Spotlight on The Fourteenth of September by Rita Dragonette


Today, LitNuts is shining a spotlight on The Fourteenth of September by Rita Dragonette, an enthralling historical novel set during the peak of the Vietnam War and told through the rare perspective of a young woman who traces her path to self-discovery and a “Coming of Conscience.”

"A moving tribute to lives altered by chance." ~Foreword Clarion Reviews

The Fourteenth of September: A Novel

Genres: Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction
4.2 stars, 316 ratings on Goodreads
4.3 stars, 212 ratings on Amazon
4.7 stars, 21 ratings on BookBub
Paperback: From $11.79
Ebook: $4.99  

"A strong-hearted and authentic novel about a naive young girl and her struggle to reconcile the dissonance between the world she sees and the world she was raised to believe in." ~Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of The Deep End of the Ocean

On September 14, 1969, Private First Class Judy Talton celebrates her nineteenth birthday by secretly joining the campus anti-Vietnam War movement. In doing so, she jeopardizes both the army scholarship that will secure her future and her relationship with her military family. But Judy’s doubts have escalated with the travesties of the war. Who is she if she stays in the army? What is she if she leaves?

When the first date pulled in the Draft Lottery turns up as her birthday, she realizes that if she were a man, she’d have been Number One―off to Vietnam with an under-fire life expectancy of six seconds. The stakes become clear, propelling her toward a life-altering choice as fateful as that of any draftee.

Judy’s story speaks to the poignant clash of young adulthood, early feminism, and war, offering an ageless inquiry into the domestic politics of protest when the world stops making sense.

Praise for The Fourteenth of September
"The ebb and flow between a nineteen-year-old’s mistakes, vulnerability, and surprising moments of insight ring achingly true." ~Foreword Clarion Reviews

"An often fresh take on the collegiate anti-war movement in small-town America." ~Kirkus Reviews

"Beautifully written with compassionate and thoughtful narrative and engaging characters who play out all the angst of the era set on a Midwestern college campus when America was at its most vulnerable. Dragonette show us what we can be, both in our best and our worst." ~Windy City Reviews

"A new and unique perspective of the politically divisive Vietnam War." ~Midwest Book Review

"A moving book on this time in history from a rarely heard point of view." ~Historical Novel Society

"A writer of great talent and integrity who infuses this debut work with an energy and vision that lifts it far beyond the ordinary coming-of-age story. This is an important book, not to be missed." ~Gary D. Wilson, author of Getting Right and Sing, Ronnie Blue

"A terrific book for anyone who enjoys American history, women’s lit...or simply a great story." ~Josh Lohrius, author of The Breaking of Goody Boothe

"A novel for those of us who look back and marvel at the profound decisions we were called upon to make when we were so young, [and] for a whole new generation facing the crucial questions of a turbulent, changing world that will define them." ~Barbara Shoup, author of Looking for Jack Kerouac and An American Tune

About the Author
Rita Dragonette is a writer who, after a career telling the stories of others as an award-winning public relations executive, has returned to her original creative path. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Fourteenth of September, is based upon her personal experiences on campus during the Vietnam War. She lives and writes in Chicago, where she also hosts literary salons to showcase authors and their new books to avid readers. Learn more at, sign up for her newsletter, and follow her online:

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