My fifth novel, UNDER THE ALMOND TREES, is now available on Amazon in paperback and ebook. Although I’m proud of all my books, this one is more connected to my heart. Six months ago today, my father passed away. This novel begins with his great-great-grandmother and ends with his mother. It only scratches the surface of strong women in his family, though.
The novel covers the widowed mother who ran her husband’s lumber mill then fought for the vote, and the architect who clawed her way into a man’s business at the same time Julia Morgan was doing the same thing, and the young mother who opened her own photography business to put her daughter through college. But there’s more.
One of the women in the family, Coelia Curtis, opened a dress shop in San Francisco not long after the Gold Rush, and she holds a patent for an improvement in underwear design. When she first came to California, she and her husband and four children lived in the Petaluma Adobe which had belonged to General Vallejo. He was one of the most powerful men in California prior to 1846 while it was still owned by Mexico. The adobe is now a state historic park.
Another woman, Emmeline Beach, was a lifelong friend of Mark Twain and might have married him. Her father, an inventor and publisher of the New York Sun, made it clear he did not want a ‘Western rough-neck’ for a son-in-law. She married the great painter, Abbot Thayer, and lived in an art colony. Mark Twain spent his summers there for years.
Even the mother of the suffragette I feature in my novel deserves a mention. Mary Ely Day Perkins was directly descended from William Brewster, who came over on the Mayflower. Her mother still had ‘the Brewster chest’ that belonged to him, although her son sold it after 1840. Mary herself came to California during the Gold Rush with her children. She was involved with a poetry publication and ran her own laundry in Brighton.
Another woman I may yet write about is Emily Miree. She was born at Fort Snelling, in what is now Minnesota, in 1836. Her mother was the sister of James Lockwood, the first governor of Wisconsin. Her father was the sutler at the fort, serving in Zachary Taylor’s regiment. She moved to California withe her mother and stepfather, where she married a water agent for the miners. They traveled from town to town selling water, and her children were born in places like You Bet and Rough and Ready.
So please enjoy UNDER THE ALMOND TREES as a peek at a family that honors its strong women. I, of course, have two sons so I suppose the legacy passes to my niece and her baby daughter! Purchase the paperback here, and the ebook here, at least until Amazon hooks them up on the same page! I am currently looking for bloggers who would like to review this novel. Contact me at: FlyingHorseBooks(at)gmail.com. Enjoy!