Olivia Newport Haymarket Riot 1886One of Charlotte’s dilemmas in The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow is what to do about Archie Shepard. Is he really somebody she can trust with her deepest secrets?

Mr. Penard, the stuffy butler in the Banning household, also faces a dilemma about what to do with Archie. How can he be sure Archie is not an anarchist stirring up unrest among the working class of 1890s Chicago?

I’m not going to give any spoilers.

Suffice it to say that Mr. Penard was far from alone in his feelings about the anarchists and the labor movement. In Chicago, the anarchist issue came to a head in the Haymarket Square Riot of 1886—long before Charlotte or Mr. Penard met Archie Shepard. Big Chicago industry names, like Field and McCormick, were involved. In fact, this was a defining movement for the nineteenth century labor movement for the whole country.

Seven years later, at the time of The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow, the question of justice and the question of right of the 1886 event still hangs over Chicago. And Archie finds himself caught in the middle of it all.

For a crash course in these events, and a tumultuous time in Chicago history, check out these clips of a PBS program on the Haymarket riot. They’re short. Part 1  Part 2  Part 3

Then read the story and make up your own mind about Archie!