Transported in Thoreau’s time and place

Glen Ebisch has written stories that combine suspense, romance, and humor with a hopefully thought-provoking mystery.  Most recently he has started writing historical fiction with Dearest David being released in February 2018.


Many of us like to read fiction because it takes us to physical locations where we’ve never been. We have a chance to travel without ever leaving the comfort of our homes. The uniqueness of historical fiction is that it also takes us to a time in the past that we’ve never experienced.  When writing Dearest David, one of my goals was to take the reader back to the year 1841 in Concord, Massachusetts, a time and place where Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, and Nathaniel Hawthorne all lived in close proximity to each other.

When I visited the Emerson house in Concord, Massachusetts and sat in Emerson’s study I really felt as if I had gone back in time and entered into the fictional world of my book. This is a feeling I had never experienced before when writing pure fiction, and it made the story particularly intense for me. To actually sit in the room where much of the story takes place blurred the line between reality and imagination.  Another thing I felt sitting there is that, although we often think of the people in the Transcendentalist circle as being emotionally cool, they were extremely passionate not only about ideas but in many cases in their feelings for each other.

A fairly high level of historical accuracy is necessary in order to convince the reader that he or she is actually living in that time. In addition, the author must try to recapture the concerns, the issues, and the view of life that was prevalent for people living then. It is challenging not to transpose our contemporary viewpoint into the past as if people have always seen things the way we do. At the same time, we must recognize that many contemporary issues had their roots in the past. Dearest David discusses the role of feminism, which was an important topic of the time, especially in the context of the right to vote. Also considered in the novel are the opportunities available for people born into the less privileged classes in society, and what a relatively abstract philosophy such as Transcendentalism might mean for them. And, of course, since Dearest David is essentially a love story, we must also think about the role of romance in that period.

So good historical fiction will take us into the past by showing us how life was different then, while at the same time not neglecting those common human concerns that transcend history.  In this way we gain a new perspective on our own times and on ourselves.

Many thanks, Glen for sharing your perspective on being transported in time and place.

Dearest David by Glen Ebisch – When seventeen-year-old Abigail Taylor turns down the proposal of her suitor, Tom Dawkins, her family feels that she must go out and make her own way in the world. So a position as a servant is secured for her in the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Dearest David is the story of the few months in the year 1841 during which Abigail experiences life in the Emerson household at the peak of both its intellectual and emotional intensity. She falls in love with the free spirited but emotionally cool Henry David Thoreau. She discovers the power of the prophetic and frightening Lidian Emerson. She meets the charismatic and radical Margaret Fuller. And she learns to respect but also to recognize the limitations of Emerson himself.

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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