Book spotlight - CM Huddleston’s historical fiction chronicles adventures of Jemima Boone following her father Daniel into Kentucky wilderness
Imagine ... a young girl trekking across uncharted wilderness with her family in search of a new home in a new land. That's exactly the story author C.M. (Connie) Huddleston unfolds in her newest historical fiction for tweens, young adults, and even adults, Caintuck Lies Within My Soul: The Jemima Boone Story.
Join me on a Cat's Corner Book Spotlight to ....
About the Book
Title: Caintuck Lies Within My Soul | Author: C.M. Huddleston | Publication Date: February 2020 | Publisher: Interpreting Times Past Press | Pages: 222 | Recommended Ages: 11-16
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Caintuck Lies Within My Soul: The Jemima Boone Story is an historical biography that presents the story of Jemima Boone, Daniel's daughter. Written in novel form, C.M. Huddleston relates the story of Jemima's life, especially her dream of moving west of the Appalachian Mountains to live on America's first frontier.
Set during America's Revolutionary War, Jemima's experiences west of the mountains include her capture by Indians and the 1778 siege of Boonesborough. Based on years of historical research, this historically accurate novel relates one of America's great adventure stories.
with Award-winning writer, C. M. (Connie) Huddleston
Cat: What inspired you to write this book?
CM: Since I can remember, I had a great interest in Kentucky history, especially the early explorations. I have read more Daniel Boone bios than I can remember. I especially like Robert Morgan’s “Boone: A Biography.” Then a several years ago, I discovered few young Kentuckians know who Jemima Boone was! They hadn’t even heard the story of her kidnapping. So, I decided she would be my next protagonist.
Cat: I'm so impressed with your real-life connection to Jemima and that you live in a log cabin! Do you have other personal connections to Kentucky and pioneer women like Jemima Boone?
CM: I do! Sukey Thomas Miller, my fourth-great-grandmother, was a Kentucky pioneer. She dared to travel west for a new life beyond the Appalachians.
Cat: That is so cool that you can trace your family's roots. What’s your next project?
CM: Oh, heavens, can you tell me? Right now, I have just finished the edits on a bio of James Stephens Bulloch, Theodore Roosevelt’s maternal grandfather. It will be released late in February at his former home in Roswell, Georgia. My brain has been tied up with these two projects. Perhaps in a month or so, I’ll know!
Cat: How about another historical fiction for your next project, please? What's your favorite book you read as a child? Bet it's about an historic event.
CM: For years, when I visited my grandmother, I read and re-read a book called The Ark by Margot Benary-Isbert.
This book tells a story of survival in post war Germany.
I really don’t remember the story now, but I plan to re-read it soon, you see, I now own that book once located in the upstairs bedroom of a house that holds so many great memories.
Cat: Wow! You have the original book from your childhood readings. Favorite genre to read OR last book you finished?
CM: Historical fiction. I just finished The Last Letter from Juliet by Melanie Hudson. WOW! I could not stop reading, turning the page, and enjoying this fabulous story of a woman aviator of WWII.
Cat: "Last Letter" is another book for my TBR stack. Change of pace from history and writing here, Connie: If you could be be a Disney character, who would you be, and why?
CM: I'd want to be like Uncle Remus (but not like the stereotyped character in the film).
I love to tell stories as he did, and have been told I am good at it.
Cat: I think you're a great storyteller, too -:D. Hey, make us hungry. What’s your favorite dessert?
CM: Anything with apples, apple pie, apple cake, apple tart with crème Anglaise, apple strudel, etc.
Cat: Yum! Nothing like the smell of apples baking. One last question... what else might readers like to know about you, Connie?
CM: I started writing fiction late in life after careers as a teacher, archaeologist, and historic preservation consultant. I am now happily enjoying putting stories on paper. I especially enjoy the research needed to write good historical fiction.
Cat: I'm not surprised you love research and historical fiction, Connie. And you're an archaeologist, too! Your skills blend perfectly in Jemima's tale.
We'll give you a short break from authoring after releasing two books this winter -:D Thanks for stopping by Cat's Corner and sharing your newest tale. All the best and happy tales!
The author's depth of knowledge and research are evident in this book. Huddleston introduces readers to Daniel Boone and his wife, Rebecca, early in their marriage as Jemima is born in 1762, the fourth of the couple’s ten children. This section is written in a third-person point of view to lures readers into the setting and 18th-century time period.
"Still small for her age, Jemima unfailingly did her chores, never complaining, as long as she had time to fish, hunt ginseng, and wander the surrounding hills. She still begged her older brothers to teach her to shoot, but always out of her mother’s hearing. Rebecca had promised her daughter that she could learn just as soon as she turned eight years old." *
As Jemima grows to adolescence and moves west with her family, the author reveals her protagonist in a captivating first-person voice, even hinting of a misdirected flirtation that will appeal to young adult readers.
"As Simon left our cabin, he pulled me outside for a private word. “Jemima, while I applaud your brave actions comin’ to my aid today, I’d prefer you stayed safely out of harm, as I like my women alive when I court them.”
“I guess you better stay out of the way of Indians, then as I also prefer my beaus alive and in one piece," I stammered. “Besides, I was savin’ my Daddy, not your worthless hide,” I shouted.
Thinking I’d ended this conversation, I’d turned toward the cabin when Simon whirled me around and kissed my thoroughly. That man did know how to kiss a girl." *
This transition to the main character's voice makes the passages feel as if Mima is talking directly to readers. It took awhile for me to get used to the dialogue written in old-timey dialect, but it gives the book a more authentic feel and does not distract.
Huddleston chronicles Mima through marriage, birth, and Indian scares. I especially enjoyed the true-to-life scene with the family gathered round their patriarch, Daniel Boone, reading a then-current book written about his accomplishments.
I highly recommend Caintuck Lies Within My Soul: The Jemima Boone Story for older readers and young adults. I can also see it used in the classroom for supplementary reading in a history course. American History buffs will not be able to get enough of this tale, and they will be impressed by C. M. Huddleston's respect for research and accurate portrayal.
Excerpts: "Caintuck Lies Within My Soul," by C. M. Huddleston
About the Author
Connie M. Huddleston loved history and dreamed of writing a book even as a child. However, she got sidetracked. She became an Army wife, a mother, an elementary school teacher, an archaeologist, and an historic preservation consultant, before publishing her first book!
In February 2019, she published her fourteenth and fifteenth volumes, all dealing with her first love, our nation’s past. Seven are fiction, five for children and two for YA/Adult, all under the name C.M. Huddleston. Her other works are histories for adults on a variety of subjects including four about President Theodore Roosevelt’s maternal family.
Now a full time author, Connie resides in a log cabin near Crab Orchard, Kentucky, with her husband and their Australian Shepherd Katie. They all enjoy the quiet of rural Kentucky.
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How are you and yours in these wild times of Covid-19?
As an author, I usually don’t have trouble finding words, but this global pandemic is insane. I struggle to stay upbeat and decide what to write to you. Forced jolliness doesn't suit me. Ditto with gloom and doom.
Yet, I want to reach out and connect.
That’s why I’m revealing very personal take-aways from my third week of self-isolating in the #Gr8Blogs Coping in Coronaville Blog Hop and share how a simple flower gives me hope.
Let's commiserate and encourage each other as humanity morphs into crisis. Please read on to find why I refuse to waste away in Coronaville. Then find more ideas and inspiration from my #Gr8Blogs partners at the bottom of this post.
3 Weeks of Social Distancing and My New Normal
It’s our third week of social distancing here in central North Carolina since Hub developed what we now know was a common cold. We were alarmed at first. It was early days for the US outbreak, so we didn’t know what to expect. We self-quarantined, watching symptoms develop from six feet away. I did my best to tamp down anxiety and stay hopeful, but I was scared.
Fortunately, Hub never developed a cough or fever, and I never caught any of his symptoms. <knocking on wood here>.
He and I are beyond blessed!
We continue social-distancing despite being healthy. It’s an easy adjustment since we both work from home. We stick to our established schedules and have enough food and supplies.
Hub works on projects and his third ginormous jigsaw puzzle. I edit book drafts and send manuscripts for my middle-grade tale to beta readers. To stay active, I work in my new garden and practice yoga from an app instead of the gym.
TBH, I’m anxious about hovering at that age bracket, where we are advised to take extra precautions and stay home. That’s why online grocery shopping has become our latest venture.
It’s also why shaggy hair is my new normal after cancelling my monthly haircut appointment with Betsy. She’s been styling my hair for 20 years and is near retirement age. I worry about her and other small business owners trying to stay afloat. I mail Betsy a check for the missed haircut just the same; it had been earmarked for her all along.
I fret about the pandemic’s ripple effect. I believe its fallout will be with us long after everyone recovers physically. Unprecedented layoffs. Kids depending on school lunches looking elsewhere for food, or, worse, going without. Sigh.
I watch newsfeeds of empty city streets juxtaposed against vacationers frolicking on beaches. It frustrates me that some people still don't get it, and more will die before reality sinks in.
I gasp seeing military convoys in Italy carrying bodies to final resting places because local officials cannot handle rising mortality rates.
I worry most about health care workers on the front lines, who don’t have adequate supplies or equipment to protect them. Having to choose between saving their patients or staying alive for their families is a choice no one should ever have to make.
I Refuse to be Wasting Away in Coronaville
See how easy it is slip down a dark hole of fear and despair!
Instead, I seek kindness and light.
Like schools providing lunches to kids despite shuttered classrooms.
Distilleries crafting and giving away hand sanitizer instead of whiskey.
Neighbors offering to fetch groceries for those at high risk.
Relatives gathering outside a nursing home window
to sing happy birthday to an elderly loved one quarantined inside.
I chill and take a cue from my garden.
From my office window, I can see a beautiful Lenten Rose (Hellebore) resting in rich black soil. Transplanted from my former garden, it survived two winters in a plastic pot before a place was ready for its new home.
This perennial’s unique blush-pink double blooms dazzle and always bring a smile.
So, from my garden for YOU ...
I'm sharing the aptly named
Lovely and reliable …
Tough as nails, bouncing back every winter
no matter what …
Lifts the heart on dark days ...
We all need more of a Lenten Rose spirit!
(or you could say, "give 'em Hellebore" -:D)
You are in my heart.
We’re gonna get through this!
These are unprecedented and distressing times. What are you doing to stay calm and sane? Please share in the comment section.
But before you go ... click over to these #Gr8Blogs for more inspiration.
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