Ladies of the Civil War

Author G.S. Carr provides the backdrop for a series she’s written about women of the Civil War. She’s also written The Cost of Love series and one book in Westward Home & Hearts series. When not crunching numbers and gushing over spreadsheets, she’s creating stories. Her tagline is Heart, hope and love to last through the ages. Many thanks for visiting today, GS.

Women have been kicking butt and taking names for centuries. They have defied cultural and societal expectations, resulting in many great feats of courage and changes to our world on both a micro and macro level. In honor of the many wonderful women of the past that have laid the groundwork for where we are today and where we will go in the future, I wanted to create a historical romance series based on a set of brave women, fighting for a set of principles they believe in. 

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This is how my newest series Ladies of the Civil War came to be. While watching a documentary about the Civil War with my husband I heard a brief mention of a woman who was in the Andersonville Confederate prisoner camp. Needless to say, that inspired me to embark on a research road trip. It was such a great experience being able to drive down to Georgia and visit the historical Andersonville site. Below is a picture I took of what the fort looked like while in use. 

During this trip not only did I leave with a new respect and deeper understanding of what many male soldiers went through. I also learned about some of their brave wives who accompanied them in the encampments. Now for those of you who are history aficionados this may not be news to you. But for this young lady who barely made it out of high school U.S. History, my mind was blown (writing historical romance has sparked my now love of learning about history). 

Andersonville Prison

Also during this trip, I found a gem of a book titled, They Fought Like Demons: Women Soldiers in the American Civil Warby DeAnne Blanton and Lauren Cook Wike. If you’ve never read this book, I highly recommend it. It helped to further expand my understanding of the various roles women assumed during the Civil War. From spies, to nurses, to soldiers, and much more, they were amazing. The book highlights several women who disguised themselves as men to fight in various battles. For example, Sarah Emma Edmonds, who went by the alias Pvt. Franklin Thompson and served with the 2ndMichigan Infantry.

During further research I found out about a woman named Cathay Williams. She enlisted in the Army under the name William Cathay on Nov. 15, 1866 (post Civil War) when she was only 22 years old.

 Cathay was assigned to the 38th U.S. Infantry and traveled throughout the West with her unit. Her bravery makes her go down in history as the first documented black woman to enlist in the Army (even though U.S. Army regulations forbade the enlistment of women at the time).

I was honored to learn about this amazing woman! I stand upon her shoulders, and the shoulders of many other women just like her, who bucked the status quo and changed the course of history. My hope is to live a life worthy of their sacrifices and create a new wrung in the ladder for the next generation. 

So needless to say, I had to give these women a story. The inspiration was too good not to use. And that is how three women, Henrietta, Ruth, and Abigail came to be. During a slightly inebriated game of cards, these friends make a promise that they will all find a way to serve the Union Army. And if navigating how to fulfill their promise wasn’t enough of a challenge, of course I had to toss in how they try to navigate the complicated landscape of love. 

Book one, Lady of Secrets, is already available on Amazon. Book two, Lady of Disguise, will be released soon. Henrietta is catapulted down a path of intrigue, coded messages, and intelligence operations. And Ruth disguises herself as a man to fight as a Union solider. 

These books were so much fun and an absolute honor to create. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. Happy Reading!  

I understand your fascination with women serving in the army, GS. I remember reading of several women who served alongside men when I was writing my WWI novels. Such courage is hard to fathom.

Lady of Secrets by G.S. Carr ~~ Henrietta Wright is a Free Colored woman who teaches reading and writing to anyone who enters her classroom. At least she was, until a drunken night with friends catapults her down a path of intrigue, coded messages, and intelligence operations. All in service of the Union Army. She can’t tell anyone what she’s doing, including the handsome Irishman she knows she shouldn’t want, but can’t seem to resist.

Since stepping onto American soil, Elijah Byrne’s only goal has been to survive another day. That is until Henrietta burst into his life and made him want more. She was never meant to be his – her fiancé can attest to that – but she makes him long for things men like him aren’t lucky enough to have. When she asks for his help, he can’t resist tumbling with her into a clandestine expedition that could cost them everything—including their lives.

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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

The Rechabite Letter

While going through some of my mother’s mementos [she’s still alive, but we were clearing out a few boxes], I found a letter dated 18th February, 1842. It was addressed to Mrs. J. M. Mallock and delivered by hand.

Apparently, there is something called the Independent Order of Rechabites, founded in England in 1835 “as part of the wider temperance movement to promote total abstinence from alcoholic beverages.” Who knew?

The Rechabite Letter

It’s a fascinating letter and clearly one that created quite a fuss amongst the family, including letters sent back to the originator – one Reverend William Bell – protesting his ‘command’.

Here’s the text:

Know all men, by this declaration, that I Willian Bell, Minister of the first Presbyterian Church at Perth, in the Bathurst District of Upper Canada, perceiving the awful and ruinous consequences which follow the use of intoxicating drinks, to the bodies and the souls of mankind, have resolved never again to use any of them myself, as a common beverage, nor to offer them to others, and to enjoin the same thing upon all my children, and their descendants to the latest generation. I therefore, after a scripture example sanctioned by divine authority, do hereby command and enjoin you, my daughter, to follow this my example, and to obey this my command, and to enjoin the same upon your children, in order that they may be honest, industrious, and temperate; – that they may avoid temptation, and live in the fear of God; – that he may bless them in time, and take them to Heaven when they die.

And, in order that happiness, that great end I have here in view, may be the more effectually secured to my posterity, I hereby forbid them to make intermarriages, in all time coming, with any who refuse to join with them in following this my example.

Resolved this 5th day of February 1842, under much painful anxiety for the fate of those who refuse to follow my example and obey my command.

A copy of this to be sent to each of my surviving children, reminding them of the duty of honouring their father and their mother (for she also joins with me in this act) that their days may be long upon the land which the Lord their God giveth them. This duty, it has long been pressed upon my mind, I ought to discharge before I die, as a witness and a guard against the sin of intemperance, to you and to all others to who this shall come; and I now pray that God may bless it to all whose benefit it is intended. Let all remember that no drunkard shall inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.

That you may be saved from all your enemies, and be made a monument of divine mercy, is the fervent prayer of your affectionate, but much afflicted father.

I’m not sure how the Mallocks are related to me, but I am certain that these people are relatives of some sort!

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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.

The Story of a Novel

Dear Friends .. things may look a little different for a while. Please bear with me as I adapt to the new WordPress block editor and switch to a new theme for A Writer of History.

With two novels in the capable hands of editors, I’m turning my mind to the challenge of what to write next. Two ideas have been swirling around: one is the continuation of the life of Claire, the daughter of World War One lovers Helene Noisette and Edward Jamieson. Raised by Francois Delancey as his own child, Claire never knew of her biological father until after her mother’s death. Lies Told in Silence ends when Claire calls Edward and he picks up the phone.

I’ve had many readers ask me to tell the story of what happened to Claire. Until recently, my response has always been: “When I know the story, I’ll be able to write it.”

The second idea is to write a sequel to Paris in Ruins, the novel I plan to publish in a few months time. That story would follow the lives of Camille Noisette – Helene’s aunt – and Mariele du Crecy who marries Camille’s brother. The plot would unfold during the Belle Epoque and feature some of the impressionist painters. Two years ago, I even wrote a few chapters.

I’m leaning toward the first idea. When I originally thought about writing a sequel to Claire’s story, I kept trying to imagine what would happen after Claire called Edward. It was only when I turned my imagination to what Claire’s life might have been like as a young woman living in Paris at the beginning of World War Two, that an idea sparked.

Recently, I purchased four books focused on stories related to D-Day to further spark the creative process.

Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben Macintyre ~~ Macintyre returns with the untold story of the grand final deception of the war and of the extraordinary spies who achieved it.

D-Day Girls by Sarah Rose ~~ The dramatic, untold true story of the extraordinary women recruited by Britain’s elite spy agency to sabotage the Nazis and pave the way for Allied victory in World War II.

The Paris Game: Charles de Gaulle, the Liberation of Paris, and the Gamble that Won France by Ray Argyle ~~ Amid the ravages of a world war, three men — a general, a president, and a prime minister — are locked in a rivalry that threatens their partnership and puts the world’s most celebrated city at risk of destruction before it can be liberated. This is the setting of The Paris Game, a dramatic recounting of how an obscure French general under sentence of death by his government launches on the most enormous gamble of his life: to fight on alone after his country’s capitulation to Nazi Germany.

The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan ~~ A compelling tale of courage and heroism, glow and tragedy, The Longest Day painstakingly recreates the fateful hours that preceded and followed the massive invasion of Normandy to retell the story of an epic battle that would turn the tide against world fascism and free Europe from the grip of Nazi Germany.

I dipped into each one of these books just a few mornings ago before settling in to read Double Cross.

I’m cautious about yet another novel set during WWII, however, a good story is a good story regardless of the time period. With luck, I can turn the germ of an idea into a story arc. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.