Bachelor Girl

A Novel by the Author of Orphan #8

Bachelor Girl

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From the New York Times bestselling author of Orphan #8 comes a fresh and intimate novel about the destructive power of secrets and the redemptive power of love—inspired by the true story of Jacob Ruppert, the millionaire owner of the New York Yankees, and his mysterious bequest in 1939 to an unknown actress, Helen Winthrope Weyant.

When the owner of the New York Yankees baseball team, Colonel Jacob Ruppert, takes Helen Winthrope, a young actress, under his wing, she thinks it’s because of his guilt over her father’s accidental death—and so does Albert Kramer, Ruppert’s handsome personal secretary. Helen and Albert develop a deepening bond the closer they become to Ruppert, an eccentric millionaire who demands their loyalty in return for his lavish generosity.

New York in the Jazz Age is filled with possibilities, especially for the young and single. Yet even as Helen embraces being a “bachelor girl”—a working woman living on her own terms—she finds herself falling in love with Albert, even after he confesses his darkest secret. When Ruppert dies, rumors swirl about his connection to Helen after the stunning revelation that he has left her the bulk of his fortune, which includes Yankee Stadium. But it is only when Ruppert’s own secrets are finally revealed that Helen and Albert will be forced to confront the truth about their relationship to him—and to each other.

Inspired by factual events that gripped New York City in its heyday, Bachelor Girl is a hidden history gem about family, identity, and love in all its shapes and colors.
  • Touchstone | 
  • 416 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501192968 | 
  • March 2018
List Price $24.99 (price may vary by retailer)

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Bachelor Girl includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Kim van Alkemade. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


A mysterious bequest made headlines in 1939 when Jacob Ruppert, a wealthy brewer and owner of the New York Yankees baseball team, left much of his fortune to an unknown former actress named Helen. Inspired by this true-life event, Bachelor Girl imagines Helen’s story along with that of Albert Kramer, Ruppert’s personal secretary, and their unconventional relationship. Set against the dynamic backdrop of New York City during the Jazz Age, this intimate and intriguing novel explores the destructive consequences of secrets and the redemptive power of love in all its shapes and colors.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. For years Helen harbored animosity toward Colonel Ruppert because of his part in her father’s death. Why do her feelings toward him begin to change during the afternoon she spends with him and her family at the ballpark? Ultimately, how does Helen come to view Ruppert?

2. Even as a child, Helen rebelled against the traditional gender rol see more

About the Author

Kim Van Alkemade
Photograph by Derek Feldman

Kim Van Alkemade

Kim van Alkemade is the author of the historical novels Orphan #8 and Bachelor Girl. Her creative nonfiction essays have appeared in literary journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, CutBank, and So To Speak. Born in New York City, she earned a BA in English and history from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and an MA and PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is a Professor in the English Department at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches writing.