Fran Shaff | Strong Heroines
November 5, 2012
A little over a year ago I read an inspirational book titled LETTERS OF A
WOMAN HOMESTEADER. This compilation of real letters written by Elinore
Pruitt Stewart to a friend in Denver, Colorado tells how Mrs. Stewart made a new
life for herself and her two-year-old daughter after losing Mr. Stewart.
Elinore's first letter was written in 1909, a time when life was quite difficult
for everyone, but especially for women and children.
At that time it was practically impossible for many women to build a financially
secure future for themselves and their children, considering how narrow fields
of employment were for them. Mrs Stewart, like many women of her day, turned to
work as a housekeeper to take care of herself and her little girl. Eventually,
she secured a homestead in Wyoming and, all on her own, met the requirements
necessary to win the deed to her very own piece of real estate.
Imagine the physical stamina required of a woman farmer in 1909 as she worked
with horses and oxen and the implements of the day. Having grown up on a farm, I
have a pretty good idea of how hard Mrs. Stewart had to work to achieve her
goal. Had I been in her shoes, I doubt I could have been as successful as she
was under her circumstances.
Real women of centuries past had to be very strong, strong of spirit and strong
of heart. If they weren't, they had little control over their own destinies, and
often had no choice but to become completely dependent on a father, brother,
I love reading American Historical Romance, and I enjoy writing it too. A good
historical romance novel, to me, will always feature a strong heroine. She won't
end up with a happily ever after life because, when the novel concludes,
she now has a man to take care of her and make everything alright. She'll end up
with her hero because she loves him, because he not only accepts her for who she
is, but he loves her for who she is, and because living her life as she
sees fit is better when she has the man she loves standing by her side.
In my new Tender Mysteries Series ten female survivors whose wagon train
is destroyed by a flood must build a new life in 1890s Hope, Nebraska. Each
story in the ten-book historical romance series features one of the women
survivors who is swept up into romance as she tries to solve a mystery. The
first three books of the series RESURRECTED,
RESTITUTION, and RETRIBUTION are due out in e-book formats this
month, November, 2012. RESURRECTED and
RESTITUTION will soon be found in one two-book paperback available
on-line, in bookstores and libraries. More books in the series will be released
in 2013 and 2014.
Whether readers find them in my Tender Mysteries Series, my Heart
Junction Series or in the books of other favorite Historical Romance
authors, I hope the heroines they meet will always be strong, free and engaging
to them in every way.
7 comments posted.
Re: Fran Shaff | Strong Heroines
Sounds like a really interesting topic for a series. I recently read a book about a wagon train during the last days of the Civil War and those were very tough times, from having to give birth in the back of a wagon to Indian raids. Solving mysteries on top of that... admiration to them!
(Clare O'Beara 8:00am November 5, 2012)
Strong heroines are what it took to make it in pioneer times, war and I can see some of the traits in my friends now.
(Alyson Widen 3:36pm November 5, 2012)
We often hear about the the difficulty faced by the strong men and women who ventured out to the wilderness to make a better life. I can only imagine how daunting a task to do this as a woman alone. Your books sound interesting.
(Robin McKay 4:38pm November 5, 2012)
A strong woman is needed back in the pioneer days. They are the housewives within the house and at the same time, they have to be like men to take care of the livestocks and farms. To even think that they also have to be mental strong. They are miles from their neighbors. Being on an open range could make any crazy.
I love reading historical with mystery involve. Thanks for the excerpt.
(Kai Wong 8:42pm November 5, 2012)
These sound like they're going to be really wonderful stories to read. I'm looking forward to finding them at the library, since I don't own an e-reader. Since the plot takes place back in my Grandmother's day, I know how hard my Grandmother worked around her house, raising 13 children, along with my Grandfather. She sewed their clothes, did the cooking and baking, and had the time to grow a large garden in the Summer!! Nothing stopped that woman, and as the Grandchildren entered the picture, she took the time to stop and make sure that each one of us felt special. When she passed away at the age of 83, it was a huge loss to our family. I'm sure I'll find a bit of her in your stories.
(Peggy Roberson 9:49pm November 5, 2012)
Thank you, Everyone, for your wonderful comments. I'd like to add that I have dedicated my entire "Tender Mysteries Series" as follows: For the unsung heroic women who, over the last several hundred years, helped build the United States of America into a strong, caring country. Thank you for your dedication and sacrifice." There have been millions of women of all races and ethnic backgrounds who worked quietly, contributing greatly to everything wonderful about the USA, and I truly feel tremendous gratitude toward them and great admiration for them. I hope my "Tender Mysteries Series" touches readers with its authenticity of the lives of these women making their ways through the ending years of the 19th Century.
(Fran Shaff 8:14am November 6, 2012)
Nice post, Fran. It's good to remember the hardships and accomplishments of those who have gone before. Your Tender Mysteries and Heart Junction series are part of a worthy tradition.
(Sandra Cody 8:46am November 6, 2012)
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