AMERICAN HISTORICAL NOVELS discussion

Reliance, Illinois
This topic is about Reliance, Illinois
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Hello from Mary

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Mary | 33 comments Dear Friends,

I’m delighted to join the American Historical Novels group on Goodreads! Thank you to Martha Conway and Rebecca Rosenberg for the invitation. I’ve had a great time following the discussions (my “to read” list has grown!) and I look forward to contributing.

I’m the author of two novels: Crown of Dust and Reliance, Illinois. Crown of Dust tells the story of two women (one disguised as a man) surviving in a ramshackle mining town during the California Gold Rush. Reliance, Illinois - my second novel and the focus of this week’s discussion - tells a story of the women left behind and the children born into the long shadow of the American Civil War.

Although a few historical figures make appearances in my novels, most of my characters are amalgamations of personalities I encountered in the research. My towns, too, are amalgamations, meant to represent rather than recreate a particular place. I work this way because it gives me the freedom to create characters and stories that exist within an authentic historical framework but are not restricted by the paucity of the record that may exist for any one person or place. (I believe it is, in part, the paucity of the record that makes women’s history fruitful territory for fiction writers(1)). Working this way also frees me to consider larger concerns, themes, and trends that stretch though time and reveal truths (some of them unpleasant) about our own moment in history.

This is not to say that you should take any particular message or meaning from the story. What I hope, instead, is that readers become immersed in the post Civil War world that opens when they open the book, and invested in the people on the page, flawed as they may be.

Some of the details of the story may surprise you; at least they surprised me. So, let’s talk about the lost years of the suffrage movement, about 19th century marriage law and contraception. Let’s chat about Madelyn and Rebecca, about debonair and dangerous William, audacious Miss Rose, and awkward Mr. Dryfus. Enjoy the story (even the harrowing bits). And feel free to write me with questions even after this week has passed. (I promise to be better about checking my messages😉).

Thank you for your time and attention. Happy reading.



Sincerely,

Mary Volmer


(1) You can find my short essay on the subject here: http://www.maryvolmer.com/blog/fruitf...


Mary | 33 comments To enter a raffle to win a copy of Reliance, Illinois write me at maryvolmer@gmail.com with "I want to win Reliance, Illinois!" in the subject line.

To enter a raffle to win a copy of Crown of Dust write me at maryvolmer@gmail.com with "I want to win Crown of Dust!" in the subject line.


message 3: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol | 87 comments Thanks for the chance to win your books. Both sound like great reads..
Nice to meet you & get acquainted with your writings.
Have a great day.


Beverly I look forward to learning more about your book. I plan to be online more this week. Last week turned out to be busier than expected and I lost track of participating in last week's dialogue.


message 5: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol | 87 comments Enjoyed your essay. Glad you added women to your research.


Mary | 33 comments Carol wrote: "Thanks for the chance to win your books. Both sound like great reads..
Nice to meet you & get acquainted with your writings.
Have a great day."


Thank you Carol! Happy reading Mary


Mary | 33 comments Beverly wrote: "I look forward to learning more about your book. I plan to be online more this week. Last week turned out to be busier than expected and I lost track of participating in last week's dialogue."

Thank you Beverly! I look forward to your questions. I hope all is well. Mary


message 8: by Debbie (new)

Debbie | 78 comments Hi Mary! Your books sound very good! I’m looking forward to your posts.


message 9: by Rebecca, Champagne Widows, 2021 (new)

Rebecca Rosenberg (rebeccarosenberg) | 270 comments Mod
Sounds great Mary! I am finishing up a new novel about the Gold Rush also, GOLD DIGGER (1/19) I can't wait to read your books!


message 10: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary | 33 comments Debbie wrote: "Hi Mary! Your books sound very good! I’m looking forward to your posts."

Thank you Debbie!


message 11: by Mary (new) - rated it 5 stars

Mary | 33 comments Rebecca wrote: "Sounds great Mary! I am finishing up a new novel about the Gold Rush also, GOLD DIGGER (1/19) I can't wait to read your books!"

Oh, I'd love to chat about your project Rebecca. Congratulations on the upcoming publication!


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