Author Sets Historic Novellas in St. Charles
Series of three historic romance novellas are set in post-Civil War St. Charles.
An historic fiction writer, Mona Hodgson was inspired 13 years ago when she visited St. Charles.
Hodgson, who is from Arizona, was taken with the charm of the cobblestone streets, the proximity to the river, the historic buildings.
"At the time I was writing children's books and I hadn't been published yet, but I knew it would make a great setting for a story," she said.
This year, she'll publish three novellas set in St. Charles in 1865. The first book, Dandelions on the Wind, is available for download as an e-book now. The other two will be out April 2 and May 21.
The books will be released as a hard print collection in early 2014. A launch party will be held in St. Charles at that point, Hodgson said.
"The Quilted Heart" series tells the stories of three woman in the post-Civil War era, at a time when some men came home from the war and others didn't.
The heroine in the first novella is a mail-order bride who was rejected by her would-be husband. She decides to stay in St. Charles and work on a farm. She eventually falls for the owner of the farm who recently returned from war and must decide whether that's the right path for her.
All three of the women in the novellas are members of a quilting circle and rely on the group for guidance and advice. Some end up staying in St. Charles, while others consider leaving.
The series is linked to Hodgson's historic romance series, "The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek," which is set in the 1890s in Cripple Creek, Colorado. Two characters appear in both sets of books.
"I love bridging the stories," Hodgson said. "It'll be a neat repeat. I've heard from so many fans who were so sad to see the Cripple Creek characters go."
Last March, Hodgson visited St. Charles to conduct some historic research on the town for her books. She visited the St. Charles County Historical Society and toured the area.
Hodgson said she tries to include some real-life characters and real-life places in her stories, including Mary Sibley, founder of Lindenwood University.
Lindenwood University also makes an appearance in book two of the series, "Bending Toward the Sun," as one of the main characters attends the school.
Hodgson is also working on her next set of books, "Prairie Song," which follows a few of the characters from "The Quilted Heart" who head out West on a wagon train. This book is set to be released Aug. 6.
Read more from Mona Hodgson in her blog posts on Patch.