I’ll never forget the time I had the chance to see the cabin where Lincoln was born. I was nine years old.
It had a dirt floor. Cool, I thought, his mom can’t yell at him for tracking dirt into the house.
It wasn’t the “real” cabin,of course, but a symbolic reconstruction in Central Kentucky to honor our sixteenth President.
I grew up in different parts of the US…but my favorite time was in Lexington, Kentucky.
We lived in what I called the “Civil War” house. It was a big ole home out in the boonies with a barn and plenty of Kentucky bluegrass. According to the locals, the antebellum house was built before the Civil War.
Over the years, the house had different owners, but it never lost its splendor in my eyes. Sure, it was run-down and the plumbing more often than not didn’t work. God knows, it was cold in the winter, but my dad–a historical buff–rented it for as long as my poor mom could take it. It wasn’t easy for her with no dishwasher or washer and an old, wood burning stove with a husband and two kids to take care of. No neighbors for what seemed like miles.
I loved it.
I’d race around the house with fireplaces taller than I was for hours, pretending I was hosting tea with fancy ladies or meeting that special gentleman in what I called my “secret” room. Wearing my mother’s long dresses, I dreamed of being a true Southern belle (years later I got my own authentic hoop skirt from the costume department when I was doing theater).
So it’s no wonder I followed my heart and wrote my own Civil War novel — “The Bride Wore Gray.” It’s a time travel romance where my modern day heroine, Liberty Jordan, meets up with her ancestor–who looks exactly like her! The only problem is, Pauletta Sue, is a Southern spy…
I’m working on formatting my story, making a cover, etc. so I can self-pub it. Which brings up a question: with the popularity of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” will the Civil War make a come-back in romance novels?
What do you think?
Here’s a sample from the Prologue from “The Bride Wore Gray:”
On a lonely road in the Tennessee woods
Even before she saw the swath of blue moving through the trees, Pauletta Sue could smell them.
The raw male odor of Federal soldiers made her nauseous, but she pushed her horse harder.
They won’t catch me.
â€œFaster, Savannah Lady, faster!â€
Crack! came the sound of her whip hitting the mare’s flanks. Her scarlet-gloved hand trembled as she repeated her command, louder now. The animal sensed her urgency, snorted, then raced ahead down the dark, country road, its hooves making dull, thudding sounds on the hard dirt as horse and rider went deeper into the woods.
The young woman riding sidesaddle winced. What had come over her? She had never struck the beautiful bay mare before, preferring to ride her with only the tight bit and an easy hand, but she had to get through the Yankee pickets. Nothing must stop her from carrying out her mission.
Her gray silk skirts, frayed at the hem, whipped at her ankles. Her long, hooded cloak made of fine black wool, threadbare in places, billowed behind her like heavy smoke, shielding her face from the demons in blue hidden all around her. Ready to strike her down if she dared to stop.
She couldn’t. Wouldn’t.
The danger of her mission chilled her. She dared not think about what lay ahead of her. She feared dying before she found the revenge she sought, for only then could she release the madness and torment of her broken heart.
The man she loved was dead.
Shot as a Confederate spy.
All around her, the sounds of the forestâ€”the squeal of a trapped pig, the hard rumble of wagon wheels somewhere in the distance, a faraway cannon firing, the loud orders of Federal officers up ahead of herâ€”were muffled by the loud beating of her heart in her ears.
I will not allow you to die in vain, my love. I promise.
Thanks, Linda! Every time I pull out my hoop skirt and look at it, I'm taken back to that time…
Thanks for the congrats…here's hoping you're right about CW books making a comeback…
Heading over right now to check out Diana Rubino's Lincoln book…
on February 12, 2013
Jina, what a wonderful experience you had living up in that antebellum home. I can see how it sparked your imagination. I'd have been in heaven, too!
Congratulations on finishing your book, can't wait to read it. I hope Civil War books make a come back. It's such a fascinating period.
Speaking of which, Diana Rubino is guesting at my blog today to talk about her Civil War book, A Necessary End, about Lincoln's assassination. http://www.lyndilamont.com/blog
on February 11, 2013
Thank you, Gale, for your wonderful comment!
I so agree re: the human emotion. Imagine finding out your ancestor was a spy for the South and wants you to take her place?
Funny you should mention an army hospital — my hero is a Union Army physician; my modern day heroine joins with him to fight against disease, which killed more soldiers than bullets.
Thanks again for stopping by. My novel is finished…it's a matter of getting it ready for publication.
on February 11, 2013
What is it about the civil war that attracts us to read it? I believe it's the human emotion and how unbelievably difficult it must have been to be at war with your cousin, your brother, your best friends. Robert Hicks writes about human emotion in "Widow of the South" when a woman's plantation turns into an army hospital. I hope your book gets published and I get a chance to read it.