Tuesday, February 1, 2022

NOVELS AND CIGARS by Marisa Masterson

 Amazing, but I can find something to jazz my imagination at every place I visit. Maybe you're like that, too. By this time, my hubby's so used to it that he only smiles, bless him! 

This week I am in St. Augustine, Florida. Hubby and I took a trolley ride around the historic district. At an old brick building with twemty-seven stars decorating one side of it, the guide told us a fact I'd never heard. 

Zing! I knew then what I wanted to tell you about in this blog entry. The written word and better cigars.

Cigars. The old building was the Solla-Carcaba cigar factory. Skilled women sat for twelve hour shifts hand rolling the tobacco. (This was prior to the Great Depression when cigarettes displaced cigars in populatiry. Also, machines replaced these women, doing the rolling much more cheaply.

What captivated me was not the idea of these women creating the cigars. No, it was the reader. Before my trolley tour, I'd never heard about the men hired to read to the women. These men filled the factory with their voices, reading whatever was agreed on by popular concensus. Novels, newspapers. Anything to help the time pass, focusing the workers as their hands continued to nimbly roll. (They could each produce up to 300 cigars each day.)

Many of these skilled workers were illiterate. The reader would sit above them on a raised platform and open to them a world they could not otherwise experience. I love this part of it!


Maggie Jorgensen knows an escaped criminal is stalking her. U.S. marshal Reg Parker has a solution--send her to Denver as a mail-order bride.

After his passionate kiss, Maggie is confused. Why would Reg send her to another man? And why is her Denver groom missing?


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