Nineteenth Century American women who desired an advanced education (and to work as a professional) fought an uphill battle. As late as the final decade (1890s) cultural beliefs demanded “good” women made home a bit of heaven on earth, toiled only as a help-meet to her husband, and found all the joy and satisfaction there she could possibly need. Historical sources underscore this dated belief system, and set the stage for the challenges faced by my character Dr. Isabella Pattison, DDS, in Isabella’s Calico Groom (within Calico Ball: Timeless Western Collection).
Quilt-making was an important part of “women’s work” in the 19th century (as well as before and after). My ancestors’ journals tell of a ransom demanded for the return of their little boy, kidnapped by the Black Hawk Indians in central Utah–including five quilts. The family got by with husk-filled bedding until Mother could gather enough wool from the barbed-wire fences to make batting for another quilt. She wasn’t alone in this frugal (and apparently necessary) practice.
TODAY is Release Day! PLEASANCE’S FIRST LOVE is here! It’s #6 in the acclaimed Grandma’s Wedding Quilts Series.
Yellow roses appear briefly in three scenes within COURTING MISS CARTWRIGHT. Yellow roses, particularly Harison’s Yellow, are found strewn along the Oregon trail, blooming feral alongside abandoned ruins of cabins and clapboard houses in ghost towns, and originated in 1824 New York. This article contains the ‘Cemetery Scene’ where Felicity, new to Mountain Home and seeking answers. visits the cemetery and first notices the yellow roses on her father’s grave. This scene is the first conversation between sisters who’ve not known about each other until their father’s will brought them together the evening before–and they’d been barely civil.
July 24th is Pioneer Day in the state of Utah, commemorating the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley (the first permanent Euro-American settlers) in 1847. This state-wide celebration includes everything from parades to rodeos, fireworks to pageants, Pioneer/Frontier clothing to Native American Inter-Tribal Pow-Wows, to covered wagon reenactments and picnics. Pioneer Day is inherent to Utah’s Victorian-Era, Old West history.
I’ve read books where the intrepid hero has to reuse brown paper the mercantile owner used to wrap a purchase in order to leave the heroine an all-important note. I read another novel where a would-be bride’s employer deducted the cost of paper and envelope from her wages. Was paper that expensive? Did expense translate to scarcity?