Why Isabelle d’Angoulême is hard to love: Guest Post by Sharon Bennett Connolly

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I’m delighted to welcome Sharon Bennett Connolly back to my blog! I’ve known Sharon since her blogging days, and was delighted when she began to publish her biographies of historical women, including her brand-new one, Ladies of Magna Carta. Today’s …

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The Sister Who Dated Lincoln First: Frances Todd Wallace

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In the 1830s, Miss Frances Todd, living with her married sister Elizabeth Edwards in Springfield, Illinois, went out once or twice with one of the town’s up-and-coming lawyers, but found him to be insufficiently social, so the relationship, if it …

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The Other Henry and Clara

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(Originally published in The Surratt Courier, a publication of the Surratt Society) Among its other consequences, Abraham Lincoln’s assassination would upend the lives of not one, but two young couples named Henry and Clara. The first—Henry Rathbone and his stepsister/fiancée, …

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Jason Brown’s “Honey Moon”

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As part of my research into my novel-in-progress, John Brown’s Women, I came across this delightful letter from Jason Brown, John Brown’s second son, to his sister Ruth Brown, in the Edwin Cotter Collection held by the State University of …

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The First Lady and the Rebel: An Outtake

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Like most novels, The First Lady and the Rebel underwent revisions on its path to publication (look for it on October 1!). This is the epilogue in the first draft. It was replaced by one that I felt was more …

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Life Goes On

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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 …

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Benjamin Hardin Helm’s Last Will and Testament

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As long-term readers of this blog will know, I’m fond of wills, and I was pleased to find that one major character in The First Lady and the Rebel, Emily Todd Helm’s husband Benjamin Hardin Helm, left one behind. (Abraham …

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A Visit to North Elba

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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 …

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A Memorial Day Tribute to Charles P. Tidd and Carrie Cutter

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This Memorial Day, I’m remembering, Sgt. Charles P. Tidd, and his friend and nurse, Carrie Cutter, both of whom died in service to their country. Tidd, one of John Brown’s raiders, evaded capture after the raid. After the Civil War …

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What’s New?

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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 …

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