New York, NY – Tim Sheard’s Hard Ball Press publishes numerous novels involving union activity, and Union Made, by Eric Lotke, is one of the best of them, mainly because a believable and well-written romance highlights the story.
The book’s major subject is a fictional account of a union’s attempt to secure a wage increase for the employees of Pac-Shoppe, a Walmart-like store, plus more control over the scheduling of their work shifts. But it’s also a charming and suspenseful story about a romance between Catherine Campbell, the attractive, intelligent, hard-working, and unmarried leader of Local 429 of the United Commercial Workers of Richmond, Virginia, and Nathaniel Hawley, an attractive, intelligent, and divorced accountant at the accounting firm that handles the store’s books.
The book’s title, “Union Made,” a triple pun, indicates what is going to happen by its end: a “union maid” is going to move well along the road toward a successful romantic union with a possible union enemy while also strengthening the union she heads, thus “making a union” in two different ways.
If Author Lotke were less skilled, the title would give it all away. But it doesn’t reveal all that much of the plot due to the numerous clever ups and downs Lotke weaves in: Nate’s shyness, Catherine’s forgetfulness, Nate’s fear of losing his job, Nate’s fear of getting arrested, Nate’s loneliness, Catherine’s desire to help her union and Catherine’s desire not to hurt the enemy agent who slowly becomes her boyfriend. All these elements are skillfully mixed together into a steaming romantic brew.
Also adding to the appeal of the plot are numerous well-crafted minor characters, including the bright son of the cleaning lady at Nate’s office, the individual workers Catherine launches against Pac-Shoppe while trying to protect them from the predictable Pac-Shoppe retaliation, and her growing realization that Nate can be turned from a union foe into a union ally as well as a romantic interest of her own.
All in all, Union Made is a must-read for fans of both unions and romance.
To order copies of “Union Made” by Eric Lotke visit Hard Ball Press.
Peter Bengaminson is the author of The Story of Motown, Mary Wells: The Tumultuous Life of Motown’s First Superstar, and other biographies of artists.