** Solo Medalist: New Apple Literary Awards for Historical Fiction 2018
** Finalist, Historical Fiction: Next Generation Indie Book Awards 2019
Mt. Clemens, Michigan, 1887. Seventeen and headstrong, with marriage on her mind, Maggie is sure she has found her one true love. But when she collides head-on with betrayal, overwhelming loss and ill-treatment, her life unravels.
In a time when women had few rights, Maggie rises above adversity through rare determination and grit, becoming an independent woman ahead of her time. Yet before she can truly find peace, one heartbreaking, life-altering decision remains.
Inspired by her great-grandmother’s life, the author weaves a timeless story of survival and courage set against the backdrop of Mt. Clemens, Michigan and the prairies of eastern Montana at the turn of the twentieth century.
Targeted Age Group:: 15 and older
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
The stories of my great-grandmother’s life inspired me to write my second book. She was a spunky and determined woman thrust into marriages of abuse, not once, but three times. Writing her story took root in my psyche nearly twenty years ago when I came across affidavits of her divorce, depositions and the divorce trial transcript. This, combined with family lore and my imagination became "Maggie, A Journey of Love, Loss and Survival."
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
My characters are based on real people, but since I wasn't privy to the actual conversations, my book is considered historical fiction. Their personalities are a product of written documents (letters, newspaper stories, legal depositions and documents) as well as oral stories told to me by relatives and lastly, my imagination.
Maggie: A Journey of Love, Loss and Survival
Lavina, Montana, October, 1941. I wake with a start, my nightgown damp with sweat. Dark memories from another life clamor for attention. For nearly fifty years the nightmare has played out, in an endless reverberation across my restless mind.
Sam dashes up the lane in his sulky, askew in the seat. He snaps the whip, altogether missing the horse’s flank. I move to the side of our bedroom window, concealed by the lace curtain.
Fear inches up my spine and creeps down my arms like hundreds of tiny pinpricks. Foreboding clenches at my insides.
Taking a deep breath, I steel myself for his arrival. Spying the letter opener on my dressing table, I place it in the waistband of my skirt, but then reconsider. Slight of stature, I am no match for his brawn. If he manages to grab the instrument from me, there is no telling what might happen.
Nausea sweeps over me.
I risk another peek and shudder, my heart pounding. There’s no time to bar the front door.
How dare he come home in such a condition in the middle of the day!
Shaking like a leaf in a windstorm, I step to the top of the stairs. He flings open the door, staggering into our entryway. I swallow the lump in my throat and stand my ground.
"Maggie! What the hell are you doing up there?" Disheveled, his fair hair falling rakishly across his forehead, he tosses the sharp words into the air. His piercing blue eyes lock with mine and the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.
With weak knees, taking one cautious step at a time, I begin a halting descent. My pulse racing, I stop halfway, feeling stronger and somehow larger standing above, peering down on him.
Gaping at me, he hollers, "Damn it woman, get yourself down here this instant and give me a proper welcome home!" He lurches toward the stairway, tripping on the umbrella stand, sending its contents clattering across the oak floor. He regains his balance enough to grip the banister, steadying himself and leering at me with eyes ablaze.
I stare back, my thoughts tangled, my heart twisted with emotion. Frozen, I am afraid to move forward, yet unable to turn away.
Then, mindful of our children napping nearby, I force myself down the steps. I hold my breath, bracing myself for what I know lies ahead. Fast and venomous as a striking rattlesnake, he grabs and overpowers me. With brute strength, he grips my backside and crushes me fully against his angry, unyielding body.
I roll over, hoping to lessen the ache in my shoulder, a persistent reminder of the time he shoved me down the steps, and I wonder why. Why had I succumbed to his malignant guile? I will grant in the early days, he did have a way about him which was exceedingly hard to resist, and we had loved each other with passion.
I breathe in the fresh night air, tinged with a scent of burnt leaves. Through the open window, I see no hint of dawn.
Well-acquainted with the wee hours of the night, I know sleep will elude me. I push back the covers and struggle to rise, placing both feet on the cold, wooden floor. My spine is now stiff with age and it resists as I bend down to pull on my cotton slippers. Grasping the bedpost to steady myself, I stand and ease first one arm, then the other, into my chenille housecoat, careful not to aggravate my shoulder.
In the front room, I pick up my worn quilt, cocooning it around me to still my shiver. Settling into my old rocker, the nightmare begins to soften, as the chair's lulling movement conjures soothing images of rocking my children.
But the groan and creak of the floorboards beneath me unleash a worn-out misery which wraps its tentacles around my heart, driving my attention back to Sam. After all these years, how can I still feel so conflicted?
In the end, it comes down to choices. Yet, how can I regret the past? Yes, they brought my greatest sorrows, but they also brought my greatest joys.
I clutch my chest and my heart stings. I tremble and take a few deliberate, calming breaths. The memories of Sam’s cruelty and my lost children flood into my mind, creating a stream of unstoppable tears. The nightmare has had its way with me once more.
Macomb County, Michigan, June, 1887. "Maggie," Mother called up the curved oak staircase, "Mr. Sam Jobsa has come calling!"
My eyes brightened as I eyed my older sister Lucy and two of
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