In 1865, my heroine in AT LIBERTY TO LOVE (book seven in the Texas Romance series) wanted to go from northeast Texas (Red River County) to San Francisco. Her trip began in downtown Clarksville, the county seat, where the Donoho Hotel served as the station.
Work a jigsaw PUZZLE !!
The coach took the Jefferson Trace, about one hundred miles south and east. It could travel about ten miles before changing teams, so they made about ten stops along the way including at Cuthand, Mount Pleasant, and Daingerfield to name a few. It took about twelve hours. Work another PUZZLE !!
The same trip thirty-three years earlier in 1832, when the widow Sue Baylor made a valiant effort to get her cotton crop to market in book one, VOW UNBROKEN, lasted ten days with no setbacks. It took her lots longer.
Work a jigsaw PUZZLE !!
From Jefferson, my AT LIBERTY TO LOVE heroine took a short steamboat ride down the Red River to the Mississippi for five days to get down to New Orleans.
Those river steamboats were a lower draft where they could also go upriver farther. They were older and smaller. The steamships built to navigate the Gulf and Pacific were larger and drew more water (the draft is how much the boat set into the water. These ship’s bread and butter were the U.S. mail contracts. Freight and passengers were the gravy.
Bands played, and gaming rooms presented a diversion for those inclined to take a chance. This all filled the top deck; those passengers’ lavish suites offered private balconies to enjoy the ocean breezes and magnificent water sunsets and rises.
Steerage, two decks down, could be as inexpensive as fifteen dollars while first class might set the traveler back over fifty. The floor in between cost less than first class and offered fewer amenities; leaving off most all of the elegant accommodations, the middle deck gave the business man and his wife—perhaps traveling with their children—a more affordable fare.
The next floor down, steerage, got no meals included with passage. They were purchased separately, and there could be as many as six packed into a single room. Of course, tickets didn’t cost as much as above, and the decks never mixed. Cheapest passage was on the lowest level, underwater—space in the boiler room or cargo hold as you could find it. This is where the ‘wooders’ rode.
Travelers could opt to go cross county by stage and arrive in as few as twenty-two, but the ride proved rough and the warring tribe of Indians always posed a danger. Most thought nice accommodations and safety outweighed the time factor.
As Marcus Ford, my hero in AT LIBERTY TO LOVE discovered, one could work his way on a steamship serving as a wooder. Spending four hours of every twelve shoveling coal to feed the boiler was grueling, monotonous work. And dangerous, too, considering if the boiler did blow, those men were goners for sure. And shirkers could be summarily tossed overboard. The captain was king.
AT LIBERTY TO LOVE, book seven in the highly successful Texas Romance historical series, has just debuted May 27th and is now available in print or digital formats.
Profound loneliness propels a childless widow west with the idea of choosing an orphan to share her life. On the way, a fellow traveler takes her by surprise. She never dreams, is unprepared, doesn’t need another man, but can’t get him out of her head…or heart. He’s so perfect—every bit the one she’d searched for as a young woman—except his mistrust of God has erected a wall she cannot breach.
Marcus Ford blames God and struggles for peace after losing his wife and baby. Not once has he considered another woman could be the answer, but the widow is like none other he’s ever met. He falls hard, but plans are taking him east. Hope dashed sends two hearts into the pit. If only Ford could forgive God or the widow ease up on her adamant resolve.
Will God’s mercy shine a beacon in the fog of despair and prove sufficient to heal their souls?
Stepping off the last stair, she approached. He inhaled deeply then shook his head. “Oh my.” He drew in another long breath, closing his eyes. “You smell better than you look. I mean, you look outstanding, but your fragrance is even better. Not that you didn’t smell good before… I mean…” He finally just shrugged. “Your appearance shames me. I should have brought my dress blues.”
She grinned. “I understand, but here.” She handed him her door key. “On my couch, you’ll some new threads…the least Henry Buckmeyer could do.”
At first, he didn’t take it, then scooped it up like a kid in a candy store and took the stairs two at a time.
“I’ll wait on the deck, just outside the dining room.”
He waved one hand but didn’t look back.
Might do the man a bit of good to have his pride pricked. She chuckled, so enjoying the highly pleasant distraction he afforded.
Took the man longer than expected, but the wait worth it, the readymade suit fit perfect, she loved the shirt’s high collar and how it seemed to choke him.
He grinned then extended his arm. “Thank you.”
She slipped her hand under then over his offering. “You’re welcome.” She glanced down. He’d shined his boots. Per chance that accounted for the extra time.
REVIEWS: At Liberty To Love shows how God can speak through dreams, visions and small children. As God spoke in biblical times, so He can still speak that way today. There are some wonderful exchanges of dialogue with four year old Michael. Caryl McAdoo demonstrates the power of trust and faith. "Nothing was too hard for God" Who shows that He loves to step in and make the seemingly impossible, possible. Another great offering from Caryl McAdoo. --Julia Wilson, Worchester, England reader
I’ve followed Henry Buckmeyer and his family since the first book, "Vow Unbroken" and couldn't wait for this one. Could this be the true love the widow has never known before? At Liberty To Love as always, gives glory to God. All Caryl McAdoo’s stories are uplifting and truly enjoyable. I highly recommend this one and all of the stories in the Texas Romance series. --Michelle Beach, Clinton, New York reader
With characters that charm, and scenes that tug at our heart strings, Caryl McAdoo keeps us reading well past our bedtimes. Mrs. McAdoo has woven yet another Texas tall tale to keep us flipping pages. The mistress of the Texas yarn, her Texas dialect tantalizes from start to finish. At Liberty to Love made this reviewer fall in love with fictional people who seem so real that they almost breathe. This character-driven, well-crafted novel is a keeper. I’m adding it to my collection of Texas Romances by Caryl McAdoo. --Cassandra Wessel, Tionesta, Pennsylvania multi-published author of devotionals
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Another PUZZLE !! Woo Hoo!
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