Highlighting Historical Romance: Caroline Clemmons
Caroline brings us the aftermath of the American Civil War and its impact on love and marriage:
Readers of historical romance are familiar with the devastation caused by the American Civil War, especially in several eastern states. In fact, more men died in this war than in World War II. Virginia was one of the most decimated areas. After the war, young male survivors went west unless they had someone to whom they could return home. For many, there was no home remaining.
The lack of marriage-aged men in the eastern states and the lack of marriage-aged women in the west accelerated the business of mail-order brides. The idea of the fish-out-of-water mail-order bride and her groom are popular subjects for romance books set in the last half of the nineteenth century. Chris Enss has written books about the experiences of real mail-order brides, but truth is not as romantic as fiction.
I decided to twist that mail-order idea a bit. In the Bride Brigade series, wealthy young widow Lydia Jane Harrison goes to Richmond, Virginia, to choose suitable young women to take with her to her home of Tarnation, Texas. She brings seven young women to a town where more than twice that many men want a wife. The young ladies are to be guests in her home as she hosts receptions and balls in their honor so they can meet the eligible men.
Each book of this series required different research, but the locale remained the same. The site of Tarnation is near the foot of the Palo Pinto Mountains in North Central Texas. These look like hills to those from other parts of the country, but geologically are mountains. I grew up on the flat plains of the Llano Estacado, so the Palo Pintos are low mountains to me. ☺
The town’s location is a place I saw while on a Palo Pinto Historical Association tour. My husband and I have gone on these tours whenever we learned of them in time to participate. On this particular excursion, I discovered the perfect site for Tarnation, a place named Johnson’s League Ranch. I confess this beautiful ranch inspired my imagination. I combined that site and information with that of earlier tours of the Belding-Gibson Ranch.
Rachel is the fifth story in this series. Prior to Rachel, four of these women have found true love: Josephine, Angeline, Cassandra, and Ophelia. In her story, Rachel was framed for a crime she didn’t commit and sentenced to three years in prison. According to my research, Virginia’s prisons were not as heinous as those of my home state of Texas. The first Virginia prison opened in 1800. I have been unable to find when the first Virginia female was incarcerated. I did learn that women who were sentenced were sometimes allowed to keep their children with them. Imagine growing up in a prison cell. Brings up all kinds of questions, doesn’t it?
No matter where you lived, having your freedom and reputation stolen would be horrific—but especially so if you were innocent.
Rachel Ross’ secret haunts her. She joins other women leaving Virginia for Texas, object matrimony. Vowing never to trust again, she is rebuilding her life. She likes the dusty little town of Tarnation and is attracted to Zane Evans. She accepts a job as his bookkeeper. Her past has made her cautious and she vows never to let down her guard. The attraction is there, and, in spite of her wariness, she allows him to court her.
Zane Evans is a former Pinkerton agent who wants to forget all he saw in that profession and in the war and build a good life in Tarnation, Texas. He has carefully planned his future. He’d never believed in love at first sight until he met Rachel. Now he’s determined to discover and remove the reason her beautiful brown eyes look haunted.
One event reveals her past in a spectacular way. Will Zane forgive her silence?
The RACHEL buy link is: https://amzn.com/B01LZP40HG
Caroline Clemmons is an Amazon bestselling and award winning author of historical and contemporary western romances. A frequent speaker at conferences and seminars, she has taught workshops on characterization, point of view, and layering a novel.
Caroline and her husband live in the heart of Texas cowboy country with their menagerie of rescued pets. When she’s not indulging her passion for writing, Caroline enjoys family, reading, travel, antiquing, genealogy, and getting together with friends. Find her on her blog, website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google+, WattPad, Shelfari, and Pinterest.
Click on her Amazon Author Page for a complete list of her books.
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