Covered Wagon Women – The True Heroes of the West

Tonight, please welcome Becky Lower as my guest blogger.  Becky will be sharing more on the true heroes of the west and on love…
Becky LowerCover
When I began to write Basil’s story, I asked myself what type of woman would be able to go toe to toe with him. After all, Basil had a track record already. That’s what series writing is all about. The secondary characters from one story become the leads in another book. And what works as a foil in one book becomes a character flaw that needs to be dealt with in another. Basil played a secondary role in The Reluctant Debutante, where he was adamantly opposed to the marriage of Ginger and Joseph. Even though Joseph was his good friend, he was also part Indian, and therefore unsuitable as a partner to his sister.
After reading The Reluctant Debutante, I had a reviewer write me privately to tell me she hoped I wrote about Basil soon because he needed a strong woman to straighten out his uptight ass. How could I resist? So the debate of who that woman would be began. I thought about St. Louis in 1856 and the types of women who were in town. Then, I remembered a series of books I had read years ago, the private journals and diaries of the women who crossed the country as part of the wagon trains.  Once again, luck was on my side, as most of the wagon trains left from either St. Louis or St. Joseph, MO. Any of these women would be strong enough to take on Basil. Hence the birth of Temperance, a young woman who was migrating with her family to Oregon, but had to lay over in St. Louis for the winter. And whose name is an oxymoron.
If you get a chance to read some of these journals, I encourage you to do so. There were, at last count, eleven editions, but some have been compiled into the “Best Of” series, which I would recommend. Some of them are bleak, not recording much except the number of graves they passed by each day. That in itself is very telling of the kind of journey these hardy pioneers were embarking on. It just doesn’t make for very good reading. But there are some entries that are absolutely riveting. These women had true mettle. They delivered babies while in the back of a rolling wagon; they cooked meals over an open fire each morning and evening; they took care of children and livestock with equal aplomb; they were terrorized by Indians, they survived vicious storms; they endured outbreaks of smallpox and cholera that ripped through the wagons. And most of them made it to an unknown land, where they set up housekeeping, carved out farms alongside their husbands, created schools and churches and civilized the wild west. We are all in their debt.
Blurb for Banking On Temperance—Book Three in the Cotillion Ball Series
Basil Fitzpatrick was born into a life of privilege. In 1856, at 23 years of age, he is the owner of the St. Louis branch of the family banking business. He has his pick of the ladies and life by the horns. Temperance Jones and her family are far from privileged. Her father is a circuit-riding preacher from Pennsylvania. But the rumblings of a war between the North and the South force the preacher to move his family to Oregon rather than to take up arms against his fellow man. However, hardship and sickness have slowed their pace, and they are forced to spend the winter in St. Louis, waiting for the next wagon trains to leave in the spring.
Basil is drawn to the large family the moment they roll into town, partly because they remind him of his own big family in New York. But also because of the eldest daughter, Temperance. She is a tiny, no-nonsense spitfire who is bent on fulfilling her father’s wish to get the family safely to Oregon. Basil is only interested in finding a mistress, not a wife. He knows if he allows Temperance into his heart, he is accepting the obligation of her entire family and their quest to settle in Oregon. He wants Temperance like he has wanted no other, but the burden of her family may be too much for him. And he can’t have one without the other.
Thank you, Becky, for a lovely look at the true heroes of the west!  I bet your hero, Basil, must be thanking your private reviewer in bringing him the love of his life 🙂