Kelly Romo currently lives in Oregon with her three children where she teaches language arts, literature, social studies, and digital publications. She loves the outdoors; hiking, kayaking, and camping. Kelly grew up in Fontana, California, running around with all her thrill-seeking cousins and siblings; jumping off cliffs into the Colorado River, exploring caves on the beaches of Mexico, riding dirt bikes, water skiing, and snow skiing. Kelly has a Master of Fine Arts in Writing and a Master of Arts in Teaching.
Whistling Women is her debut novel and came out of her love for San Diego and Balboa Park. Even though the characters are all works of fiction, the world’s fair, nudist colony, and famous figures are based on the historical facts of the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition.
A whistling woman and a crowing hen always come
to some bad end.
Outside the gates of the 1935 world’s fair in San Diego, men wait in bread lines and families scrimp to survive; but inside, the lines lead them into General Electric’s Talking Kitchen, Ford Motor Car’s working assembly line, and to see Alpha the chrome-plated robot that smokes cigarettes and fires a pistol. People not only glimpse all the hopes of the future, they are amazed and scandalized by Ripley’s Believe-it-or-Not Odditorium, a midget village, and Zoro Gardens Nudist Colony; where for twenty-five cents, guests watch the nudists exercise or lounge around in the sun.
Most of the nudists feel a sense of freedom from shedding all their clothes, but Addie knows that real freedom is freedom of the soul. You can strip off every shred of clothing and still be bound by sin. And hers is the biggest sin of all, right out of the Ten Commandments: thou shall not murder. Addie has been hiding out at the colony for fifteen years, but now the residents are all headed to another world’s fair. Why does this one have to be in San Diego? Addie wonders if she has it in her to return, and if she does, will her sister finally forgive her?
Told through the eyes of Addie and Rumor, her fifteen-year-old niece who didn’t even know she had an aunt, Whistling Women explores the value of family and the sacrifices required to protect those you love. It is a story of the limited choices women had in the era—especially women who didn’t conform to society’s expectations.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
“Romo wonderfully immerses the reader in an unusual and exciting place and time to tell a moving story of the secrets that both bind families together and tear them apart.”
— Megan Chance, author of THE VISITANT