To the Stars Through Difficulties

Publication Date:

April 2017



Original language and publisher

English | She Writes Press

Territories Handled

France, Netherlands, Scandinavia

Territories Sold

Germany (Fischer Verlag)


Commercial Fiction, Debut Novel

Foreign Covers

Fischer Verlag

To the Stars Through Difficulties


A deeply charming, wildly inspiring love letter to libraries, to art, to Kansas, to community. Tilghman has crafted a glorious quilt of voices here, a beautiful chorus of resilience. Anyone who loves books will find sustenance in these pages. —Gayle Brandeis, author of the Bellwether Prize winner The Book of Dead Birds

A gem; an endearing story about redemption and transformation. Tilghman succeeds in capturing the condition of an entire community-as well as the heart of this reader. —Heidi Durrow, author of the New York Times bestseller The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

This warmhearted first novel celebrates the value of community (and libraries!); the inspirational story of women past and present is a must-buy. —Library Review Journal

Wonderful….When I was a child, I loved The Little House On The Prairie books, and this felt like a modern, grown-up version of the those books. —Bookchickdi

Women’s fiction at its best … a story about courage, problem-solving skills, generosity, and resilience … Tilghman is a gifted storyteller with an unusual skill for crafting characters that take a prominent place in the hearts of readers. —Readers’ Favorite

Anybody can set a novel amid New York’s arts and literary ferment. But it takes a special eye to create engrossing fiction around the tension of cultural currents in a presumed backwater…Seen through the eyes of three women, it intertwines their personal struggles with the work of a community to support its art center, a former Carnegie library building. Readers will find themselves rooting for this star-bound cast of characters. —Carol B. Chittenden, Eight Cousins Books

An uplifting story about the strength of collectivity, especially the collective power of women. —Centered on Books

I love novels about the strength of women, and one of the things I love most about this novel is how it exemplifies that strength can mean different things to different people, and can be found in many ways. Each of these characters faces her own unique challenges, and I was invested in each woman’s journey throughout. . . . Not only did I learn about the history of the Carnegie libraries, but as a lifelong lover of all things books, it had me thinking about the special libraries in my life and what they’ve meant to me. —Book Perfume

I had a lot of love for this book and its multi-layered message about how women have made, can make, and will make history happen even in the most dire of situations. About how the arts are not a lost cause and neither are people. That creativity brings light and hope, no matter where it is found or how little there is to work with. And how you can find yourself by looking at the people around you. Sometimes, they help you see the things you can’t see in yourself. —Sweatpants & Coffee

Romalyn Tilghman’s debut novel should come with a warning label for readers: Put on comfy pants, folks; you may be here awhile. —Kansas University Alumni Magazine

One is running out of time;

one is running away;

and one has run out of hope.

Angelina, a drifting Ph.D. candidate returns to her father’s hometown of New Hope, Kansas to complete her dissertation on Carnegie libraries just as Traci and Gayle arrive in town-Traci as an artist-in-residence at the New Hope Arts Center and Gayle as a refugee from the neighboring town of Prairie Hill which has been utterly destroyed by a tornado. The discovery of an old journal inspires the three women to overcome all sorts of turmoil and tragedy, to work together to create a library and arts center as the first act of rebuilding Prairie Hill, and as they do, Traci reveals her enormous heart, Angelina discovers that problem-solving is more valuable than her PhD, and Gayle demonstrates that courage is not about waiting out a storm but building a future.

Full of rich and colorful history―from pioneer homesteaders to orphan trains―To the Stars through Difficulties*is a contemporary story of women changing their world and finding their own voices, and power, in the process.

Marketing Information

  • A Kansas Notable Book of the Year
  • Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Finalist
  • Independent Publisher Award (Ippy) Gold Medal — Contemporary Fiction, Readers’ Favorite
  • Next Generation Indie Award Finalist
  • Pulpwood Queen Selection

Foreign Covers

Fischer Verlag