Ann’s and Bekah’s adventures took place in an interesting time in history. A complex and flourishing canal system had spread throughout the east simplifying travel and transportation of goods. But, when our heroines start east, the rail system was just beginning to expand.
Can you imagine! Passenger trains traveled at a phenomenal 15-20 mph. Oh, and our ancestors were tough! If someone drank too much water, he was in bad luck; restrooms (privies or outhouses) were at stations. Often times, at a train stop, passengers raced to see who could make it to the facility first. Over the next few months, I will talk about some of changes taking place during their travel east.
When Ann was tracking down the man who “ruined” her, whales were being hunted and killed. (She pictured sticking him to the deck with one of those killing lances.) Now we go to great lengths to save them. Whales and fishing nets don’t go together. Here is a video of a rescue of a Humpback whale in the Sea of Cortez. Someone sent this to me in one of those chain emails that I seldom open. The title of this one caught my attention.
As Ann’s story progresses, I find that the years 1848-52 were filled with all kinds of interesting events. Whaling was still going strong; the California Gold Rush was at its peak; ships were being abandoned in San Francisco by crews with visions of striking it rich; Indians and the US government were to hold a meeting at Fort Laramie (plains Indians flocked there by the thousands) to help alleviate tribal feuding and to provide safe passage for immigrants heading to California; cities along the Des Moines River in Iowa were devastated by some of the area’s worst flooding in history.
More about these to come; look for Till Her Heart Dances this Spring.
When I ask someone (not a friend) to critique my work, I know it will be truthful; friends sometimes hesitate to hurt my feelings. So, when I got the notice that #ReadersFavorite had published the review of First Fury, it was with trepidation that I went to their web site and opened it up. JUST LIKE RUINED, IT RECEIVED A 5-START REVIEW! Remember, Christmas is coming; and I’ll be at Christmas In Windsor.
“This book was amazing. I’d read through it again just to experience the adventure one more time.”
Reviewed by Patrick Null for Readers’ Favorite
In First Fury, a Christian #historicalfiction novel set in 1848, Thomas Macy takes us on an engrossing journey into the mind of a young woman on her quest for revenge. Lured against her parents’ wishes to Port Gibson in New York by a man she loved, she’s abandoned and left to fend for herself. In a letter, her mother claims she’s ruined and won’t let her come home, and so, in a man’s world, she’s forced to become a man herself. Binding her body to disguise her femininity and cutting her hair, she assigns herself to a whaling ship in hopes she will come across the man who took everything from her so she can exact her revenge. This is the true story of Rebecca Ann Johnson and the lie she convincingly pulled off on a ship full of hardened sailors. Will she be consumed by bitterness? Or will she find God’s love and forgiveness, thus filling the void in her heart?
Filled with fascinating characters, First Fury shows what life was like on a whaling ship in 1848. Thomas Macy has done his homework for the details have the ring of authenticity. Life as a whaler was not easy, and First Fury accurately depicts the messy lifestyle and the courage needed to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Beauty and wonderment will be discovered, secrets will be kept, truths will be given, friends and enemies will be made. Full of danger, excitement, hope and love, First Fury will stay with you long after reading the last page. This book was amazing. I’d read through it again just to experience the adventure one more time.
Rather than an informational update, this is a request of my friends for a favor. Readers Favorite is one of the web sites through which my books are marketed. They are preparing an advertising outreach for all the books they handle and suggest that authors ask friends and family to leave their own comments and reviews using both the Comments and Facebook comments sections on their Readers’ Favorite Review Page. My RUINED page is: https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/ruined. Scroll down a bit to find the comments and reviews section on that page.
Good reviews will tend to attract potential buyers. If you can find the time to enter a review or comment, that would be great.
Next month, I will begin a set of Oregon (Mormon) Trail pictures following the route taken by Ann as she heads east in my third and final novel in the Fury series.
For the last few days, our deck had white cattail roots that I was sun-drying to brown. This morning I put them on a board and pounded out the starch, leaving the stringy portion of the roots. Then I poured the white powder into a jar for safe keeping.
In Ruined, Bekah ate cattails. I am now in the middle of the third and final book in the Fury series and again the protagonists are consuming this vegetable known as the supermarket of the wilderness. This site says to boil the starch out. My research also found a site that said to dry the roots and pound them to remove the starch. Of course, you want to wash them and peel the outer black , like this, before drying.
So Sandy and I will be trying something with cattail starch. Shhh! Don’t tell her!
Both Ann and Bekah face crises in their lives. Ann is deposited in San Francisco when her destination had been Nantucket. During the California Gold Rush, a ship’s course might be diverted to San Francisco where the vessel might be abandoned as the crew seeks riches on the gold fields. Bekah must deal with unexpected trauma as mentioned last week.
Dealing with trials becomes easier when we start to believe that God really has the answer and that answer is found in Jesus.
What happened to Bekah in 1850, happens to girls today. It’s an indication that there is something wrong with the world. Like the irritation of a splinter in your finger that won’t go away. We don’t always see it; it’s not often front page news. But it’s there.
Ah Toy was a woman who followed her husband to San Francisco during the Gold Rush. When he died in route, she became the mistress of the ship’s Captain. Once in San Francisco, she started a business in high demand with miners who left their wives in the East to work the rivers of California. Sometimes, the ladies employed were more children than women.
In preparation for the Launch Party, I looked for YouTube videos I could run in the background. Surprise!!! I found one that showed whaling as it was and told the story of the Essex. While Ann is waiting to be transferred to the Christopher Mitchell, she listens to a crewman tell the story of the sinking of the Essex. She immediately begins to doubt the decision to which her anger has driven her. Sandy and I watched the documentary and it’s good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71sn-WDQoXI
Lean forward…dip the oars into the water…pull; lean…dip…pull. Over and over. Again and again. And the ship gets no closer. Towing twenty tons of dead weight slows the whaleboat down. Lean…dip…pull. By the time the sun is directly overhead, the blood from the whale’s final fury has dried on your clothes and skin. The sweat rolling down your face turns it into a sticky mess.
Closing your eyes, you lean…dip…pull, hearing the shush of the oars and timing your strokes to coincide. Groans get louder. You listen. They’re coming from your mouth now. Lean…dip…pull. The pain from the cracks in your dry lips are barely noticeable. Lean…dip…pull.
The sun is halfway down to the western horizon. Your arms are numb; the muscles in your back seek rest when you lean, only to rebel when you begin to pull…again. Lean…dip…pull.
At last…the ship…you see your friends. Lean…dip…pull. You can almost touch it. Lean…dip…pull. The Mate yells something, but the words are lost in a fog or weariness. Somehow the whaleboat ends up beside the ship. There, arms are reaching down. You lift dead weights up; no, they’re your arms. Someone grabs them and you’re being hoisted out of the boat. You collapse to the deck.
Your body might be as dead as that whale. But the Captain doesn’t care. At the moment, you hate him. He’s demanding that you get back on your feet. It’s time to cut it in.