Monday, September 17, 2012

Henry Knox's Tenacious Bride

Lucy Flucker Knox

One woman, barely noted in Soldiers Don't Cry but deserves to have her story told, is the plucky Lucy Flucker Knox. She was born in 1756 (died in 1824). As you will read in Soldiers Don't Cry (soon to be released) Lucy was from a loyalist family (her father was the Royal Secretary of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, and her brother served in the British army). She was the kind of woman that melodramas were based upon.  She went against her parent's wishes when she married Henry Knox, a bookseller and Whig. They disapproved of the match because he was not of her social class, nor could he as book seller provide for her the life which which she was accustomed. To make matters worse, his political leanings as a patriot went against everything for which her family stood. When the British forces abandoned Boston in March 1776, the Fluckers fled, turning estrangement from Lucy into permanent separation. This may explain why Lucy cleaved all the more strongly to Henry. She had no other close family besides him and his brother. Lucy Knox attempted to help her brother-in-law run the bookseller business for a while during the war, but the business failed. She also stayed with friends or in rented lodgings at times during the war, but she always preferred to be with her husband. As a result of both need and determination, she managed numerous, lengthy visits to camp, where she started to raise her family and served as a prominent social hostess. During the summer of 1777, Lucy helped her brother-in-law Billy run the book store in Boston.
When the Continental Army encamped at Valley Forge for the bitter winter of 1777-78, Lucy joined her husband. She lived in contentment in a big stone house beside Henry's artillery park, and became a pleasing hostess to cold and threadbare officers. Somehow the Knoxes always managed to provide extra food and wine, and at night there was often dancing and singing. At this time the relationship between the Washingtons and the Knoxes flourished.

Henry Knox was already close to the Commander in Chief, but as you will see in the third book (currently in barely more than an outline) in The Locket Saga--A Coward's Solace-- the relationship between "Lady Washington and Lucy Knox at while they were living at Valley Forge. Despite the 25 years age difference, the two women were close. Both came from a privileged background. Martha was a country lady; Lucy was more urban. They devoted their time to sewing, mending, and attending the sick at the encampment. Lucy grew in self-importance as she informed the older woman on matters of protocol. The Knoxes were of special value to the Washingtons in this time of open criticism of the General.

The glorious news that France recognized the new American republic and was sending aid came in the spring of 1778. Camp broke, the men prepared for battle, and the women scattered to their homes. Time and again throughout the war Lucy would come to her husband's side. At the cantonment at Pluckemin they would bury their second born Julie who was only a weeks months old.

Lucy Knox continued as a society hostess after the war, when her husband served as Secretary at War in the Confederation government and then as Secretary of War under Washington. He accepted those positions both out of a sense of public service and out of the need to support his family. The Knoxes continued to live beyond their means and without a permanent home through those years. Knox resigned in December 1794 and the following spring settled his family in Maine. After Henry died in 1806, Lucy sold her property to pay off debts and support herself.

Monday, September 10, 2012

           Here's the design of the cover of Soldiers Don't Cry--second book--of the Locket Saga.  What is your opinion?
          Edits are moving right along. We hope to have the book ready for publication by December 1st. Just in time for the holiday season!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How Phillip and I met again

So many people have been waiting for the second book in the Locket Saga that I decided to sneak a few pages from Soldiers Don't Cry to give a taste of this second book. This is the scene where Phillip and I reunite after 12 years apart.

Phillip heard skirts rustling. He turned toward the sound, and looked up to the landing at the top of the stairs.
Phillip gasped. Beautiful was too plain a word to describe the young woman descending the stairs. The gown of fine dove gray silk trimmed in fine lace was not the dress of a poor little orphan. The long blonde ringlets cascaded down the side of her head and her delicate features were not those of a homely woman. The graceful movements, the head held high, the slight tilt of her head were all movements of a woman who had been to finishing school. Phillip sensed the anxiety under the appraising look from those powder blue eyes framed under the long eyelashes, but he also caught a glimpse of the spirit he had once known. He knew this beautiful woman descending the stairs was none other than Elizabeth Thorton.
For a moment that stared at one another. He smiled a half smile and tried to hold back a grin. He watched the line deepen in her forehead. He knew she was wondering why he seemed to know her even though he had just arrived by ship from England where she, Elizabeth, had never been.
Phillip smiled at the confusion he saw in her face. He imagined she was debating whether he was making a blatant pass at her, or how it could be possible that they could know one another. He was certain that she had no idea who he was. She did not recognize him as the eight-year-old boy she had known in the West.
After Elizabeth joined the three men, Phillip was pleased to see Gerald could not make his charms rub off on her. Phillip was impressed that she recognized Gerald as the want-to-be womanizer that he was.
When Gerald was part of certain circles where men entertained older married women, he behaved himself. However, in the company of younger women, particularly pretty younger women who were just becoming aware of their womanhood and were flattered whenever any man paid attention, Gerald created his own rules, which benefited him and not the woman. He also misbehaved with the type of woman the type of woman whom men paid for their attentions or women who would do anything to improve her status in the world. Women of that caliber he considered fair game.
Phillip was pleased Elizabeth was not impressed with Gerald’s suave sophistication. He was relieved she dismissed Gerald and she immediately became more interested in Phillip. He watched her face carefully as he introduced himself to her. She recognized Phillip’s surname.
“I knew a Colonel Randolph when I was a child,” she said.  “I was taken to Fort Presque Isle, where he was in command, after my family was killed by Indians up near Lake Erie. You wouldn’t happen to be any relation to him would you?”
His gaze never left her. “I’m his adopted son.”
Elizabeth’s mouth dropped open, and she covered it with her hand.
 Phillip grinned.
“Oh, my. . .”
She looked him deep in the eyes. Phillip could almost see the flicker of recognition in her eyes. He saw her struggle with the seeing the eight-year-old boy in the red uniform who was now a full-grown man in the red uniform. The boy he had once been but now was not. He was the boy who stood so straight and stern and tried so hard to be a man. He was the boy she tried so hard to teach to play as a normal child was supposed to play.

He heard her gasp, saw her eyes widen.

“This can’t be! Phillip, is this actually you?”
His grin grew wider, “one and the same.”
Elizabeth turned toward her brother-in law. “Peter! Do you remember Phillip, Peter?  He was the little boy who came with Colonel Randolph when he brought me back here when I was five!”
Peter cleared his throat. His eyes were darker. Phillip frowned at Peter’s worried expression. Phillip heard Peter’s voice deepen when he said, “Yes, I remember. Phillip, how is Colonel Randolph?”