I love writing historical novels set in the nineteenth century. I love the romance of the era, the simpler life, the faith and values, the closeness of friends and family, and even the clothes. The stories about women who shaped the West are my favorite.
However, living in Houston and enduring three digit summer temperatures has convinced me that I would not have worn all those layers or been laced up like a stuffed turkey.
Think about the life expectancy due to all the hard work? Have you ever studied the old pictures? The majority of those women looked old and hard. Are we ready to looked like dried crab apples? I don’t think I could exist without concealer and lipstick. What about the large families that began when a couple married and ended when a woman’s body had worn out. Those babies weren’t left on the front porch, and think about the risk of losing one of them before they grew beyond the toddler stage? Most medicines were herbal, which wasn’t such a bad idea. But imagine having no antibiotics? Hopefully we’ve learned something there. Danger surrounded those courageous families with hardships none of us are prepared to endure.
Yet still we are enamored, enthralled, and enthusiastic about nineteenth century women. What cultivates that lovin’ feeling?
My belief is that the very situation propelling us forward into the twenty-first century also attracts us to a time in history when beauty came from the heart and love meant more than how he or she looked at a church social. We envy their hardiness. We try hard to emulate it today.
The women moved from season to season, year to year, performing whatever tasks it took to keep their families alive. And their men loved them for it. The suffering and troubles developed character, and they persevered with a stubborn shake of their fist against time and nature. Oh, we can shake our fists against adversity . . . The power’s out so we must take a cold shower, air dry our hair, and put on makeup by sunlight. Our child is ill so we can’t have lunch with our girlfriends at our favorite tearoom. Or the budget says we can’t buy one more pair of shoes, which would make pair number forty-two. Laughable. But true.
Deep down inside, for just a few minutes, we want to be those women with work-worn hands. And we long for the opportunity to read about them. By immersing ourselves in a historical novel, we can have a foot with manicured toes in one world and another callused foot in ill-fitting shoes in another. We can add the layers of clothes of our favorite heroine and then read our books in air conditioning. But more important, we can learn how these women struggled to survive and went on to teach others how to have the same strength.
That’s the lovin’ feeling of a beautifully written historical novel. We can be in love with everything in a character’s life, read until the wee hours of the morning, and then snap out the light knowing our coffee will brew automatically at 6:00 in the morning.
Ah, let me live my dreams vicariously through my favorite author in a dramatic and credible novel.
Border Patrol Agent Danika Morales has sworn to protect the southern borders of our nation, but that oath has cost her. Two years ago, her husband, Toby, was killed trying to help the very immigrants Danika was responsible for sending back to Mexico. His murder was never solved. But now, a recent string of attacks and arrests leads her to believe that someone in McAllen is profiting from sneaking undocumented immigrants into the country . . . and it may somehow be tied to Toby’s death.
Releases: April 1st