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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn E. Cook

Scout Meets Jane, Will, Jerusha, and Gus

Updated: Oct 19, 2018

"We all carry inside us, people who came before us." --- Liam Callanan

During my growing-up years, I was blessed to have a grandmother who lived with our family. Often, she showed to me her box of old photographs, many long-dead relatives in stiff collars or lacy dresses, and she talked of them, fondly remembering their names and things they'd done. I'm quite sure that my interest in the past came first from those decades-ago conversations.

Scout Finch, Jane Pittman, Will Tweedy, Jerusha Hale, Gus McCrae --- personalities from some of my favorite books. Their stories arrive from the time of oil lamps and sailing ships, or the Old West of cowboys and cattle drives, or the period of Model T's and Gibson Girls.

Historical fiction has always been a big draw for me. It allows transport to different worlds, a sort of time travel in the imagination, and its characters provide a window onto the past from which we all proceed. And that window teaches, not only about the human condition in bygone days, but of the connection we in the present share with those distant people. Scout, Jane, Gus. Their thoughts and actions have the ability to reach from the pages and take my hand.

The tales I write are set in other eras, as well, and my main characters are women dealing with the conflicts of their times. Stella McFeeters and her mother Irene must stand strong against the calamity of contagious disease. Isabel Glass must hold her ground against scorn and stay faithful to her convictions. Sarah Fischer must endure trials of all kinds, especially the lack of rights and choices given to women in the 19th century. And Harriet Butter must disregard ostracism, cling to her passions, and follow where they lead.

Each woman is heroic in her own, particular way and I intend for each one's determinations to speak of truths that remain as constants throughout the generations.

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