Shannon here: Donna Schlachter shares her inspiration for her latest Historical Suspense, Justice for Julia. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for a print (US only) or e-book copy. Deadline: Nov 20th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Donna:
Falling in Love French Icarian Style
The French Icarian village in Idaho, near modern-day Corning, was first established in the 1850s by settlers who emigrated from France to Louisiana. Once they outgrew the land plot they’d purchased, they moved west around 1854 with about sixty men. Their wives and children soon followed, or they met and married local women, and soon the village flourished.
While they didn’t subscribe to any particular religious beliefs, and, in fact, maintained a secular style of communal rule, many believed in God, sometimes walking the ten or so miles to the closest town at the time, Quincy, to attend church.
My book, “Justice for Julia”, takes a peek into this communal-style living, including the mindset of those who adhered to it, how they welcomed strangers into their midst, and how this Utopian lifestyle wasn’t as perfect as they’d hoped.
My heroine, Julia, is a medical doctor wrongly accused of medical malpractice resulting in death in 1868, who escapes Des Moines to head west. However, when she runs out of money for traveling, she meets a man looking for a place to hide out with his daughter.
My hero, Josiah, took his daughter and escaped from his abusive wife, heading west. When he meets a certain clerk at the mercantile and shares his story of needing a safe environment, hiding out as a married couple seems the ideal answer.
The only problem is: he’s still married to his daughter’s mother.
Julia, hiding the fact she’s a doctor, saves the lives of several residents who are injured in accidents. Josiah begins to wonder if there isn’t more to her than she told him.
When a Pinkerton agent shows up at the commune, saying he’s looking for a woman doctor, Julia flees. But when the agent falls from his horse, Julia cannot leave him. She forsakes her own freedom to doctor him.
Josiah, learning Julie left the village, goes in search of her.
Can Julia overcome her fear that her past will catch up with her?
And can Josiah be honest about his marital state—and the depth of his feelings for Julia?
Excerpt from Justice for Julia by Donna Schlachter:
The door opened, and he took a step back. A vision of loveliness stood before him. Smiling at him. Not beautiful as most men would deem, but indeed comely. Her curly hair, the color of the leaves on the oak tree at the corner of the house—sun-kissed, golden yet orange at the same time—framed her face and flowed over her shoulders like molten lava.
She glanced at the vegetables at his feet. “Hello. Mrs. Murphy thought she recognized your knock..”
How to answer that? His tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth as he stood there, dumbstruck. Was this the new lodger?
She held out a hand toward him, and he itched to smother it between his own. Instead, he jammed his fists into his pockets, ashamed of the callouses and rough skin. “Shall I take the basket?”
Of course, she didn’t know the way Mrs. Murphy operated. He swallowed hard, praying for saliva to loosen his tongue. “No, I’ll carry it. To the kitchen.” To prove his words, he hefted the basket, biting back a grunt. He’d never show himself weak to a woman so sensitive as she. “I know the way.”
She stepped back and gestured him inside. As he passed her in the hallway, the delicate scent of rosewater tickled his nose. Her light footsteps behind him reminded him of his daughter. But this woman was no child. He wouldn’t even call her young. Yet the life shining from her chocolate-colored eyes shouted eternal youth.
He shook his head at his foolish thoughts. Judging by her voice and demeanor, she stood miles out of his class. No doubt passing through town on her way to someplace else, with important plans and an exciting future ahead of her.
Unlike him. Stuck in a small town, in a boy’s job, with a daughter to raise. And to hide.
At the end of the hallway, he entered the large kitchen and plopped the wicker basket on the worktable in the center of the room. “Mrs. Murphy usually takes everything I bring.”
She stood a few feet away, just out of reach, staring at the floor. “I’m sure it’s all fine.”
“She usually pays me now, too.”
The woman’s cheeks colored. “Oh, she didn’t mention that.” She glanced around the kitchen as though hoping the few coins would magically appear. “I don’t know…”
“It’s all right. I can come back later.”
Please say I can come back later. For one more glimpse of—
He shook himself harder this time. He had no right looking at this woman with longing.
He already had a wife.
About Donna: Donna writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 40 times in novellas, full-length novels, and non-fiction books. She is a member of several writing communities; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; blogs regularly; and judges in writing contests.
Stay connected so you learn about new releases, preorders, and presales, as well as check out featured authors, book reviews, and a little corner of peace. Plus: Receive a free ebook simply for signing up for our free newsletter! HiStoryThruTheAges
Learn more & connect:
About the book – Justice for Julia: Julia Brown changes her name and escapes unfounded medical malpractice claims. Josiah hides in a small town in Iowa with his daughter, trying to escape the abuse of his wife and her mother. A local commune offers them the chance to hide in plain sight as husband and wife. But will they be willing to settle for a loveless marriage? Can they fool the residents with their subterfuge? Or will their pasts catch up with them?
Can’t wait for the drawing? Worried you won’t win?
Get your copy now! Justice for Julia – Amazon
Interested in Donna’s other titles? Donna’s Books – Amazon
Question for Readers: What’s something you find interesting in history?
Come back Jan 12th for Pat Jeanne Davis!