Life Goes On

I bought this 1862 letter mainly because of the patriotic letterhead, which depicts Elmer E. Ellsworth, an early casualty of the Civil War, shot while he was exiting the Marshall House hotel in Alexandria after removing a Confederate flag from its roof. As the transcript shows, however, it’s a nice reminder of how ordinary life …

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A Visit to North Elba

One of the greatest thrills for a historical novelist is being able to walk in his or her characters’ footsteps by visiting the places where they once lived. I first got this privilege while writing The Traitor’s Wife, when I visited the De Clare/Despenser stronghold of Caerphilly Castle, and most recently when researching my novel …

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What’s New?

Recently, I added this nifty carte-de-visite to my modest collection of Lincoln memorabilia–a memorial photograph that’s a composite of photos taken during his presidency. Aside from what’s new in my collection, what’s new in my writing? While awaiting publication of The First Lady and the Rebel (coming in October!) I’ve been busy working on another …

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The Great Couch Dust-Up: A Letter from Phoebe Yates Pember to Emily Todd Helm

While doing research for The First Lady and the Rebel, my forthcoming novel about Mary Lincoln and her Confederate half-sister, Emily Todd Helm, I visited the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort to look through Emily’s papers. Among the many wartime letters addressed to Emily is this one from a famous correspondent: Phoebe Yates Pember, who …

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