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message 1: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Notbohm | 33 comments LIVE NOW from 10:00 - 11:00 am PST - 1:00-2:00 pm EST. Ask me about genealogical brick walls, black sheep, frontier justice for mothers, writing history, weird research, where'd I learn so many horse-trading scam tactics, and what the Sears catalog has to do with all of it.

message 2: by Martha (new)

Martha Conway | 255 comments Mod
So sorry I missed this live event! If you're still answering question (though not live!), I am wondering if you mean literal black sheep?

message 3: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Notbohm | 33 comments Glad you asked. "Black sheep" is one of many not-nice names people assign to kin who are somehow a smudge on the family honor. Black sheep, fallen angel, bad egg (bad apple if you're vegan), disgrace best erased. There's an aura of taboo around these people, but seldom any context. My protagonist, Annie, was the person no one would talk about in this family, and I was determined to find out why. What I unearthed was a tale little-understood maternal mental illness at the turn of the 20th century, and the gender inequity and crushing social stigma that went along with it. But those who bet against Annie backed the wrong horse. And serendipitously, it's a real, ovine black sheep that ultimately opens the path to self-determination for her.

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