Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Don’t miss the giveaway entry at the end of this post on Cassandra and the $250 Giveaway at the end of the entire post.

I had fun writing about Cassandra, a servant who pretended to be from wealth. Hmm, actually, she was from what had been a wealthy family before the Civil War. That conflict changed so many things about the South. Although this blog touches on serious subjects, don’t be fooled. The book has many humorous moments.

Although I’ve always loved history, when I was studying in school I had no background to judge the impact of different events. For instance, were you aware more American men were killed in the Civil War than in World Wars I and II combined? I certainly didn’t understand that. Later, learning an ancestor survived Gettysburg brought the conflict home. Imagine the waste of human lives!

Gettysburg battlefield--no one wins a war!
(Actual battlefield photo)

Young men who survived the war came home to find their home was no longer there. Lacking land, many moved West. This meant that in the East, there were not enough young men to meet the demand for husbands. What was a young woman who wanted a home, husband, and children to do?

The South received severe sanctions that extended to everyone, whether they had supported the Confederacy or not unless they had paperwork to prove they helped the North. High, high taxes were levied and many people who had survived the conflict with their home intact were evicted for exorbitant back taxes. This is what happened to Cassandra Bradford’s family (and to Lydia Harrison’s mother).

From Wikipedia: “The majority of Republican governors in the South during Reconstruction were from the North. “Carpetbagger” was used by Southerners as a pejorative term, referring to the carpetbags (a form of cheap luggage made from carpet fabric) which many newcomers carried.” I admit the term is still used derogatively in the South when referring Northerners who won’t fit in with local customs. And, I know people who still aren’t over the Civil War. Sigh. We lost, folks. Deal and move on with your lives.

This is the sad time the Ku Klux Klan was formed, sometime between December 1865 and June 1866. Another tragedy that hit home when I learned one of my relatives was involved. How embarrassing! At least he was going to testify against the KKK members until he was shot down on the courthouse steps before he could. Now there’s a story for another day.

Anyway, Cassandra’s less-than-deserving, scalawag, second cousin ended up with her home. He had played both sides during the war to insure he would be the victor either way. To help her family, she ended up working as a servant in the home in which she had once lived while her young brother worked in the stables.

Her cousin was a bully who enjoyed embarrassing her. Supposedly she was lady’s maid to his daughter, but he insisted she serve at social occasions. Imagine serving those with whom you had once been equal friends—having to show no recognition and no facial expression while your employer went out of his way to humiliate you. No wonder she was determined to marry wealth so she could send for her brother and never worry about money again.

I love Cassandra's snobbish demeanor that hides her terror.

Here’s a summary of CASSANDRA:
A desperate plan…
A masquerade to achieve a goal…
Lies that create a web…

Cassandra Bradford has the cast off wardrobe to pose as a lady. Her goal is to marry a wealthy man who can provide her young brother with a sound future. Drat the luck! The first man she sees in Tarnation is a dusty cowboy who sends her heart pounding. Not for her. She has a better life in mind.

Samuel Drummond is one of the wealthiest ranchers in that part of the state, but he wants that kept quiet. His first wife married him for his money then left when she became bored with ranch life. He won’t let that happen if he remarries. He intends to find a woman who wants him no matter how poor she thinks he is.

When both Cassandra and Sam learn omissions the other has made, there are fireworks between them. They must work through their anger and hurt to achieve happiness.

Oh, what tangled webs we weave… Sam has Cassandra believing he’s just a poor cowboy. Here’s an excerpt from CASSANDRA:

Talking about her family had caused so much distress she hadn’t noticed the cabin until now. Somewhat horrified, she asked, “I-Is this where you live?”
If he noticed her disbelief, he gave no sign. “This is a line cabin where we hole up when we’re trapped out on the range overnight in bad weather or working on this part of the ranch for several days in a row.”
He helped her down and gazed into her eyes as she slid down his body. She thought he held her close longer than necessary, but being near him was too wonderful for her to complain. Even through their clothes, his warmth heated her. When he broke contact, she wanted to throw herself into his arms and hold on forever.
No, no, no! What was she thinking?
After gaining control of her emotions, she asked, “So no one actually lives here?”
“The cowboys sleep in a bunkhouse at the ranch unless they’re married. I guess I could live here if I were married and wanted to. I’ll show you inside.” He led her to the small building with a half shed attached.
Inside was dark until he opened the three windows’ shutters to admit light. A large stone fireplace took up most of one end with wood stacked neatly on the hearth. Nearby was a stove of sorts. Four chairs surrounded a small table on which a lantern stood. Thin ticking mattresses were rolled up on each of the four bunks.
Not much space remained around the small room’s austere furnishings. The floor was stone. Shelves at one end held a few canned goods as well as metal dishes and cutlery. Two pots and a Dutch oven were on the stove. A tall bench held a dishpan, bar of soap, and an empty bucket. She’d seen no creek so there must be a well nearby.
He laid a hand on a range. “We used to cook in the fireplace, but we found this old stove and brought it here. Cooler in summer.” He gestured around the room. “You can see we have everything we need.”
Not to her way of thinking. “What about sheets and pillows and blankets?”
He grinned at her. “We carry bedrolls behind our saddles. Cowboys don’t need sheets and pillows.”
She was incredulous. “You’ve been living like this for eleven years?”

Here’s the Amazon link:


Don’t forget the $50 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash giveaway combined with the release of PRUDENCE, Bride Brigade book 7 on August 25th. Comment on this blog or any of those through the 25th to be entered. Giveaway will be on the 28th.

YeeHaw! Come to Tarnation, Texas!

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Mary Preston said...

Such a great post thank you. Is that a real photo of Gettysburg or a re-enactment?

Caroline Clemmons said...

Mary, that's a real photo. Sad to think of all the people who died, isn't it? Thanks for commenting.

Bonny Bordeleau said...

Such a sad photo! �� I want to read Cassandra NOW!!