Well both books are published now, so it seems time to say something about them. I got a wonderful comment from one of my early readers, who called Cardinal Points, “delicious history.” That’s nice because it was precisely what I was going for.
Cardinal Points is a fictional, historical romance that takes place in Boston during and just after the ‘Boston Tea Party.” We recall this event as the great anti-tax revolt that started the American Revolution, and in myth it was just that. But, what I wondered, did the Intolerable Acts mean to those who bore the brunt of Parliament’s Anger against Boston? Those left behind while John Hancock, Sam Adams, and Paul Revere left the town to escape British occupation and live elsewhere? I thought about that often while giving tours for Boston National Historic Park on the Freedom Trail, which I did for two summers. And I created Oona and Jason, and the novel Cardinal Points to let their story explain what it might have been like to live in Boston at that time. For instance, did you know that no printing presses were destroyed by the occupying army? I didn’t want to come out and tell you, so I let Oona experience the surprise of that, or that no one wanted to serve as a judge? Parliament had ruled that all judges were now to be appointed by the King or his representative and suddenly no one volunteered to sit. Turned out the King was easier to ignore than the neighbors with the hot pot of tar and the bucket of feathers. I won’t give away their romance or the many plot twists, but it does get pretty involved and occasionally steamy.
Finally after numerous Intolerable situations, Oona and Jason are reunited and leave Boston together for points north.
And now Fate and Fair Winds has been published. I don’t have copies yet, so the link is to Amazon, that will change eventually. Fate and Fair Winds begins about seven months after the end of Cardinal Points and involves Jason’s younger brother John and young Rebecca Willent, in their story of intrigues and romance. Rebecca is a young girl wondering what the Declaration of Independence means in her life. They meet only weeks after the signing of that document in July of 1776. While John was traveling through the colonies to gain some understanding of the Americans.
When Howe’s Army moved into Philadelphia, for their winter quarters from October 1777 to June 1778, they meet again. This time John wears his red uniform to announce his dedication and willingness to fight for his King. Rebecca makes no such announcement, but has been collecting information for George Washington and the Americans. It turns out that they are opposed by a third and more evilly potent force whom they must fight together.
It was interesting to compare the occupation of the two colonial cities. (Boston wasn’t called city until years later, see earlier post on town government.) Parliament was mad at Boston, but not at Philadelphia and the experiences of the residents and the occupiers in the two places were very different.
A third book in the Edge of Empire series is being written. Alewife takes place outside of Boston and begins at the Battle of Bunker’s Hill, or rather the end of the battle. It was a battle where both sides claimed victory – the Americans retreated when they ran out of powder and shot, but the British lost 1,054 (226 dead and 828 wounded), many of them officers. A British wit in London quipped, “We certainly are victorious, but if we have eight more such victories there will be nobody left to bring the news of them.”
Alex is among the American line, and then sent off to find supplies for the growing army in Cambridge. At a shipyard south of Boston, he meets a young widow trying to find barrels for the beer she brews at the Hammer and Wheel, a tavern at the Lower Falls of the Charles River in Newton. Do to a errant barrel, careening out of control and toward her, they meet as Alex pulls her to safety and falls backwards as his injured leg gives out.
She is, he admits, a man’s dream. Soft in all the right places when she fell into his arms, a pretty face, and she smells of hops, brewer’s yeast and ale. But nothing is ever that easy, is it?