The First Emma – Camille Di Maio
Two stories in one.
The first: Emma Koehler, the Emma of Hotel Emma in San Antonio, was the wife of a German born brewer. He had two mistresses, both named Emma. When one of the mistresses murdered him, Emma, the wife, took over the brewery just as prohibition began. She was able to keep all her employees working and Pearl was one of the brewing companies not to go out of business. She also steered the company through the depression.
The stuff of fiction, right? Nope. It’s all true. And a fascinating story it is.
The second: Emma hires a young girl, Mabel Hartley, to write her story. Mabel, a fictional addition, flees Baltimore for San Antonio when she is offered the job. Unfortunately her story is weakened by a rather contrived love interest .
Having said that, I still recommend this book for Emma’s sake. She was an amazing woman.
Camille Di Maio’s fifth novel THE FIRST EMMA is the true story of Emma Koehler, whose tycoon husband Otto was killed in a crime-of-the-century murder by one of his two mistresses—both also named Emma—and her unlikely rise as CEO of a brewing empire during Prohibition. When a chance to tell her story to a young teetotaler arises, a tale unfolds of love, war, beer, and the power of women.