me guessing.”
—Donna Hylton, author of A Little Piece of Light: A Memoir of Hope, Prison, and a Life Unbound

“Deirdre Sinnott is an extraordinary writer whose eye misses nothing. This compelling story is a must read—and it couldn’t be more timely.”
—David Black, award-winning journalist, novelist, screenwriter, and producer

“A fast-paced excursion into Utica, New York, in the mid-1830s, The Third Mrs. Galway captures the true-life anti-abolition riots against the New York Anti-Slavery Society. With lively and enjoyable prose, Deirdre Sinnott brings the story of emancipation alive.”
—Paul Stewart, cofounder of the Underground Railroad History Project

The Third Mrs. Galway offers readers romance, adventure, and poignant family drama while also providing insight into the complexity of antislavery attitudes before the Civil War. This is a historical page-turner that both enlightens and entertains.”
—Barbara Weisberg, author of Talking to the Dead: Kate and Maggie Fox and the Rise of Spiritualism

“With historical accuracy, Deirdre Sinnott brings to life the surprising drama of freedom-seekers and slave-catchers in Oneida County. This book animates the history of the region and the larger Underground Railroad phenomenon in a way that street signs and public lectures cannot.”
—Jan DeAmicis, cochair of the Oneida County Freedom Trail Commission

The Third Mrs. Galway reads like Balzac, with fear, desire, terror, and love intertwined in this gripping work of historical fiction. Deirdre Sinnott weaves the stories of a cross-section of 1835 Utica, New York, into an impressive and fascinating narrative that contemplates race, class, history, and the search for justice and humanity. Read The Third Mrs. Galway to be swept into the uncertain, violent time of 1830s New York and to see in new ways how that moment still affects our own.”
—Taylor M. Polites, author of The Rebel Wife


It’s 1835 in Utica, New York, and newlywed Helen Galway discovers a secret: two people who have escaped enslavement are hiding in the shack behind her husband’s house. Suddenly, she is at the center of the era’s greatest moral dilemma: Should she be a “good wife” and report the fugitives? Or will she defy convention and come to their aid?

Within her home, Helen is haunted by the previous Mrs. Galway, recently deceased but still an oppressive presence. Her husband, injured by a drunken tumble off his horse, is assisted by a doctor of questionable ambitions who keeps a close eye on Helen. In charge of all things domestic is Maggie—formerly enslaved by the Galway family and freed when emancipation came to New York eight years earlier.

Abolitionists arriving in Utica to found the New York State Anti-Slavery Society are accused by the local papers of being traitors to the Constitution. Everyone faces dangerous choices as they navigate this intensely heated personal and political landscape.

A debut novel on our Kaylie Jones Books imprint.

Watch a feature on Deirdre Sinnott and The Third Mrs. Galway presented by Utica, NY’s Spectrum News 1.

Listen to interviews with Deirdre Sinnott on The Historians Podcast, The Writers Lounge with Thomas Riddell, Inspirational Journey: Stories that Matter, and the Bookaholic podcast.

Watch the Bookaholic interview here.

Read about The Third Mrs. Galway at the Underground Railroad Free Press


Book Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Published: 7/6/21
  • IBSN: 9781617758423
  • e-IBSN: 9781617759390
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781636140438


DEIRDRE SINNOTT is an author, researcher, and activist for social change. She grew up in the region of Utica, New York, and graduated from Syracuse University. Sinnott speaks nationally about the role of Central New York’s residents in the abolition of slavery. She was the originator of Utica’s Abolition History Day Celebration and has directed two award-winning documentaries on mass incarceration/prison issues. She facilitated the program “Resisting the New Jim Crow” at the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum. Sinnott’s writing has appeared in newspapers, two anthologies, literary journals, and in various online resources. The Third Mrs. Galway is her first novel. She is a historical consultant for the Fort Stanwix Underground Railroad History Project, funded by the National Park Service.

More info »