Highlighting Historical Romance with Lizzi Tremayne and the Pony Express
Most people have heard of the Pony Express, but did you know it only ran for eighteen months? (and a large percentage of that time it wasn’t running because a large numbers of the stations through Utah were burnt down…) Although it only ran for this short time, its presence was instrumental in keeping California in the Union around the time of the American Civil War. The income generated by the gold mines in the Sierra Foothills of the ‘Golden State’s’ played a significant part in financing the North’s Civil War campaign.
In Book Two of The Long Trails series, The Hills of Gold Unchanging, Aleksandra and Xavier continue their saga, heading West for the gold and silver mining country of what have become the states of Nevada and California.
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Xavier and Aleksandra speak of secession in Book One of the series, A Long Trail Rolling.
Here’s an Excerpt!
Xavier brushed his hair back with one hand. ‘The slave states want to secede, and they want California, not only for its prestige, wealth and immense acreage—’
‘With the sort of soil,’ Aleksandra interrupted, ‘and climate that would suit the institution—’
‘Yes, but even more so, they see the state as the perfect strategic war base against the North.
‘Pardon? War base?’
‘There are rumors of a conspiracy,’ Xavier said, ‘by Southern sympathizers to draw California out of the Union, after which it would join the Southern states in their plans to secede from the Federal Government. The South already has Texas. After annexing the rest of the Southwest and northern Mexico, with the westernmost state in their bonnet…’ he hesitated.
‘They could block the Federal Government on the Western half of the continent,’ she finished, her jaw dropping as she stared at him.
‘Yep, which would be the Union’s most vulnerable point of attack.’
‘Oh my God.’ Aleksandra whispered, looked down at Dzień’s mane. ‘But how could that happen?’
‘About a third of the population of California is of Southern descent and favors the state joining their Southern brothers.’
‘But they don’t make up the majority,’ she said, rubbing her eyes.
‘No, they don’t, thanks to the influx of Northerners and foreign immigrants who came in ’49 for the gold rush. They don’t have to be a majority to be powerful. Ever heard of the Knights of the Golden Circle?’
‘Noooo…’ Chewing on a fingernail, she peered up at him.
‘They’re a secret society, pro-slavery, which rather forcefully “assists” those who are not vehemently pro-Union to assist with the Southern cause. There are probably at least sixteen thousand Knights in California. Rumor also has it that guns, ammunition and heavy ordinance are arriving in California and being distributed to them. Many, many guns. Thousands.’ Xavier reached across the space between their horses and touched her cheek. ‘We’re helping.’
‘How can we possibly make a difference?’ Her voice was barely audible.
‘By the Pony providing fast communication between California and the rest of the Union back east over the shorter Central Route, traveling only through Northern territories and states. The old Butterfield Route runs through Southern states and would give them control over the mail, in the event of secession and war. They could isolate the state for months, allowing them time to complete the secession and annexation of California, whether by conspiracy or force.’
‘Well, I guess we’re doing something, then,’ She gave him a hint of a smile, ‘Helping preserve the Union by maintaining the communication they need. The South loses the control they had, plus the Pony is faster.’
‘That’s my girl. Funny thing is,’ Xavier’s brow creased, ‘for all the good it is doing the Federal Government, they won’t help foot the bill for it.’
In Book Two, the topic of secession advances in importance to become the major plot. Talk of secession was rife, as over three quarters of the new state of California’s non-native population was of Southern descent. The “Knights of the Golden Circle” worked hard to advance the South’s plans for taking the wealthy, western-most state, stopping at nothing to achieve their goal.
Oh, the Romance?
But of course… it has it in spades. I use the historical framework to hang the stories upon, enhancing the richness of the tapestries. I hope you love them!
Lizzi Tremayne’s Books: Unpretentious, eminently readable Contemporary and Historical Fiction… by a horse vet!
About the Author
Awarded author Lizzi grew up riding wild in the Santa Cruz Mountain redwoods, became an equine veterinarian, and practiced in the California Gold Country before emigrating to New Zealand. She writes Historical Fiction and Contemporary Fiction/Non-Fiction and collaborates on boxed sets with the Bluestocking Belles and the Authors of Main Street. Besides the fact she loves reading historical fiction, Lizzi’s writes romantic stories for two reasons. First, to satisfy the many dyed-in-the-wool fans of historical romantic fiction, and second—probably the most important—to offer the past in a palatable fashion to those who might never pick up a history book.
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