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Guest Blogger: Anna Kathryn Lanier

salvationbride_mediumI’ve invited a guest to visit with us here today on Slip Into Something Victorian. I’ve recently read the novella length short story, Salvation Bride, a Wild Rose Press e-book, by Anna Kathryn Lanier. The story is set in 1873, so it fits into the Victorian era—a favorite time period of mine—but it particularly intrigued me because the heroine was a practicing physician—not a popular occupation for a woman in this time period—who was moving to the town of Salvation to be the mail order bride of the hero, a widower, who wanted his new wife to be a housekeeper and mother to his young daughter.
 
Without giving anything away, I can tell you this was a great read, full of excitement with an emotionally satisfying ending. And everyone who posts a comment today will be entered in a contest to win a free download of Salvation Bride. Winner will be announced here tomorrow.
 
So, now I’d like to welcome Anna.
 
Hi, Susan.  Thanks so much for having me today.  I enjoyed doing research for this story, because I sometimes think we forget that some women have always ‘lived outside the box’ society put them in. 
 
As Susan said above,  in my novella SALVATION BRIDE, the heroine is an apprentice trained doctor. During the 1800’s, one became a doctor by apprenticing him- or herself, attending medical school or simply purchasing a diploma and hanging out a shingle.  In BLEED, BLISTER AND PURGE: A History of Medicine on the American Frontier, Volney Steele, M.D. tells us that the  apprenticeship or “preceptorship was creatively American.” (14)  The apprentice would ride along with a  qualified doctor, assisting and observing for a set period of time.  Often, the apprenticeship was combined with a formal education and after both were adequately completed, a diploma was issued.
 
 Laura Ashton did not attend medical school. Her training was given under the tutelage of her uncle, a school trained doctor and Civil War veteran.    When the niece and uncle realize that he is dying, they know plans must be made for Laura’s future.  She is not safe in the town she lives in.  Uncle John suggests she reply to one of the many mail-order bride advertisements popular at the time.  He warns, however, that she keep her complete training to herself.  Very few men would appreciate a fully trained doctor as a wife. 
 
Following Uncle John’s advise, Laura tells her choice for a husband, Sheriff David Slade, that she is a midwife and he readily accepts her declaration.  Salvation, Texas is a small town.  Even a midwife would be welcomed.  Laura plans to tell David the truth before their marriage, but circumstances force them to marry the very day she arrives in Salvation. 
 
As an author, this situation sets up a lot of conflict.  Laura is trained to heal the sick and injured, but she’s afraid of how her husband and his town will react to her profession.  In BLEED, BLISTER AND PURGE, Steele says, “The restrictive rules of eastern society were bent, if not abandoned [in the west]. Nevertheless, the treatment of women in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was far from equal, even in the west, and many woman had to struggle for acceptance in their communities.” However, Steele goes on to say, that the urgent need for doctors to fight such conditions as smallpox, whooping cough, scurvy and cholera hastened the acceptance of women as physicians. (204)
 
Laura knows she has to tell her husband of her profession.  Unfortunately, his reaction to the news is much as she expected it to be.
 
Unedited Excerpt:
 
Texas, 1873
 
      They ate in awkward silence for a few minutes. Laura glanced his way a few times, but seemed reluctant to speak. And who could blame her. He’d cut off her questions twice now.
      “You said you were a midwife. Have you delivered many babies?” he asked, not ready to discuss his life yet.
      She stared across the table, her fork halfway to her mouth. Biting her lower lip, she placed her fork on her plate, the mashed potatoes still on it. Her hands clenched into fists on the table.
      “Actually, Sheriff, I’m more than a midwife. My uncle was a university-trained doctor. He wanted an apprentice and when I came to live with him eight years ago, he decided to teach me the medical profession.”
      She stopped speaking and stared at him, a mixture of pride and apprehension in her eyes. He knitted his brows. What exactly was she saying?
      “That means I am not just a midwife who delivers babies. I am a fully trained medical doctor. I have set broken bones, stitched cuts and performed surgeries.”
      He knew of doctors from the war—the butchers who would just as soon cut off a man’s leg as try to save it. He was thankful that was one hell he’d never had to face.
      “Does Salvation have a doctor?” she asked.
      He shook off his thoughts. “No. We’ve never had a doctor that I recall.”
      A small smile tipped her lips. “I would very much like to practice medicine, Sheriff. If the town doesn’t already have a doctor, then it is in sore need of one, isn’t it?”
      Betrayal raced through him.
      She’d lied!  She hadn’t come to Salvation to be his wife or Ginny’s mother. No, she’d come to Salvation to be the town’s doctor. Damn it!  His daughter, his ranch, he himself wasn’t enough for her. She wanted more.
      “No.”
      She blinked slowly. “I beg your pardon?”
      “You came here to be my wife. You never said anything about practicing medicine. Do you think because I needed your dowry that I can’t provide for you? Do you think you need to work to put food on the table?”
      She shook her head. “Of course not. It’s doubtful I’d make enough out here to matter anyway. I just—”
      “You just what? Thought you could lie to me and I’d just ignore it?” He stood, his dinner unfinished. “No wife of mine is going to work and she certainly isn’t going to practice medicine. Most of the population is male. That’s why I had to look East for a wife.”
      “I never lied.”
      “No? Well, I suppose you didn’t. You just never told me the whole truth. You said you were a midwife and hoped I’d understand you wanted to continue with doing that. Fine, you can deliver babies, but doing medical things on a man is something else and I won’t allow it!”
      Ginny stared at him wide-eyed and he realized he’d raised his voice. Laura looked equally astonished, but she didn’t reply. Setting his mouth, he stalked to the door.
      “I’m going for a walk.”
      He stopped from slamming the door. Ginny already thought he’d gone mad. Lord, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d gotten angry, let alone raised his voice. What was Laura doing to him?
      He crossed the yard to the grave. Glaring at it, he stalked past it, needing to burn off his anger before he returned to the house.
      What the hell had she been thinking by not telling him? He had enough to worry about without the snickering of the community added to it. If he’d known she hadn’t answer his advertisement just to be his wife, he’d have thought twice before proposing to her. Which was why she hadn’t told him.
      Blast it!
      What would his friends think of his wife practicing medicine? Of earning her own money? The only women who worked in Salvation either worked in their husband’s businesses or on their backs at the Red Door Saloon. He wasn’t a doctor and she wasn’t going to prostitute herself in front of the town. He didn’t need money that bad!
      She was being selfish, just as Angie had been throughout their marriage. He’d brought Laura here to be a mother to Ginny, to care for his house and to be the wife he’d never had.
      True, Salvation did need a doctor…. 
      But he and Ginny needed her, too. Couldn’t she see that?
     
My novella, SALVATION BRIDE has received a 5 book review from Long and Short of it Reviews.  Lilac said, “”Salvation Bride” is a wonderful story that I would definitely recommend!”
 
Read Lilac’s review here.
     
She rode into town for her own deliverance, but will Doctor Laura Ashton heal Sheriff David Slade’s pain before the dark secret in her past turns up to steal his SALVATION BRIDE?
SALVATION BRIDE is available from The Wild Rose Press and Fictionwise.
 
Learn more about my stories at http://aklanier.com and http://annakathrynlanier.blogspot.com/.
 
Thanks so much for having me here today, Susan
 
 
 
 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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29 Comments

  1. Good morning, Susan and Anna Kathryn! I’ve read Salvation Bride and enjoyed it very much!

  2. Anna Kathryn says:

    Hi Susan and Christina. Thanks so much for the comment about my story, Christina. I will actually be out of the house for the day (going antiquing), but will check in this evening. In the meantime, I forgot to say that my story is on sale this month at The Wild Rose Press. So, now’s the time to buy a copy!

  3. Well not the best way to take the news, huh? Wonderful excerpt.

    Even now, some men have problems with their wife earning money outside the home (I wish my husband did, LOL) but it’s amazing how things continue to change.

    The how-to-be-a-doctor information was extremently interesting.

    I can’t wait to read the book.

  4. Thanks for visiting us here on Slip Into Something Victorian, Anna! As I already told you, I loved Salvation Bride.

    Remember, all who comment will have the chance to win a pdf download of Anna’s story.

  5. Nancy says:

    The Title did not interest me, nor did the fact that the story was set in the west in late 19th century; the excerpt , however, made me want to read the whole. Intriguing situation.
    .

  6. As a fan of Anna K, I had to come by and encourage you to read this wonderful story. I have, and thoroughly enjoyed it. She really brings to life the dilemma of women holding a position considered more appropriate for a man, and all the challenges it brought Ginny. It’s hard to imagine the struggles she faced, but for me, the fear of being a mail-order bride would be a far scarier thing. *lol* Salvation Bride is truly an entertaining read. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

  7. Tess says:

    Wonderful excerpt, Anna!! Can’t wait to read it!

  8. Nancy says:

    The psychology of the “mail order ” bride is interesting, from both sides. How could a man object to what he gets from an advertisement? How in the world did women agree to marry a stranger? I know that in many cultures the couple barely know each other beforemarriage, but that does not lessen a female’s fears of being intimate with someone she doesn’t know.

  9. Judy Cox says:

    Great excerpt. I love your cover!! I know I will enjoy this book.

  10. Skhye says:

    Interesting post. I think we as a culture in the post-industrial USA often impose our perception of reality on people in other times, including our own histories (i.e. think ancestry not USA). I’ve found in literature, anthropology, and history courses that students typically can’t grasp the differences in lifeways found in superstructure (thought) during other time periods they attempt to study. So, my point is that we can’t promote writing about people living outside the box WITHOUT doing adequate research. The US culture ALLOWED for the leniency in cultural boundaries for women to move into medicine. BLEED, BLISTER, AND PURGE sounds like a good book to refer to when trying to authenticate an outside-the-box entrepeneur character of the historical West. 🙂 Skhye

  11. So glad to have you with us today. I’ve just done research on Nevada’s first woman doctor and found the subject to be so interesting. Sometimes we forget just how far women have progressed over the years.

  12. As a fan of the early years of Medicine Woman on TV, this sounds like a great read Anna! I enjoyed the excerpt very much.

  13. Another great story from Anna K.! I felt the hero’s emotion in the scene you chose. Loved it.

  14. Emma Lai says:

    I’ve already got my copy, but I wanted to stop by and say “Howdy!” Great interview!

  15. Anna, I LOVED this story!!! I couldn’t put it down – except to make dinner & sleep. lol But you wrote a winner with this one!

    ~Phyllis~

  16. Anna, loved your excerpt! I totally can’t wait to read the book. Mail order brides are a favorite.

    ~Caroline

  17. Isabel Roman says:

    Sounds like a great story, and thank you for joining us today.I think it took a lot of courage to not only defy convention and become a female doctor, but also to be a mail order bride.

    Then again, I can’t imagine being a mail order bride, but then I also can’t imagine living in the middle of nowhere either, lol. I’m such the East Coast girl though

  18. carolyndee says:

    I love Anna Kathryn’s writing and am so intrigued by this excerpt that I can hardly wait to order and read it.

  19. Jean P says:

    Interesting title, loved the excerpt, can’t wait to read the whole book.

  20. Sounds like a great story with deep seated conflict. Intriguing excerpt!

    Enjoying your blog here today!

    Jeanmarie

  21. Carol Jo Kachmar says:

    This sounds like a wonderful story. I just love heroines who step outside their society’s restriction on women. The excerpt really makes the conflict clear and compelling.

  22. I swear I’d purchased that book before, but I can’t find it on my computer–which means I didn’t. And now it’s on sale! How great is that, because your excerpt has me itching to dive in. I’m ordering right away.

    Thanks for being here, Anna Kathryn. Great post!

  23. lorettaC says:

    I have read this book and enjoyed it very much.

  24. Anna Kathryn says:

    Wow, thanks everyone for coming by today. I loved reading your comments. I happened to drive in area where I’ve set Salvation, TX. Okay, I hadn’t been there before…lol. I hope I did it justice in the book, because is gorgeous country with lots of rolling hills, trees and pastures. Very beautiful.

    Susan will draw a winner for a copy of SALVATION BRIDE. Good luck to everyone and who ever wins, I hope they enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

  25. Paty Jager says:

    Interesting information and a great excerpt! Congrats on a wonderful story.

  26. MarthaE says:

    Hi Susan and Anna – Sounds like a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing! mesreads[at]gmail[dot]com

  27. Ciara Gold says:

    Hey Anna, this sounds like a great story. Loved the excerpt. Sounds like you really did your research. I love the idea of the mail order bride. Without the part about being a doctor, this would still have potential for great conflict. My great grandmother traveled across the ocean to marry a man she’d never met, so I tend to connect with this whole scenario.

  28. Caffey says:

    Hi Anna! I loved this book! I just wanted to come by and say hello and tell the others not to miss this one!!

  29. Very interesting post, and the cover is done well:)

    All the best with it!

    Lo

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