Highlighting Historical Romance with Jean Joachim on traveling and writing in colonial New York
I spend my summers in Sullivan County, New York – in the Catskill Mountains. One summer, I read a newspaper article about the old boarding houses that sprang up in Long Eddy during the logging heydays of the county – back in the late 1700’s.
Curiosity drove me and a friend to visit Long Eddy. After riding around, looking for the places that appeared in the paper, we happened upon an ancient “saloon”, or restaurant, that had marvelous fried shrimp! In the middle of the long, narrow building was a staircase. I imagined back in the past people stopped there for a fine meal, then climbed to their rooms on the second floor for the night.
On the ride home, my friend, Michael, and I joked about writing a historical romance together. Last summer, we did it. Plotting happened over glasses of wine or during two-mile jaunts down lonely country roads.
I, being the experienced writer took the lead, constructing the story. Mike, being an accomplished history buff, provided the research and kept us accurate. Did you know zucchini wasn’t invented in 1786, but raisin bread was?
Thus, “Abigail’s Journey” was born. As often happens with a book you’re immersed in, one story became two, which then became three. So “Abigail’s Journey” is the first in the Catskills saga trilogy.
Writing with a non-writer was a challenge. Fortunately, we never came to blows. But a few energetic rows tested our friendship. In the end, I managed weave together a compelling, clean story encompassing tragedy, comedy, romance, characters so real you’ll swear you’ve met them, and a happy ending. Mike and I are mighty proud of our book and, I’m happy to report, our friendship is stronger than ever.
About the Book
Abigail Chesney has it all; a husband more loving than she could have dreamt, three healthy children, and a house on thriving farmland. She’s happy in her little world until it crashes down around her.
Losing almost everything tests Abby in ways she never expected. Can she learn to accept what she can’t change and trust those she loves? Relying on help from the people of Fitch’s Eddy, a tiny Catskill logging town, Abby discovers her own strength. Will Fate’s cruel blows crush her? Or will love give her a new reason to go on?
Abigail’s Journey – travel back to Colonial America, 1786, with this heartfelt, sweet, historical romance, where the flavor of the past leaps off the page.
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“Pack up and get out, Chesney. I’m moving in.”
No sooner were the words out of the scoundrel’s mouth than George Chesney hit him square on the jaw. The man exploded in rage and landed two on George before bystanders pulled him away. Chesney had never been much for fighting to settle a dispute. However, when the welfare of his beloved family hung in the balance, he’d gladly trade fisticuffs with the devil himself.
Leaving the Danbury Inn, he wiped the blood off his nose. Tramping through town, he breathed deeply. The bell of the town crier stopped him.
“Seven o’clock and all is well.”
He compressed his lips together as bitterness soured his mouth. It might be seven o’clock, but all was not well, not for the Chesney family. Old Luke Morton had gambled away the deed to their farm. He had been Morton’s tenant, working the farm for the past ten years. He figured to own it outright in another five. Luke’s one whiskey too many and his losing hand at cards smashed George’s dream to bits.
Laughing in his face, the winner had dashed any hope of staying to farm the land. So, he’d lashed out at the man who’d threatened his future but had come out the worse for it in the end.
For once, he dreaded returning home. Since he was late, his beautiful wife would have kept a plate of dinner aside for him. She’d be wondering where he was. How could he tell her Morton didn’t own their farm anymore and they had to pack up and leave?
As he struggled to find words, his heartbeat sped up. Sweat poured off his forehead and soaked his shirt. He wiped his face with his sleeve and shivered in the chilly May wind under the cold light of a full moon. The sweet smell of freshly turned earth met his nose. Crops were already planted, but he’d not be around to harvest them. Where would they go? Farming was all he knew. How would he make a living and feed his family?
It didn’t help that his face had swelled and the flesh around his eye throbbed. Gently, he fingered his nose and flinched. He grew angry. It wasn’t his fault Morton was an old, drunken fool.
Seemed like bad luck had dogged his steps lately. They’d lost a goat through a hole in the fence. Fox killed two chickens. He figured it was timing. He’d had the best fortune in the world to win lovely Abigail’s hand. And the three wonderful children she’d given him had brought him much joy. Now he was thirty-six years old, maybe his luck had turned.
As he drew near to the little farmhouse he’d called home, emotion choked him. How could he tell his family they’d have to leave the life they loved—the only life they knew?
Smoke curled up from the chimney and the aroma of burning logs drifted his way. Yep, his son, Samuel, had remembered to bring in wood. He could almost taste his wife’s fine stew and smell the freshly baked bread his daughter, Sarah, had put up in the afternoon.
George directed his gaze upward and uttered a prayer. He stopped halfway up the path to swallow hard and wipe his cheek. The wetness wasn’t blood, but tears. He took a deep, shuddering breath. No nice way to break such bad news. They were losing their home—he’d come right out with it.
He pushed the door open.
“George! I’m so glad you’re home. Where were you? We were worried.”
Speech eluded him. He stood, solid, feet spread slightly, and reached for words that wouldn’t come. His gaze hopped from his wife to each of his children in turn. They stopped what they were doing. She approached and put her hand on his arm.
The smile faded from her face. “You’re bleeding. What happened? Are you all right?”
He shook his head. “No, I’m not. And nothing is going to be all right again for a very long time.”
About the Authors
Jean Joachim is an award-winning, USA Today best-selling romance author whose books have hit the Amazon Top 100 list in the U.S. and abroad since 2012. She writes sports romance, small town romance, big city romance, historical romance, and romantic suspense.
Jean has over 60 books in ebook, print and audio. She writes fulltime, never far from her secret stash of black licorice. A music lover, especially classical, she’s married, has two grown sons and lives in New York City.
A life-long student of American history, Michael Magness holds degrees in history and law from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. History is his passion. Retired from business, he’s an avid reader, married, father of three grown children and has one granddaughter. Michael lives with his wife Karen and his cat Sami in Brooklyn, New York. He spends his summers in Sullivan County, where Fitch’s Eddy might have been so many years ago. This is Michael’s first collaboration with Jean Joachim.
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