Friday, November 18, 2016

Marguerite Gray is writing a great book she hasn't published yet!

Did you ever read half way through a book that you loved and you didn’t get to finish it? I did and I think about the book often.  Through the most unusual circumstances, I haven’t been able to finish the book. Let me tell you what happened.

Sometimes I participate in a group of online writers who critique one another’s work. It is sponsored by ACFW. A few years ago, I got to know Marguerite Martin Gray, an outstanding writer in the group. In the group, writers submit chapters of their work to be criticized by other authors in exchange for the same service. I digress. It turned out that she grew up in the town, Ruston, Louisiana, where I was living at the time, but I never knew her then. It was a coincidence.
Marguerite made some great suggestions on two books I was working on at the same time, The Dream Bucket and The Courtship of Miss Loretta Larson. In the meantime, I started reading her book, Promises of Purity. It’s the one I have not yet had the privilege of finishing. This book haunts me, and I cannot wait to finish it, even though it’s been two years since I read the first half of it.

Marguerite, a brilliant historian, can take her readers back three or four hundred years. Since she knows the events and customs of England in the 1600’s and the American colonies during the 1700’s, she is comfortable telling her stories without giving the reader the feeling she’s groping for details. She can depict convincing stories on either side of the Atlantic.

Promises of Purity took place mostly in 1681 in Sinclair Bakery, with deep insight into the struggle of the Roundheads with King Charles. One of my favorite scenes involved the King’s pet dogs. The romance in this novel is outstanding.

In the meantime, Marguerite has published two books about life in South Carolina during the 1700’s. They are good, but I still await Promise of Purity. Her first book, Hold Me Close, is a tender love story about a young woman, who (I suspect) is Marguerite’s ancestor. The second one, Surround Me,is new. I’ve just finished it,  and I highly recommend it.

(Jonquils at the Blacksmith Shop, Jonquil Jubilee in Gibsland)

Did you ever hope to meet a writer whose work you enjoyed? My husband and I met her, along with her family at a book signing at Jonquil Jubilee in March 2016.  

I wanted Marguerite to read Travelers in Painted Wagons on Cohay Creek, but I wasn’t sure what she’d think. Marguerite writes of lace gloves, fancy cups of tea, and characters who play Bach on the pianoforte. I was afraid of what she would think of the new book by Sarah Walker Gorrell and me about clans of Travelers living close to the earth and playing their music on fiddles and accordions. 

Despite my shyness, I asked Marguerite to read it, and here is what she said: 
This review is from: Travelers in Painted Wagons: On Cohay Creek (Covington Chronicles) (Volume 5) (Paperback) 
Travelers in Painted Wagons gives a realistic, earthy view of life in the early 1900's in Mississippi. The story follows a time when gypsies roamed from place to place in the States cultivating friendships and spurring enemies to action. I enjoyed learning a bit of history through the lives of the gypsies and the common citizens. (5 stars)

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