Bravery. Perseverance. Hope.
Our first event of the new year features two novels on children and women survivors of extreme weather in the 1800s. The authors will discuss what inspired them to write about these little-known historical events.
Books will be shipped after the event.
About the books:
The Children's Blizzard:
From the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator's Wife comes a story of courage on the prairie, inspired by the devastating storm that struck the Great Plains in 1888, threatening the lives of hundreds of immigrant homesteaders, especially schoolchildren.
The morning of January 12, 1888, was unusually mild, following a punishing cold spell. It was warm enough for the homesteaders of the Dakota Territory to venture out again, and for their children to return to school without their heavy coats--leaving them unprepared when disaster struck. At the hour when most prairie schools were letting out for the day, a terrifying, fast-moving blizzard blew in without warning. Schoolteachers as young as sixteen were suddenly faced with life and death decisions: Keep the children inside, to risk freezing to death when fuel ran out, or send them home, praying they wouldn't get lost in the storm?
Based on actual oral histories of survivors, this gripping novel follows the stories of Raina and Gerda Olsen, two sisters, both schoolteachers--one becomes a hero of the storm and the other finds herself ostracized in the aftermath. It's also the story of Anette Pedersen, a servant girl whose miraculous survival serves as a turning point in her life and touches the heart of Gavin Woodson, a newspaperman seeking redemption. It was Woodson and others like him who wrote the embellished news stories that lured northern European immigrants across the sea to settle a pitiless land. Boosters needed them to settle territories into states, and they didn't care what lies they told these families to get them there--or whose land it originally was.
At its heart, this is a story of courage, of children forced to grow up too soon, tied to the land because of their parents' choices. It is a story of love taking root in the hard prairie ground, and of families being torn asunder by a ferocious storm that is little remembered today--because so many of its victims were immigrants to this country.
The Arctic Fury:
A dozen women join a secret 1850s Arctic expedition--and a sensational murder trial unfolds when some of them don't come back.
Eccentric Lady Jane Franklin makes an outlandish offer to adventurer Virginia Reeve: take a dozen women, trek into the Arctic, and find her husband's lost expedition. Four parties have failed to find him, and Lady Franklin wants a radical new approach: put the women in charge.
A year later, Virginia stands trial for murder. Survivors of the expedition willing to publicly support her sit in the front row. There are only five. What happened out there on the ice?
Set against the unforgiving backdrop of one of the world's most inhospitable locations, USA Today bestselling author Greer Macallister uses the true story of Lady Jane Franklin's tireless attempts to find her husband's lost expedition as a jumping-off point to spin a tale of bravery, intrigue, perseverance and hope.
About the authors:
Melanie Benjamin is a New York Times bestselling author whose books include The Mistress of the Ritz, The Girls in the Picture, The Swans of Fifth Avenue, The Aviator’s Wife, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb, and Alice I Have Been. Benjamin lives in Williamsburg, Virginia, where she is at work on her next historical novel.
Raised in the Midwest, Greer Macallister earned her MFA in creative writing from American University. Her debut novel The Magician's Lie was a USA Today bestseller, an Indie Next pick, and a Target Book Club selection. Her novels Girl in Disguise and Woman 99 were inspired by pioneering 19th-century private detective Kate Warne and fearless journalist Nellie Bly, respectively. Her new book, The Arctic Fury, was named an Indie Next and Library Reads pick, an Amazon Best Book of the Month, and a spotlighted new release at PopSugar, Libro.fm, and Goodreads. A regular contributor to Writer Unboxed and the Chicago Review of Books, she lives with her family in Washington, DC.