A sweeping saga of the Civil War’s western naval campaigns, Book 1 in the Southern Sons-Dixie Daughters series follows four Southern families living on the Gulf Coast—the Westcotts, the Jessups, the Soileaus, the indomitable and devout slave Danny who escapes bondage and finds service aboard a Union warship and his wife Nancy, cruelly whisked out of his life decades before the war.
While the Confederacy struggles to build a navy to defeat the Yankee fleet threatening New Orleans these families suffer their own personal conflicts: secret courtships, emotional turmoil, and banishment. For those in naval service–-Danny and Confederate Lieutenant Benjamin Westcott, whose family owns Nancy–-vengeance and betrayal approaches as the battle of New Orleans draws near. If the Westcott’s butler Titus succeeds in his plan, and Ben’s mortal enemy Master Xavier Locke of the USS Madison gains the upper hand, both Danny and Ben will suffer heartache and loss in vastly different ways. Unlike most Civil War novels which focus on armies and land campaigns, this two part series is set against the backdrop of New Orleans, Mobile, and David Glasgow Farragut’s naval exploits.
“Historical novels are, without question, the best way of teaching history, for they offer the human stories behind the events and leave the reader with a desire to know more.”
Louis L’Amour (2008). “Education of a Wandering Man”, p.15, Bantam
Mister L’Amour’s words have proven true in my life. My three favorite genres have always been history, historical fiction and biographies, even as a child.
The historical fiction books I read during my growing-up years, such as The HorseSoldiers (Harold Sinclair), The Black Arrow (Robert Louis Stevenson), and The Count ofMonte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas) spurred my youthful hunger for more knowledge about these books’ eras. Getting lost in the past was, for me, sheer joy.
Sadly, many people today have little knowledge of the past. They learn their history from “historical” movies, most of which aren’t entirely accurate. It’s become easier to watch a film than it is to read.
So, we historical fiction writers have a challenge. Our writing must be at the “top of our game.” Not only must we write well, we must also keep our facts accurate. Our books may not win a Pulitzer Prize write like Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels, about the Battle of Gettysburg, but if our historical novels get more folks interested in learning about the past, our time and labor is worth it.
Research, write, and read! Till next time, friends. Have a great week.