Cassandra Mortmain’s father is a famous writer; unfortunatley he has been suffering from writer’s block for years. Her mother is dead, but she has a lovely stepmother now in Topaz. She also has a younger brother Thomas, and and older sister, Rose. And then there is Stephen, who has grown up with them, not forgetting the dog Heloise and the cat Abelard. They live in a ruin of a castle in England, and have no income. Which means no money for clothes, repairs, rent, or food. They have sold everything worth selling. And then the two Cotton brothers arrive on the scene.
23 March 1875
Today is my birthday, and I have received the greatest gift of all – freedom! I make these first poor scribblings aboard the westbound Union Pacific train with departed Union Station Chicago at 6.35 a.m. this morning, bound for Nebraska Territory.
In 1854 a Cheyenne chief asked the United States government for one thousand white brides to marry into the people. Cheyenne society was a matrilineal society the resulting children, to their minds, would belong to white society. Yet they would also have an understanding of Cheyenne ways, and so it seemed a good way of joining white man’s society. Of course this didn’t go down to well in the white man’s world, and the offer was refused.
In this novel Fergus imagines what would have happened had the US govt decided to go along with this Cheyenne idea. In secret, of course.
by Celia Rees
Mary doesn’t know her parents, she has lived her life with her grandmother. But in 1659 a witchfinder comes to her village and her grandmother is found guilty of witchcraft, by virtue of the fact that she floats in water, and killed. Mary might be next, but she is rescued by a mysterious, rich, well-dressed woman, and sent across the ocean in the company of some Puritans.