Author: Gay Daly Category:

Available to order wherever books are sold. 

Named to Kirkus Reviews’ List of the 100 Best Indie Books of 2020

“An enjoyable work that explores one woman’s path to adulthood” Kirkus Reviews  (Starred * Review)

“Rare enough is the chance to breathe, taste, smell and feel the experience of life during World War I. Rarer still a female life, first at the edge and then at the very heart of that war. Rarest of all is Miss Havilland’s intimate exploration of the casualty toll of war upon those who walk away from it. Grab that chance.”
—Gary Smith, author of Beyond the Game: Collected Sports Writing of Gary Smith, four-time winner of the National Magazine Award.

Spanning both world wars and crisscrossing the U.S. and the Atlantic, Miss Havilland, by Gay Daly, is the story of a brilliant mathematician who must decide her purpose in life—and live with her difficult choices. 

Inspired by the true story of the author’s cousin, the story begins in California at the turn of the twentieth century, when a female student of mathematics was a rare curiosity. With the U.S. entering World War I, the fictional Evelyn Havilland is drafted by the government to go to Washington D.C. to become one of the first women involved in cryptography and military spycraft.

Compelled to wartime France to follow the man she loves, Miss Havilland ends up working in dangerous conditions near the front lines. Daly conveys the poignancy of Miss Havilland’s passion in the midst of so much violence, and her ability to find charm in life despite suffering.

In time, the events of the war force Miss Havilland to choose between her closest childhood companion and the man who wants to marry her. While one man faces a lifetime of recovery from the ravages of war, the other bides his time waiting for her decision.

“Miss Havilland is haunted by secrets: family secrets, a secret love affair, secret work for the government during the Great War. Gay Daly teases out the brilliant story hidden in her family’s history and spins it into this singular work of fiction.” —Marilyn Johnson, author of Lives in Ruins

“Author Gay Daly has written a compelling piece of historical fiction; her careful and extensive research shines through. . . Rich characters with complex lives, characters that will stay with readers for a long time, populate this engaging and memorable story and make for a terrific read. The period around World War I is a fascinating time and not written about with great frequency, so this is a welcome addition for fans of historical fiction.” 4.5 Stars —Manhattan Book Review

Gay Daly was among the first class of women undergraduates at Yale, graduating summa cum laude in 1971, and staying for graduate school. After teaching at a number of universities, Daly left academics to pursue a career as a writer. While working as a fact-checker and reporter at People, she wrote the book Preraphaelites in Love, a history of seven women who modeled for Victorian painters and then married them. Later, while raising her daughters with her husband, the editor Jay Lovinger, Daly worked as a senior editor at Discover. Miss Havilland is her first novel.